Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Budget matters: Saving money

This is not going to be a fun post. It's not about a fun project, or even an organizing project. It's about something completely and totally NOT fun to talk about...money.

The husband and I both have good jobs, but like many people in today's times, we don't have a whole lot of extra. We have a monthly budget sheet in which we track our bills and expenditures each month, but one month, it seemed we were hit pretty hard. We're also gearing up for our new baby and all the new expenses having another family member will bring.

We started by examining our bank statement. This was during a time when I wasn't feeling well and didn't really want to cook a lot. When we went back through our bank statement, we discovered to our horror that in not even a whole month, we managed to spend almost $300 eating dinner and lunch out. Yikes! This was definitely something we could amend and make changes to. We also realized we had a lot of money going to home improvement projects and cell phone data overage charges.

I promptly went to the grocery store and the hubs started eating lunch from home more often, and these costs went way down. Our top three most expensive budget items are our house payment, car payment and child care. Neither of these items can be reduced or done away with. This makes us have to get a little creative :)

Here is a list of some things we are trying to do to save money. This is not a perfect list and there are certainly more things we are trying, but here is what works for us so far.

1. Open the blinds and rely on natural light during the day, instead of using electric lights.
2. Go to the grocery store every other week instead of weekly. Write down what you need as you run out of it to keep you from forgetting and making additional store trips. Make your meal plans ahead of time to ensure you have all the ingredients you need.
3. Save gas by planning trips accordingly. For instance, my doctor is in a big city an hour from our home.
4.Turn off cellular data when you're not using it to avoid overage charges. Also, you have sneaky programs that run in the background and leach your data. Turn off or restrict your background data.
5. Examine your phone/Internet/cable bill. Is there anything you can do in these areas to save money? Is there anything you can reduce or turn off to make your bills lower?
6. Limit yourselves to doing home improvement projects every other month instead of every month. You don't need to spend money on the house each month.
7. Only buy clothing twice a year, at the end of season sales. One exception to this is special occasion clothing, for example, Easter.

We are doing some experimenting right now, but I will report back next month about our new changes and how well they worked/didn't work. What kinds of things do you all do to save money?

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, and French Country Cottage!

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