Friday, January 4, 2013

Money

I tend to have an obsesive personality. When I like something, I dont just like something. I crave it. I love it. I overdo it sometimes. If you haven't noticed, I have an obsession with shoes. I could never gamble, because I would be that person that can't stop and loses everything. One thing that I could obsess a little bit more about is finances!

I used to be so good at saving money, until I got a job. Then I was like, "wow, now I have money/get money way more often, so I can spend it more often" Well, now I need to learn how to save my money and spend it more wisely again.

There are a lot of big financial goals that I have. 1. I want to start a family, but children are expensive. 2. We need to buy Patrick a car that was made in the 21st century. 3. Save for a downpament on a house. 4. Buy our own furniture! (couch, dining room table and chairs, bedroom set)... the list goes on.

So I have compiled a list of "tips" to saving money. Somethings I was raised doing, somethings I have done for years, somethings I used to do I need to get back to doing and sometihings I have recently learned and want to start doing.

1. You dont need to wash everytime- Growing up, we would reuse, rewear and recycle. We wore our jeans and other clothes (of course socks and underwear washed after each use!) several times before washing them. We would all pick a cup and keep it in the fridge. After we finished our drink we would just rinse it out before refilling it. After a few days, mom would wash it and we would pick a new cup. We also dont shower everyday. Some may find this gross but in my day to day life, I dont do much to become dirty. Every Saturday night, regardless of whether or not I showered the previous day, I take a shower and shave my legs. But other then that, I'll only shower when my hair is greasy, after a workout, or whenever I feel yucky. Basically about 3 times a week.

2. Carry cash- I am much more careful about spending cash then using my debit card. When I use cash, I can see my money disapear. When I was at BYU, I would take out $20 cash each week. That was the money I could spend on food and entertainment and that was it for the week. I could see it and ration it out accordingly. If I spent it early in the week, too bad for me.

3. Track spending- Similar with cash, I spend less and wiser when I can see the money disapear, but I never check the balance on my debit card so I tend to buy buy buy. If I keep a little notebook and write down every charge and subtract it from the balance, I am much more aware of my spending.

4. Don't be a snob- Be willing to buy off brands or store brands. 90% of the time, they work just as well as the national brand and they are much cheaper. And I have recently rediscovered Dollar General. I was bored one afternoon and had to go to Acme. Dollar General is right next door, so I decided to stop in and look around. They have tons of stuff! and its cheap! not "its going to fall apart in two seconds" cheap. They have lots of cleaning supplies, groceries, bath and body products that are name brands for less then you would find at the grocery store. I never thought to shop at a dollar store for regular everyday items, but if it saves me a buck or two...I will no longer be a dollar store snob.

5. Clip coupons- Every Saturday night, I stop by wawa on my way home from work to pick up a sunday paper. I clip all coupons that I would possibly use. I have them organized in a little book seperated by category. Then, I check the ads of the stores I shop most at (Shoprite, CVS and Acme) for the best deals. Remember, for the best deal, combine a coupon with the sale price.

6. Stock pile- When something you use alot (that doesn't expire or takes a long time to expire) goes on sale and you have coupons, buy a couple. I am not saying go crazy like that Extreme Coupon show and buy 50 bottles of BBQ sauce. But I do have about 6 or 7 bottles of laundry deterergent and a solid years supply of razors. So I dont need to worry about running out or paying full price later.

7. Use what you have- Say you go to a store and see an item on sale/clearance for $10 and its usually $50. You say to yourself, "wow thats a great deal! I am saving $40!" After buying said item, it sits in a closet for a year untouched. Did you really save $40? or waste $10? If you never use it, its a waste no matter what the cost is! Use what you have or don't get it. Think to yourself "Am I going to use it in the next two weeks (or month depending on what its for)?" If the answer is no, don't get it! And along with #6, slow down if you have a stockpile of it already. I have stopped buying razors because I have a ridiculous amount already. I am using what I have before buying more (unless with coupons and sales it is more then 80% savings)

8. Know what you have- this goes along with 7. Example: The other day I wanted to make snickerdoodles. I remembered that last time I made them (months ago) I was low on cream of tartar. I chacked the fridge and there was barely any left, so off I went to the store and bought some, full price around 4 bucks. When I got home after making the cookies, I was putting away my ingedients and found a full jar of cream of tartar in my cabinet. Apparantly I bought some months ago when I first realized I was low. Now I wasted $4 cause I know I am not going to be able to use up both jars before they expire seeing as Snickerdoodles is the only recipie that calls for it. If I knew what I had, this wouldnt be a problem!

9. Leave your credit cards at home- For a while, I needed to keep my credit cards at home in my sock drawer to keep me from using them. It was too easto swipe now and worry about paying later. But if my cards were not in my wallet, I couldn't use them if I wanted. This can go with your debit card too. Just take your licence with you one day and leave your wallet at home. You cant be tempted to buy what you don't need if you dont have money.

10. Avoid tolls- In NJ, we have tolls on our highways. On the way to work, there are no tolls for me, but coming home, there is a toll right before my exit. The toll is $1.50. I work five days a week, that would be $390 a year just for that one toll. That sure does add up! So instead, I get off the parkway at the exit right before the toll and take Route 9 the rest of the way. It is about 5 minutes longer but saves me money. To ensure I would avoid the toll, I went without EZ-Pass until this past December. It was a pain getting all those quarters! But now I am in the habit of taking the slightly longer/slower road and saving that money

11. Set aside money in savings- I have direct deposit. I set it up that a certain amount goes directly into our joint account for bills. Then, $50 from every check goes directly into my savings, where I dont touch it. The rest goes into my primary checking. $50 a pay check isnt much, but it adds up to $1200 a year

Do you have any good tips?


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