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.

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