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 www.grocerysmarts.com 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 www.couponmom.com. 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?