Post # 1
Ugh, Bees. I’m staring down the barrel of a totally unexpected car repair (waiting for the call). We’re trying really hard to get to a certain financial goal, and it feel like every time we get closer, something comes up and we slide backwards. If it’s not the car, it’s a sick dog. If it’s not a sick dog, it’s that ____ is broken. The timing makes it really hard to do anything but live paycheck to paycheck, which really sucks.
And before people start firing up the keyboards.. no, we’re not going into debt for our wedding.
But what I need is your money saving tips. I’m not supposed to be working a second job, per the terms of my graduate research position.. but I do pick up extra hours when I can at a place I worked at as a teenager. I’ve stopped buying coffee in the morning. We only eat out with groupons, and eat most meals at home. I’ve started shopping for new clothes/shoes at Good Will when I need them (which takes forever to find good things that fit, but has been surprisingly successful).
I have made a few purchases in the last month or two that weren’t necessary, but were things I’m using… but that’s pretty much over now.
We don’t have cable or landline phone service. We keep the thermostat low to save on power.
What do you do to cut down on the daily expenses?
Post # 3
Just want to say we’re going through the same thing. So disheartening. Keep being frugal and it will turn around… 🙂
Post # 4
As soon as I get paid, half of my paycheque goes to our wedding account, then I pay off my balance on my visa. The rest is used to pay for my bills. I don’t really spend any money on myself. I make my coffee at home, don’t buy new clothes (I already have too many that I don’t wear), we always eat dinner at home (but we try to treat ourselves once a month). I find that it’s easier to save the money if you put it away as soon as you get it. I am also paying off a student credit line, so I alternate which paycheque goes to what (one pay will go to wedding, then the next will go to credit line). Not sure if that helps you, but that’s what I do 🙂
Post # 5
Hmm, let’s see, trying to think of what we’ve done lately to help save…
You say you don’t have cable or a landline but what about internet? We were paying for the fastest speed our provider offered, and we recently decided to downgrade. We don’t miss the faster speeds at ALL, and we’re pretty heavy internet users.
Some things that you think are essentials aren’t really. Scrutinise your grocery shopping:
Paper towels – we haven’t used them in years. Dishcloths and cloth napkins work just fine.
Cleaning products – you can clean ALMOST EVERYTHING with vinegar and water (and some baking soda for the tough stuff). A giant bottle of vinegar is <$5, dilute it with equal parts water, and ta da, do all your cleaning for cheap.
Check up with your monthly bill people and see if there’s anything they can do to help you save money. Maybe you don’t need the $5 voicemail on your cell because you text everyone. Or they have a value pack that could save you money. Maybe you don’t need your car insured for the full replacement value because it’s getting old and isn’t worth much anyway. Maybe your home insurance includes $20,000 coverage in case your unfinished basement floods (this is what we discovered when we were going over our home insurance! I mean, there’s NOTHING down there!)
Post # 6
Sign up for mint. It has really helped me see where I am wasting money, even if it is at the soda machine. I’m pretty diligent about keeping track of my money and while I’m not the most frugal person, it has helped me to save a lot of money for rainy days, retirement, etc.
I think you just need to make saving automatic and only let yourself spend what is leftover.
Post # 7
My friend is majorly into couponing and sweepstakes. She and her husband live on one income so that she is able to stay home with their daughter so her “job” is coupon hunting and “sweepin’”, as she calls it. It takes time and your FB friends may loath you after a few weeks but she’s won a ton of stuff (she just won a motorcycle worth $4500 a few months ago) and seriously cut down on their grocery bills. She’s not crazy like those “extremes” that are out there but there are deals to be found and money to be saved if you know where to look. The sweepstakes that she’s won have pretty much outfitted their daughter with all of the clothes that she needs for the next few seasons which is a major savings if you think about how much it would have cost to buy these things. A lot of the stuff that she focuses on are child related but there are sweepstakes out there for everything, you just have to look.
Post # 8
Pay yourself first. Like a PP said, when you get your paycheck deposit a good portion (that you can afford) into your savings/wedding fund. If you don’t see it, you won’t be tempted to spend it. At least that’s what works for me.
Post # 9
@BrightGreen: I’ll have to ask Fiance about the internet, but I’m pretty sure we got the basic package, nothing fancy. That’s a good tip about cleaning & paper products, though.
Dropping insurance coverage might be hard, FI’s car is new and mine is an ’08 at 67K. I’ll look into it though.
I wish we lived closer to public transit. That would take a big chunk out of what I spend for the month, what with gas and car maintenance. But we don’t. It literally takes me as long to get to the train station as it does for me to drive in, and costs about the same ($3.50/ticket vs. $5 to park).
Post # 10
@UpstateCait: So is it just entering your info and doing a bunch of stuff like that, to get access to coupons/potentially win stuff?
The motorcycle is impressive!
Post # 11
Look at what you are buying for foor. Certain stores have generally lower prices than others, and shopping there instead of trying to buy sale items at the more expensive stores will be a lower overall bill.
Also, look into making some things at home that you would normally buy. Like bread.
Try to eat more beans instead of meats. Make some bean or lentil soups or good flavored indian dishes based around these to have a cheaper lunch or dinner.
Save all your small scraps of food to make soup.
Have you looked at your cell phone plan? Is there a cheaper company or a cheaper plan?
Have you switched your light bulbs to the new CFL ones? They are a bit pricer to start, but really save on your monthly electric bill
Do you do laundry on warm water instead of hot?
Is your freezer full? If not fill with bags of ice (it needs less energy to keep it cold)
Post # 12
I can totally sympathize with you! Here are some things that work for me:
-I put a certain amount into savings automatically every 2 weeks. It’s even better if you can set it up through direct deposit. If you never see it, you don’t miss it as much.
-Whatever credit purchases I make, I put on a rewards credit card. There are tons out there. When I accumulate enough points, I redeem them for gift cards. I actually just did this and it will be such a relief to use my Walmart gift card for groceries instead of my debit card!
-For groceries, I don’t go to just one store. I go to the farmers market for produce cuz that’s where it’s cheapest, Walmart for makeup, juices, paper products, I get my meats at whatever grocery store is having a sale, etc. I clip coupons but I can’t say it does much. Alot of times, I buy store brand since it’s cheaper than buying the brand name with the coupon.
-Whenever I use cash, I never use exact change. Then we put all our leftover change in a jar and let it build up. Then we cash it in when it gets full for some extra money.
The one thing I want to try next is sticking to a cash budget. So after we get paid and pay all the bills, only allow a certain dollar amount for spending each week. It’s hard to keep track with debit cards, so take the amount out of the bank and use cash. If you run out, you can only take out more until the next week. Just trying to get the husband to agree to this one…. lol
Post # 13
@louisianablue: OK, Mint is officially awesome. Done.
@lefeymw: Good call. Looking at the cell plan now. I tend to launder everything in cold water (because I fail at reading labels). We’re actually having a home energy audit done this week – the county was offering free ones and we got a spot in the lottery. Hopefully that will help cut down the power bill!
These are fantastic ‘bees! Keep ’em coming, I’m making a list!
Post # 14
@atalante: Girl, I feel ya. The transmission on FI’s truck went out a month an a half ago. We haven’t had the money to get that fixed. We are scraping to pay for tuition, because my school doesn’t accept student loans (wtf?). Fiance is filling out a FAFSA, so hopefully he will get enough aid for us to pull things off. I don’t want to go back to Ramen, but we have it stockpiled in case of emergency. I do have a ton of canned goods, and frozen meats and things I got a month or so ago. I save all our leftovers, and we portion our dinners, which saves us money AND makes our pants fit better! lol We don’t have cable, we don’t have landline, we are both still on our original family plans for cell phones, we’ve been trying not to eat out (which is hard when we travel a lot)… We try to do our own car maintainence… I just keep tabs on the oil, just changed my second headlight, keep tabs on my brakes (I know how to repair them myself), and try to make sure all fluids are where they need to be. I am nervously watching my tires though, it’s been a while since I got them, but push comes to shove I can get used ones on the cheap.
Post # 15
@atalante: Pretty much. She does a lot of her stuff on FB. Just “liking” a companies page will normally put you in the running for the prizes that they’re offering. With the motorcycle, she just entered a kowasaki (sp?) sweepstakes for the hell of it. Neither she or her husband are into motorcycles but they knew that if they won, they could sell it. Now they’re a few grand richer.
Post # 16
@atalante: I really have no advice for you. It sounds like you are making good steps so far. Fiance and I are in about the same position or we were not to long ago. Things are starting to look up and they will for you as well!! Just keep doing what you are doing. Things will work out.