Post # 1
FI and I are in the final steps of closing on a house and I’ve been thinking a lot lately on where I can save and what things I can cut out so that I’m spending less, saving more. I’m a pretty frugal spender, as is FI, but there are definitely a few areas where I can spend less and that money can go towards our savings for the mortgage, utilities, groceries, date nights, etc… you get the idea.
Thus far of my personal spending audit, I’ve realized I can quit paying for the following things:
- Hulu – I currently pay for it AND Netflix and rarely watch either, Netflix moreso. Could be added back into bills depending on if we decide to get a SmartTV or something as we probably won’t pay for cable/satelite (not big TV watchers)
- Bagel and cream cheese for breakfast – Also an unhealthy habit. I spend exactly $2.92 on a bagel w/ cream cheese I would say 2-3 times, definitely not needed and that $3/day adds up after a while!
- Free credit report score – I signed up once to check my credit score… forgot to cancel after that first week free or whatever and keep forgetting. Its nice to quickly check my score, but I don’t think I need to pay $24.99/month for it. That could be a simple dinner out for FI and I.
- Car wash pass – Don’t know why I bought this because I’m super lazy about cleaning my car (outside), but FI talked me into it. $30/month for an unlimited wash pass to the car wash. Like I can go however many times a day/week/month for a car wash and it is only the $30/month charge. A hose and car soap here and there will do just fine… going to be talking my FI out of his pass as well
I also could cancel my Amazon prime membership… but Amazon. Plus, I still get charged the student rate because I use my old college email on the account still (shhhh)
What do you or did you cut out of your spending habits? Could be in the past or just yesterday, after a certain life event or whatever, I’m curious! And if you have any out-of-the box ways about where to save feel free to share. FI and I are also just thinking like obvious ways to cut down on home bills like turning lights off, not having a home telephone/landline, no cable/TV at least right away, running our wood stove instead of furnace to cut down on electric bills. Also before anyone says it – yes we can afford the house so there are no “struggling to pay the bills” issues. Not saying we’ll be eating filet mingon dinners every night.. but still.
Post # 2
Budgeting for food is the best way for me to cut expenses. Coming up with a meal plan helps so I know what I have at home I need to use up. Even if I leave a couple of nights to order out, I know how much I usually spend so I can put that in there too. Otherwise, I waste too much food on throwing food away or picking up snacks we don’t need.
Post # 3
One of our better financial moves was sticking to our paid off cars. We have several friends that get a new car every 2-3 years and always have a loan.
A side note about amazon, I have been milking the student rate for a few years but they caught on and say I have to provide a transcript to keep the rate 🙁
Post # 4
We’re also looking at cutting expenses here and there. The things we spend the most on are:
– Going out for dinner/drinks- have really cut down lately (especially since I’m pregnant and not up for eating out as much/can’t drink). Before, we lived like next door to our fave place to eat, so it was realllllyyyyy easy to just “pop over” for a beer to watch hockey or to grab a bite to eat. We’ve now decided to limit ourselves to once/week and STUCK TO IT. Healthier and way cheaper. By still going out once/week, we still can get it out of our system and not feel completely deprived.
Internet- We’re spending way too much on our internet package. We shopped around and found some much better deals- the internet will be slightly slower but we’ll be paying way less per month, so it’s worth it.
Amazon- We shop on Amazon a lot, but I turned off one click ordering to discourage my impulse purchases.
Post # 5
For 2 months I kept track of all $$ in / out on a simple spreadsheet. This is a good starting point to see where your money is going.
After you see where your money is going, you can see where the areas are you can work on. Some expenses you may consider ‘worth it’ and others ‘negotiable or unnecessary’. To someone who loves going to the gym, a gym membership is ‘worth it’, whereas someone who rarely goes might just be wasting that monthly fee.
You can also see where ‘problem areas’ are- for example, if you’re spending way too much on banking fees because you tend to run up your overdraft, that’s something to look at/ work on. Ditto credit card interest.
A few things I noticed in my own situation- daily coffee/tea @ Tim Horton’s or Starbucks really adds up over a month! so we make better use of our Keurig at home now and coffee out is a once a week thing not a twice daily thing (ditto at work!).
I also noticed that being organized with the grocery shopping saved money- too tempting to grab takeout on the way home from work if you know the fridge is pretty bare, so making a grocery list and doing a big shopping actually saves money. I also purposely cook in bulk when I have time so I can freeze for other days, also less likely to grab takeout, order in if you have prepped meals in the freezer for when you don’t have much time or energy.
And I cut out lottery tickets. lol gave up on my chance to be a millionaire. Instead I put the approx $15/week I used to spend on lottery tickets into a vacation piggy.
Ohhh- and a big one for me! I went and got myself a library card. I go through books like kleenex and it was getting expensive surfing Amazon for new reading material.
Post # 6
babygrandmabee : I’m a meal planner and also cook leftovers for lunches. For me, that saves cost that way I’m not necessarily shopping for B/L/D, that’s probably more of just a mentality thing though. Also as I said, FI and I are both very frugal… like theres no need to go get a certain one ingredient for one recipie when we have plenty of other food to make a meal out of.
eurasianbee : So FI and I just bought new vehicles (his in May, mine in August) it wasn’t a planned thing… but needed. Both our vehicles were dying and on their last limb, and we bought vehicles that would last us well after they were paid off. As far as the Amazon goes – I graduated early from college, so I have like a year left on the student rate (I think Amazon gives you 4 years on it?) so yeah… it may be time to cancel Prime when it charges me the regular rate, but I don’t know if I will.
Post # 7
One of the easiest money savers for us is bringing lunch to work! We cook dinner at home and bring leftovers. Lunch at work can really add up! Do you use any apps like Mint? You can create a budget for yourself in different spending categories and then it tells you when you are getting close to the max each month.
Post # 8
RobbieAndJuliahaha : Do you use a certain free spreadsheet template or your own? Doesn’t excel provide a few freebie templates…? I’m not a math person but work on Excel daily and just want to be able to plug numbers in and it give me the answers. Per your coffee once a week, I LOVE this idea mostly because it can be seen as a treat. Like good job to me for not buying coffee all week, its Friday so I’ll splurge. I do something similar with the money jar, if I make odds and end cash somehow I’ll put it into a jar, I’ll also put all my change into a jar – one time I did this over a summer (back in high school) and ended up with like $50 of random change and $1 bills.
ClaudiaKishi : Oohh, good idea turning off the 1-click purchase option on Amazon! FI and I both use it, mostly for gifts or last minute things we *think* we need, but I feel like for the cost of Prime isn’t really helping at all since our use is sporadic of it. We might as well just pay for the few days normal shipping or free shipping.
MrsChatham : I’ve tried Mint.. and I actually did a fake marketing campaign for it once (classroom work) but I could never catch on to using it. Not sure why, I still keep it on my phone though.
Post # 9
DH packs a breakfast and lunch every day and I work from home so we really never have to buy those meals. I use to spend at least $10-$12 every day between my breakfast and lunch when I worked in an office.
DH and I probably eat out once a month. When ever we do I always have a coupon or a groupon. We also don’t buy alcohol at lunch or dinner. A beer at the restaurant may run $4 when that same beer if bought by the case is under a dollar at home. (Plus you aren’t tipping another dollar on that $4 beer).
If DH and I want to take a vacation to the beach for the week, we’ll go off season, like in mid-late Sept when it’s half off. The ocean is actually warmer that time of year than say June.
DH is a gym rat so he HAS to go to the gym every day. The gym provides free coffee and he showers there after his workout every morning. It’s $20/mo. He drinks that cost alone in coffee every month easily.
I also try to leave my credit cards at home. It’s a lot easier to fight the urge when you know that money is instantly coming out of the bank account.
DH and I haven’t been to the movies in probably over 5yrs. If we want to see a movie, we’ll wait for it to come out on Redbox. $1.50 per movie is a lot better $35 for the two of us!!!!
I use camelcamelcamel.com to track Amazon prices. If there is something I really want, I set a price alert to let me know when the price comes down.
Post # 10
DH and I went through a period of re-budgeting and cost cutting. We literally just kept a running tally in excel of every single penny we spent that month. We then categorized each purchase and kept all our receipts.
At the end of the month, I went through and looked at how much we spent at the grocery store and how much we spent on each individual item. I realized we had a good deal of A) buying things we didn’t really need and B) paying more for items than we needed to- like paper towel. If I was buying it at Target, it was more costly than buying it at Costco. We have a Costco membership, so why wasn’t I buying it at Costco? Once I realized what the lowest price was, I now stock up at the lowest price and ONLY at that price. Yogurts are 1/3 the price at Costco vs Kroger, etc.
Simple changes but all really add up! If you can just cut your grocery bill by $15 a week, that’s $60 a month, and $720 a year..and we are still eating all the same stuff! Cutting a $20/week starbucks habit saves $80 a month and basically $1000 a year! Just those changes together put ~2k back in your pocket at the end of the year.
Post # 11
kmmq72 : I think what you’re donig now of looking at all re-occuring subscriptions and cutting them out is a great idea.
The first step, IMO, it so track your spedning. You can’t know what to target without knowing where it’s all going. It can be a real eye opening to see your entire months income and spending on a spreadsheet. “I spent HOW MUCH on clothes?” Just creating awareness can help you change your patterns.
After that, I think yoiu have two different choices of areas to start. I often like to think of tackling re-occuring expnese first. This includes rent/morgage, cable, internet, cell phone, gym pass, etc. Anything that gets charged every month. If you cut these things, or find better deals, that’s a choice you had to make 1x and the savings are repeated every month! That creates space in your budget.
The other way to look at things are to focus on the big ticket items. For almost everyone that means 1) housing, 2) transportation, and 3) food. If you can set these categories up to be inexpensive, you’ll be in great shape. For most people, these categoires acccount for 50% of total spending or more! It sounds like you’re locked on housing right now, but consider transportation. Could you walk or bike to work? Could you get rid of a car? Could you take the bus instead of Uber? Could you downgrade your car? On food, an obvious win is to cut down on restaurant meals and drinks out. I find the easiest way to reduce the grocery bill is to shop from a meal plan (reduce food waste, use what’s in the cupboards first) and also choose a cheaper grocery store. That way you tend to save without even having to worry about coupons or deals.
I’ll say that DH and I have gotten to the point where we spend WAY too much on “wants” spending…but because we spend way less than normal on housing and transportaton it doesn’t break the bank. I still don’t feel great about it, but we’re able to do it and still hit our savings goals.
Post # 12
cbgg : Our savings goals will still be in tact and I LOLed at your comment about the car situation – but NOT in a petty, sarcastic way AT ALL, just LOL because I communte 45 mins and we live in the country (yay commuting)… so we have to have a vehichle, but like if we need to do extra evening/weekend things we could totally take my car which gets better gas milage, or just not go anywhere, etc.
I’m definitely going to go through all of my expense and track it. The subscriptions and like eating on the go food things would save like $100ish a month and I have that thought process of, “Hey, $100 is $100!” I do agree with you that I think I spend more on the “wants” too especially when I don’t need to. Especially because sometimes my spending is sporadic… clothes for example. I could go 6 months without buying clothes then go throw down $150 at one time and not care… which that $150 may actually need to go towards the electric bill that month instead. So all of this is also me altering my habits of spending too, I think date nights, clothes shopping, out to eat things can be seen more as a reward for the good spending behavior.
Post # 13
kmmq72 : we became a one-car household which saves us several thousand dollars a year. We are careful to not be wasteful with money and source free or used items when it makes sense (as well as buy high quality used items when a situation calls for it to avoid buying things we need to replace often). Our only,debt is a mortgage which is only 20% of our net pay so we leave ourselves a lot of wiggle room on purpose.
Post # 14
kmmq72 : We cut unnecessary spending. We found these things by recording every pruchase and breaking each down into categories. For example:
Coffee made at home and work, no going to coffee shop
Make a meal plan for the week, shop once, and make your food at home
Lunches packed from home, no going out to lunch at work.
Cut Cable, use hulu/netflix
Got rid of credit cards saved on websites, if you have to enter the number you think about if you need it.
This last one is very important. Many may say this is too much in a marriage, but it is working for us. We run purchases past eachother. Anything outside our normal budget (food, bills, gas, etc) I run past my husband. I want a new dress? Hey hubby, what do you think, do I need this new dress? Usually his answer is, its up to you babe. But the act of asking him makes me think more about the purchase. I have 30 dresses at home, I dont need a new one for every function. Ok, I wont get the dress.
Post # 15
The key thing when we started saving and budgeting was to cut spending on unnecessary items. Of course if you stop having fun you will save money but we didn’t want to go that far, we just wanted to know where all our money was going and that it was conscious. If we’ve had a tough day at work we’ll try to buy a ‘fancy’ pre made dinner rather than a take away, it’s way more than normal groceries but it’s less than a Chinese and nicer, plus it’s still the easy option.
We pretty much always take a lunch because we’d way rather spend that money going to a restaurant after work for dinner and drinks than it just adding up from boring sandwiches every day without realising.