Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Small budget, big savings

As everyone tries to tighten their wallets and live off a little less, I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Not so much because I want to make a ding in consumerism. I know that my shopping habits are a drop in the bucket compared to their bottom line. Not because I'm drowning in credit card debt, I never jumped on that bandwagon. No I want to tighten my purse strings to save money. Not only for the goodies that my husband and I want (like a computer with a working "c" key or a flat screen tv or woodwork and sewing tools), but to have in those "oh shit" moments, like when you get a flat tire or your air conditioning quits. Also we want to buy a house, its in our 5 year or sooner plan.

So how do I plan to do this. Nothing earth shattering or ground breaking. But I do have a plan.

1. Meal plan - Now goin are probably going to ask how is this going to save any money? And my dears, I have an answer. No last minute trips to the grocery store, dd in tow, both of us starving, which results in buying full price *gasp!*, buying junk food and other unneeded items. It also prevents the "what to make for dinner" debate that can result in buying take out that costs WAY more than making it at home.

2. Coupon - Not only does this save on groceries but if you are careful you can get free health and hygiene items. So worth it.

3. Food allowance - My sister has issued me a challenge. $30 per person per 2 weeks for food, plus a $20 allowance for meat, since she raises cows, pigs, and chickens for butchering. Gotta plan to make that work!

4. Envelope plan - Rather than writing a check or using the debit card for groceries, gas, housecleaning items, I have cash, in envelopes, for these items. The envelopes have to be audited every pay period to prevent taking cash for other items.

5. Save "spent" money - I tend to consider bottle deposits, rebates and change spent. So rather than spending this as 'extra' money, I am saving it. This can be used for eating out at special events, going out to movies, or other fun things.

6. Shop clearance - Birthdays come around every year, as does Christmas and other holidays. Rather than waiting until the last minute to buy presents, cards, outfits I am going to buy ahead. It may be a stash of toys that went on clearance, a Halloween costume a size too big, an extra box of Valentine day cards, but it will be bought for much less.

These are all common sense but require thought, planning, time and effort. I'm making it my goal to take this time and put in this effort.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New year, new goals

Resolutions are so overdone anymore, plus you make a resolution expecting to not accomplish it. For this reason I am taking this time to examine my life and my home and figure out what needs work and setting goals.

1. Find the systems that aren't working and overhaul them.
I don't know about you but I have home systems that are failing miserably. My daughters closet is overflowing with clothes but she can't ever find what she wants or what fits. My hall closet is full of....miscellaneous stuff that I don't know what is. My cleaning supplies are everywhere. And so im going to take everything out of these places and make new systems. And then enforce things being put away.

2. Organization is key
Where's that bill? Do you know where the lunch menu is? When is that party? I, just like every other mom in America, am buried in paperwork. I plan to combat this by a) going paperless where possible b) having a clear "inbox" for all papers coming into the house and c) having specific days I go through my inbox. Invitations will go on the cork board along with menus. Bills that come in will have a file on my desk with my computer. School papers will be sorted through.

3. Meal plan and coupon
While this could fall under keep a clear budget, I'm putting it under its own goal. I want to meal plan a month out. Why? This will allow me to watch for deals and use coupons effectively. My sister and I are compiling a price book to share in Google Docs that will give standard prices as well as sale frequency

4. Budget and save
This is coming to a blog post near you soon, its too much to add in this one.

I'm hoping by setting goals for myself instead of resolutions I will achieve them instead of falling off as usual. Wish me luck ladies and gentlemen