The all-things-budget thread
So I'm sitting here Sunday morning thinking of my upcoming finances for the month with a new baby on the way in 2 1/2 months....and its crunch time as far as killing off my debts and trimming the fat with monthly expenses to drum up some extra savings. Figured this could be a cool community thread with ideas on how to save each month on things like food, utilities, ammo, gas, etc.
As of now, I drew up an Excel spreadsheet to log EVERY single expense I incur every month....and my income...to see how I can widen the profit margin. Ive already spotted a few things that can produce savings like planning meals ahead of time each week...instead of getting the normal food cache and sort of "winging it" for meals each day.
1) Basic, healthy meals that consist of chicken, rice, and veggies that when bought in bulk can be pretty cheap. Im gonna join up Sam's Club soon and take advantage of the bulk discounts there
2) I also recently had my insurance agent check to see if we qualify for any lower rates and sure enough....we were eligible for a lower rate that chopped $600 a year off without losing coverage!
3) Last project I tackled around the house was replacing every single bulb with energy saving CFL bulbs. That will pay for itself by next year. I also added a new layer of insulation in my attic because it gets cold up here in PA. I noticed our boiler was kicking on less...and with todays oil prices thats huge!
4) Also just found out about a member benefit program at my job that made me eligible for a 15% group discount with AT&T my cell phone provider. The little things add up.
5) Decided to only hit the range twice a month, and use half the ammo I used to. I used to go every other weekend and burn through like 200-250 rounds with various pistols. Now, Ill go just once or twice a month and use half the ammo.
I never spent the time to literally log down every single expense each month...I suggest doing this so you know exactly what your allowance is each month. Obviously, we all come from different financial backgrounds on here but MOST of us could benefit from smart budgeting, specially in these times.
Anyone got any good nuggets to share?
I'm glad you are looking at your expenses as opposed to calling for a tax increase!!!!!! If you run for office you already have MY vote!
I recently purchased a .22lr pistol (Remington 22/45) in order to save $$ on ammo - now I can't find any lol how's THAT for saving money?
My kids are 24 (on his own), 21 (getting there) 17 and 12. I have lots of saving and expenses to deal with too, and I make half of what I did in 2008. Yet I figured out how to purchase 7 firearms this past year. My car is a total beater, paid for, and we don't eat out but a couple of times a month. Lots of $$ to be saved at the grocery store btw. The more you are willing to put into cooking the better you eat and the healthier you are.
Chloe thats EXACTLY what I'm working on.
Also less eating out at work and more bagged lunches and planned out meals for each week. Im blowing upwards of $150 a week just for my wife and baby and I and it goes fast. Learning how to streeeeeetch out those dollars!
I'm single, so i haven't been motivated enough yet, but i've seen a lot of people making big batches of casseroles and such that would work for a main course/entree at a family dinner and freezing them for use throughout the month. IOW, make a batch of chicken pot pies or something similar with say four pies that will each be an entree, maybe one each week for a month. Pick another entree for Tuesdays, etc. If you could do this ahead of time for, at least, Tuesday's and Thursday's meals for each week for the month, maybe on the first weekend of the month, maybe Sunday night during The Walking Dead, you could save a good bit of evening time during those weeknights and a bit of money on the chicken and veggies. Buy the whole big chicken and split it up into the four pies, and buy some fresh veggies to cut up, and they sell pie crusts in the freezer section.
Want to save some money on breakfast and alarm clocks? Get a few yardbirds out there laying some breakfast for you; my sister LOVED her fresh eggs.
In a lot of cases store brands of certain items are as good as the name brands and tend to be less expensive. My sister would tell you COUPONS COUPONS COUPONS when shopping, go online and print them out. Check your owners manual and see what grade of gasoline it calls for, if you are running higher grades trying dropping down to the specified grade, you can save a bit of cash there. Keep your tires properly inflated and that will save gas which in turn will save you money at the pump. If you smoke try quitting or at least cutting back you can save a lot of money there.
Tires inflated, air filter clean.
+100 on store brands
The more "pre-prepped" a food item is, the more expensive (rice vs. Minute Rice)
Insulation- GOOD. Weatherstripping doors/windows- VERY GOOD. Adding a foam draft stopper sheet under outlets and switches- especially on exterior walls- GREAT.
Brown bagging lunch- save 80% of cost.
Saving gas- PLAN your driving.
If you have a hot air furnace or heat pump- change filters. I do mine once a month- they are cheap in bulk packs.
Water heater- add an insulation jacket. READ the instructions.
Wash everything in cold water except your body.
When weather is nice, use clothesline instead of dryer. Clotheslines do not check for Y chromasomes, so YOU can hang out laundry.
Instead of buying books you only want to read twice, get a library card.
Baby stuff? Thift shops. Babies rarely wear out booties.
Where is the best gas price? gasbuddy.com
Pay cash. Interest on credit cards is a killer. PS- Ask for discount for cash if local merchant.
As for "wash everything in cold water except your body", I think one must wash the dishes in hot water or the grease might not come off so good.
I also plan my trips into town. If possible, I wait until I have several errands to run then do them all in one day.
When I had access to a microwave at work, I would cook huge meals on the Sundays I had my daughter, then take the leftovers to work for lunch all week. Like winds said though there is no saying I'm tired of this on
Wednesday or you are defeating the purpose.
I also try to plan my trips a little bit, I rarely go to town on the weekends I don't have my daughter, I have to drive through town on my way home from work so I make a list and take care of everything on the way home Thursday and Friday nights ( I get paid on Thurs).
Watch the gas stations they tend to raise and lower the prices in a pattern, but they do change the pattern every now and then.
When my daughter is not here I keep the thermostat at about 66 degrees to save on propane, but that is pretty low for a newborn so this may be one area where you have to "bite the bullet" at least for a year or two.
A vacuum sealer. This lets you purchase lots of things that are on sale and large bulk packs and reseal them for storage. Oxygen absorbers in the sealed bags of things like oats and wheat greatly.
It also nice to seal up things to protect them from the environment. I seal up a lot of things that are part of my bug out stashes.
And when I was tearing down an old pickup truck I was restoring I cleaned and sealed a lot small parts with labels so I could keep things together, and know what went where when I put it back together.
The others are right about saving a lot of money by packing your own lunches for work. Even fast food restaurants add up quickly! I often use leftovers for my lunches or buy sandwich ingredients that last the whole week. Also, stocking up on items when they are on sale can be good. For example, buy extra chicken when it is on sale and freeze some. Then you will have it when you need it instead of having to run out to the store and pay full price. I also sometimes find clothing items at the thrift store. When my brother and sister-in-law were expecting, they found a lot of good baby items at yard sales at great prices. Also, depending on where you live, you may be able to grow some of your own vegetables to save money and eat healthy. One of my coworkers even makes some of the food for her baby by pureeing fresh fruits and vegetables. Hope some of these ideas might help!
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