Post # 1
We are starting to save for our first house, which requires us to do a lot of budgeting and planning. Any advice on what works to cut costs? Here are a few things we’re doing:
– tracking spending so we are more aware of where our money goes
– cooking meals ahead of time from scratch and freezing them to help cut back on eating out and convenience food costs
– walking, biking, and using public transit to cut gas costs and car wear and tear
What are some ways that you cut back on your household spending?
Post # 3
These past few months we have been amazing savers. I pretty much did not buy anything other than the essentials unless I had multiple coupons, discounts, dollars off. You can also do coupons at your local grocery store (a lot of them can be loaded on your loyalty card so you don’t have to clip anymore). We buy a lot of stuff from Costco in bulk (toilet paper and towels there are so cheap!)
Post # 4
Set your AC higher, Ie 78 instead of 75 to lower your electric bill.
Use transit passes that give unlimited number of rides during a set time period. Some systems have them some don’t.
Wash only full loads of laundry and full dishwasher loads – can help on water and electric bill.
Tracki sales at the grocery store. Sales run in cycles. An old book that goes into detail on this is the “Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dycanzyan. ( I’m sure I spelled this wrong, it rhymes with “Decision” and has a “z” in it).
Some things that you would dry clean can be washed by hand.
Post # 5
Its hard to save money when you don’t have a lot of it to begin with, which was my case for awhile with my old job. I would always make a point to eat absolutely everything I had in my kitchen before going to the store. My cabinets would literally be bare bfore I would go shopping. I ate a lot of Pasta w/o sauce (which is very cheap), only adding salt and only drank water = free from the faucet. I walked everywhere and had my cable turned off (I’m not big on TV) I ate a lot of the same thing and never really went out. It sucks but you do save a lot of money.
Post # 6
Not going out as much. Instead of going out for dinner, make dinner together. Instead of going to the theatre or renting a movie, get movies out from the library (we are lucky, our library does have pretty recent movies in its collection). Buy things on sale, stretch out meals. Personally we have saved lots of mula because I make bread instead of buying it and often times I will make large meals to last us a couple of days: Soups, Stry-frys, chili etc. Buy mostly no-name instead of brand name. Shop around, yes it takes longer but you end up saving 20 plus dollars a week.
Post # 7
We bike to work and most places, don’t have cable, don’t have AC so it’s not an option, and ……..gasp, have a roommate. It’s a temporary thing but even though we could afford the house without it, we’re more sound with one for now, and he spends most of the time at his girlfriends so it works out just fine.
We also buy a lot of raw ingredients to cook from scratch. We like tasty food but are frugal so we buy raw coffee beans and roast them ourselves (I mean it’s like turning on the stove and shaking the beans every 10 minutes or so) and make our own yogurt (not with a yogurt machine, again just on the stove), make our own hummus. So we have lots of tasty things in bulk that for what you’d spend like $4 on a tiny container of hummus at the store, we can make like a half gallon for $4 or so. Same thing with yogurt. $5 gets us a gallon of yogurt instead of just a little pot.
Post # 8
I also second coupon clipping. Read the circulars in your newspaper and clip coupons. And wait for sales to buy things, and then buy them in bulk. We save a few hundred dollars every year by doing this.
Post # 9
The easiest way for me to save money is the “out of sight, out of mind” method: open a separate checking/savings account and have a set portion of your paycheck directly deposited into that account every pay cycle. You never touch it, so it’s less tempting to spend it. I just sort of get used to setting a budget based on getting paid the “new” amount (your pay – whatever you put into savings) instead of the old amount (your real pay) and set my budget for the new amount.
Post # 10
We RARELY eat out. As in, almost never. We saved almost $400 last month alone by just not going out to eat. That means lunches, too – Darling Husband started taking his lunch to work and that was $200 right there!
Garage sales are the best – I’ve been wanting one of those small, fold-up space saving treadmills for a while now. I was about to break down and buy one new, when I found one just this past weekend at a garage sale for $7!!!!! The only thing I pay full price for is food – and even then I use coupons and stock up on non-perishables when they go on super-sale. I also make a list of meals for the week, and then only buy the groceries I will need for that week. Nothing turns into a science experiment in my fridge, and we aren’t throwing away money.
All the little things really do add up!
Post # 11
I am currently trying to build up my savings, not for a house just yet, but here’s what I’ve done.
I use mint.com to track my spending.
I cut back on eating out by 50% (still eat out more than I should but I am saving about $150/month with what I’ve done so far).
I’m using coupons and trying to buy only things that are on sale at the grocery store. If chicken is on sale I stock up!
Actually going to be calling up AT&T today to cut my unlimited data plan on my iphone (since I don’t use that much anyway), switching to the lower tiered plan will save about $15/month.
Called up Time Warner to find out if there were any discounts I could get for being a loyal customer, they dropped my bill from $94/month to $77/month (hey, it was worth a shot! and it worked!)
More FAN less A/C. Which is hard to do, since it is 100 degrees here today. I’m not going to sweat like crazy to save a buck but I don’t crank it down to 72 anymore either! it stays on 79 and if it’s still too hot I bust out the fan.
Also, I pay myself first. every payday means an automatic transfer goes from checking to savings. If I don’t see it I won’t spend it. Obviously I leave myself enough to pay the bills, but when I don’t have that extra couple hundred in checking I won’t spend it out at the mall.
Post # 12
For all of 2009, I didn’t shop. I didn’t buy any clothes or shoes (there was one exception where I allowed myself a $100 budget to buy some clothes for a tropical vacation in 2010 so I could take advantage of the end of summer sales) or makeup or really anything other than groceries. There were times it was really hard and if I had the urge to shop, I would buy something we needed for the apartment or go to the grocery store. In the end, I was so proud of myself and I am sure I saved a lot of $$$ because I would normally buy clothes constantly. In addition, I got to use the clothes I already had and realize I don”t really need new things. I guess in a way, it was a lifestyle change because I find myself shopping a lot less and with a purpose now.
Post # 13
We learned to be super savers not long ago! We were already having the wedding to pay for, but then when my husband learned he was going to be going to medical school in state we decided to buy a house, so we had to put out a TON of money really fast.
We didn’t go out period. I was cooking in bulk (like making my own spaghetti sauce and freezing it for example – man I never realized how fast spaghetti sauce can wrack up!). We also put a certain amount into savings every week we got paid. Out of sight, out of mind sort of thing.
Right now we are trying to build up a savings so we chose a credit union where you need a minimum of $500 in the account at all times, which sucks financially for us now but we’re doing it because we know we’ll always have that money in case of absolute emergency.
Post # 14
Thanks for all of the great ideas bees! I was raised to be pretty frugal, so the biggest challenge I’ve been facing is to get my Darling Husband on board. He’s been adapting pretty well, like not getting cable in our new place (I got him Netflix for his bday) and keeping our rent and utilities under 25% of our monthly income. He loves eatting out, and I really miss our dates (now we try go to a happy hour or to get icecream about twice a month), but thankfully I can cook and he helps do the dishes so we’re a good team. 🙂
Post # 15
I would have to say from what you have mentioned you are already on a good track, so just do that, and save as much as you can, try not to do any heavy splurging until you have the down payment for your house. I know it is tough, but just hang in there! Also, income tax is the beginning of next year so if you haven’t saved all you need by then, I would say that is worth looking into as well.
Post # 16
@VeronicaH – You sound like us! I know how to live frugally (I’m actually going to attempt making my own laundry soap this weekend. I have a friend who does it, and 5lbs of her power washes about 100 loads! WOW!) but Darling Husband doesn’t. Before we started dating, he ate out every meal, blew money on random “toys” and was always out of money before his next paycheck. (Mind you, he gets paid weekly). He’s been whining about wanting cable, but I refuse to have it installed. We love our ice cream dates, too! Plus, if I don’t buy ice cream at the grocery store, it’s not in the house all the time, so we don’t eat it. 🙂