Sunday, January 4, 2009

Show me the Money!!!

Saving money. It is not a resolution, but a necessity these days. I have been going over and over our bills wondering how it is that we spend this much money. It is amazing how the amount you spend increases just as soon as the amount you make increases. When we lived in an apartment we spent about HALF of what we spend now! I knew home ownership was expensive, but it is ridiculous how much our house costs us. I guess we aren't that bad off considering we have no credit card debt. We nipped that in the bud a few years ago and will never fall into that trap again. That being said, I still stress every month about how much our bills are and how much we have coming in...which is about to shrink by 200 bucks a month. Ugh...

I have been looking for ways to cut back on the spending and I feel I am making small changes that will make a difference over time, but it's still not enough. One of my short term goals was to cut our weekly grocery bill by $50. I managed to cut $40 out this week by planning around the circular and clipping coupons.Some of the things I have done in the last couple weeks are:
  • Changed most of the lights in our house to CFLs

  • Stopped getting coffee at Dunkin Donuts

  • Had our boiler serviced and he fixed a few things that were costing us extra money

  • We put film up over a few of our leakiest windows to keep the cold air out

  • Downgraded our cell plan (actually got more services but fewer minutes since we weren't using near the amount we had in our plan anyway)

  • Have been trying to be vigilant about not going out to eat

  • I cancelled my hair appointment (saved about 100 bucks right there)

  • I subscribed to the Sunday paper so I can clip coupons for the market

  • I planned this week's menu around the store circular (sale items) instead of picking dishes and shopping for them.
So, I think I have made a good start. There must be little tips and tricks that you have that could help me out. What are your favorite money saving tips? Also how much money do you spend on groceries a week? Please help a girl out! Oh, please don't suggest cutting off the TV either...I tried that and almost had a mutiny on my hands!


  1. Like you mentioned, I meal plan and shop the flyers w/coupons like a mad woman. I also make everything possible from scratch - bread, baby food, etc. From the food end of it we also prepare enough dinner for lunches the next day, this actually saves us a lot as we only need to buy a little extra dinner food to do this but no lunch stuff.

    You should check out "The Simple Dollar" it is listed on my sidebar as one of my many reads - Trent has a great blog and gives a lot of great tips.

  2. It is extremely rare that we eat out any more - even "cheap" lunches. I take my lunch to work every day and I cook in large quantities so there is always something in the freezer. I have literally gone for two weeks without going to the grocery store, or just going for fresh veggies which is what we run out of the most. It's just the two of us, but I'd be willing to bet we've saved $200-$250 a month with no fast food and no dinners out. not to mention the calories we've saved!

  3. For the 4 of us we spend about $120 a week on groceries. I spend less when I shop by myself so I've been doing that a lot lately. We eat lots of leftovers and don't really mind, so that saves a lot of money. Buy meat when it's on sale and put it in our deep freeze in the garage.

    Thanks for the tips!

  4. Thought of more - we also have a deep freeze so that helps with meat.

    I also "make" foaming dish soap. I have a foaming soap pump (from dawn soap I think) 1 part soap + 8or 9 parts water...voila. It works great and lasts 10x as long (I bought soap for the first time in a year last month)

    Also we use baking soda (Arm & Hammer but store brand) for a lot of cleaning!! (think a great cheap and easy scrub)

  5. You know that we're penny pinching too. So far I've made my own cleaning products out of vinigar and lemon juice and water. I used to spend a lot on cleaning supplies. And you know we cut off our TV (BOO). But the one thing that helped us a lot was contacting our utility companines and credit cards (we are still paying for mistakes we made in college)to see if there were lower payments or settlements available.
    Our grocery budget is $75 a week for the 3 of us. We really don't vary what we eat that much so we know what to expect. We shop at Whole Foods and usually come in a little under budget. It takes some planning, but we eat all natural foods for pretty cheap.

  6. Kameron , those are great cut backs. Good luck on seeing a difference in your pocket soon for the better. Planning out meals helps a lot when your doing the grocery budget. Not to mention anything italian is so much better the next day. :o)

  7. One thing we did that saves a lot of money was to get rid of our home phone and only use our cell phones. We saved the charge of just having the phone in the house and for long distance calls since on a cell plan long distance is free, but not on a land line. Other things we do are use the library for books and movies instead of buying or renting them, getting some of the kids clothes at thrift stores when possible, eating out less, and planning activities on the weekends that use little to no money (i.e. free admission the first Sunday of every month to the Providence Children's Museum). All these things definitely help. Good luck, it sounds like you've made some great changes!

  8. Great ideas from all the comments! I need help big time in this area, but have been scared to even start!

  9. Thats a really good start you have there on saving money!! I need to take note and follow suit!!!

  10. I started giving Joe a cash allowance- he spends like mad! So far he has hoarded his cash. Something about actually spending cash makes him slow down. When he is using the ATM card he spends like the wind! I have a problem with shopping online while working nights. Some nights it is so slow I reward myself for staying awake by buying something. So I am avoiding the internet at work. I have tons of other ones, but can't think of anymore....just woke up!

  11. Oh, you could also read The Simple Dollar, and Get Rich Slowly, and Frugal Dad. All really good blogs about money saving!


What you talkin' bout Willis??