Monday, April 19, 2010

Burning Questions- DAY 2

Jessica asked my second "Burning Question" ---What are the top three things I have done to meet our budget requirements?

Well, the list is/was lengthy. Do I really have to keep it to three? Since it is my birthday, I am gonna say NO! :)

THE FIRST THING: I started doing was COUPONING! There was definitely a learning curve when it comes to couponing. First, I thought I had to pay for a service to tell me how to get the best deal out of my coupons. THEN I found a wonderful FREE site that does pretty much the same thing. The information I found most helpful as to WHY you should coupon and HOW to coupon came from the short tutorial on It didn't take long to read and it really made sense! AND was a compelling argument as to why you should coupon whether you need to or NOT.

I could go on and on about couponing, but, those are the biggest things about it.

Now, when I started couponing I felt pressure to run out and get EVERY SINGLE DEAL! But then I realized that I was probably not saving a whole lotta money. I had MORE for my money, but I definitely was not saving money. However, my pantry had never had more food storage. So, look at is this way: for the amount of money you are spending now, you could TOTALLY build your own food storage by couponing with the same amount of money you are spending now.

Since then, I have decided I save more money if I don't shop! Going to the gym has helped that predicament because now, I go to the gym, I come home, take a shower, it is lunch and then nap time and I don't even have time to go shop. I do. But it is less often now. Going to the gym I guess would be an expenditure, but Pampered Chef has covered that.

THE SECOND THING: I did was try to cut back bills or combine bills. I combined our cell phone and home phone bills, (probably saved $20). I cut back our cable, Internet and several other bills as well including re-analyzing insurance, which is a pain, but it did save us quite a bit of money. I think by the time I had analyzed all of our bills I saved us about $200. Not bad for a few minor adjustments. I also started doing some "secret shopping" which really deserves a post of it's own. But I find that a major money suck is "date night". However, date night is currently saving our marriage and our lives because the stress that is upon us is so severe that if we don't take the time to go out together we both really start to lose it. REALLY. So, we ask for gift cards for our birthdays and holidays so that we don't have to spend lots out of pocket, and buy the discounted movie tickets at Costco. When I started doing secret shopping we got to eat meals at places that we didn't need a gift card for. The snafu is: You have to buy your dinner, and they don't pay you for 30 days, or sometimes LONGER! If you do it every month, it starts to even out, but if you REALLY don't have it in your budget, it won't work. We can sneak it in and float till we get the money back. Consequently, we have had some GREAT dinners out of it! (Nice restaurants).

And the THIRD THING is: wait, I can't really think of a third thing. Really, between those TWO things: Couponing and re-evaluating bills I bet you could save about $500/month right off the top. Don't believe me? Give it a try. If you have additional questions about it, be sure to leave them here so I can answer them. Does anyone else have great budget saving ideas? If so, I want to hear them, and so does everyone else?

Just out of curiosity, what do YOU do Jessica?


Jenny said...

what is re-analyzing insurance?

jessica said...

I love the gift card idea. Dates are so important but can be so spendy especially when you have to pay a babysitter on top of it all!

Danika said...

After we bought our new (used) car last summer and our auto insurance rates went sky high, we re-evaluated our insurance. I called our broker and he saved us $100 PER MONTH by switching us to a different plan...with better coverage even! Not bad for a 5 minute phone call...

nurse graham said...

Top 3 things I do:
1. 2 week menu plan. Honestly, this has saved us some serious $$. I buy all of the staples for the 2 week plan and then stop only at the store for things that won't keep very well over a 2 week period, like produce.

2. Dave Ramsey's envelope system for groceries and clothes. If there's no cash in the envelope, we don't buy it. We only use a credit card for gas purchases and travel. School lunches and eating out are part of the grocery $. We signed up for the Costco American Express card so we get a rebate check every February to be used a Costco.

3. Price match at Walmart. I know people who absolutely will not shop at Walmart, but shopping there and price matching has cut a significant amount off of our food budget.

Leah said...

Okay, back to burning question number one. I've always known that some day I would fork over the money for a face lift. Probably age 50? I don't know. I was thrilled to find out that it is cheaper than a boob job (like 5k instead of 6k)! I never knew that. Surgery in my family is pretty common. All my family travels to Utah to get the best deals. They have saved thousands. But I can't imagine spending money on a boob job because no one sees your boobs but the hubby and if he loves them...that's all that matters! Guys like boobs. All boobs. No matter the size or shape. But the face...whole different story! That is on display for everyone to see. My hubby loves my wrinkles, but I don't. I probably used to judge botoxers, but now I am ALL for it. It is a miracle drug, I tell ya! I've tried it once, I love it. If it was only cheaper... Some day it will go off patent and I'll be drinking up the generic version!

Also, I think it's so funny how taboo it is to admit to plastic surgery/botox, etc. Remember in the 80's when people wouldn't admit their nails were fake or hair was colored? That's all changed and I think cosmetic procedures will be an open book some day too. I mean, anyone with a boob job is not fooling anybody. It's always very obvious. There is no reason to hide it when everyone already knows! ;)

Jessica said...

So impressive. I am couponing, but in a very simple way. I only shop one store, because trying to price out and go to a bunch of different stores was so overwhelming. Do you go to a lot of different stores??

The best thing I've done to stay in our budget is to lay it all out and account for every penny (for the year). This year we have the extra expense of Ryan's MBA program so there isn't much left over. AT ALL. Because I can see that, I am very motivated to stay in our budget. Also, we need a new vsn and I want to finish our basement someday, so we are saving for those things. I think seeing in black and white that I can't go $40 over every budget period (because that would add up to &1000 a year, which we don't have) helped me get more on board than I ever have.


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