Thursday, July 26, 2012

Living within our means....

Cameron and I recently took a deep look into our financial status.... If you're like us, it's something that you hate to do, but it is so necessary. I went through all of our bank statements for the last 3 months and hightlighted (color-coded of course) each expense as "Wal-mart/Shopping" "Eating Out," "Gasoline," "Bills," and "Entertainment/Other." I then found the average amount we were spending on each in a month..... It was eye-opening...very eye-opening. I found that Wal-Mart and eating out are our weaknesses. Because we don't know how much my monthly income will be from month to month, we want to try to live off of Cam's income and use mine to put back into savings..... with our spending habits, we weren't anywhere close to being able to do this...

Then began the googling of ways to save money in the household, reading about couponing and finding cheaper meals. If you know me, you know that making lists is what I do... I write everything down and have lists for everything,..... so the googling led to list making...

Here are the things we already do that are GOOD:
-buy generic foods and products
-make cleaners (I use baking soda, vinegar and dish soap)
-keep our thermostat set high (It's on 78 most of the time in the summer)
-don't buy many snacks
-price compare-- buy what I can at Dollar Tree if it's cheaper
-make inexpensive dinners (we don't eat steaks, pork chops, ribs, etc)
-entertain ourselves at home (we watch a lot of movies and TV to save money)
-make own coffee (Cam makes coffee in the morning (generic) rather than stopping to get an expensive cup)
-avoid late fees (I've only paid two late fees before and it was because I screwed up the envelopes and the payments got mailed back to me instead of their correct destination. I hate paying late fees!)
-don't have a land line phone
-use the library for movies, music and books
-unplug what we aren't using (toaster, coffee maker, fans)
-aren't members to any club, gym, or organization
-try to do our own repairs before hiring them done (our dads are really helpful with this!)
-don't get regular (or expensive) haircuts or salon treatments
-use running and exercise as a form of entertainment
-buy cheap laundry detergent
-don't have credit cards-- Cam has two that he barely uses and I don't have any!
-shop around for big ticket items

Here's where we are looking to change:
-I need to start meal planning and sticking to it... we eat out way too much!
-We have a programmable thermostat that we need to re-set so that when I go back to work this fall, it will automatically adjust during the day incase I forgot to turn it up when I leave.
-Price matching..... I don't know why, but this just makes me nervous. I feel as though it's cheating the company... and I just feel so nervous when I think about saying "I have the IGA ad for that one... it's $1.99... I'm working on it though. I've circled several things in ads that I have on my list for this week.
-Coupons.... I've studied couponing, and first of all, I don't understand how they make it all work... and secondly, I don't have 40 hours a week to do this, nor the money for the sunday papers at this point... But I've printed a few coupons for things that I do buy and can save some money on
-Swiping that card... I'm guilty of not really paying attention to how much I am spending when I'm just swiping the debit card, so I've started cashing my checks and using only what I cash I have with me... and I don't take much more than what I think I will have to have.
-Pack our lunches.... we are both bad about running to a restaurant to grab lunch and those prices add up quickly!
-Buy more fruit for snacks... this is better for us in many ways!
-Downsize Netflix... Cam is going to cancel the DVDs and only use the Instant
-Shop with a list and STICK TO IT
-Cut out impulse buys....I'm really bad about this : ( It's never anything expensive, but the little things add up.
-Watch expiration dates and use before food expires
-Track our spending more closely
-Wash dishes on the 'speed clean' or by hand

Do you have any suggestions of how you save money in your household??

Until next time...

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1 comment:

  1. We follow the Dave Ramsey program pretty closely with the exception of having one car loan, and we do that just to keep our credit scores up. Dave's credit score is terrible/non-existent because he pays cash for everything. I always meal plan, and once a month or every other month we treat the kids to a movie and/or a sit down restaurant. Chris and I have one expensive date weekend per year. Anything that's left in checking at the end of month gets dumped into savings, on top of what we set aside each week. We have an emergency fund for medical bills (our max out of pocket for the year) that is always set aside. Big purchases (home remodeling, vacations, etc) we start planning for and do them when we have the money saved. We don't own a single CC so that we are forced to pay cash. We also live only on Chris's income because we have to with me being a SAHM right now, but we did before I stopped working and will continue to do so after I go back to work. I do price compare...and not just for groceries but every day things/online purchases. One thing we do do is, once we reach certain milestones with our savings, we each get to splurge on something we want, as a reward for not making sporadic purchases.


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