One thing I’ve realized when it comes to saving money is that you have to put it into your budget. You can’t just say “well, I’ll see what we have left over at the end of the money and then put any extra money into our savings account.”
It simply doesn’t work that way. If there is money in the checking account, it will get spent. $5 here, $5 there…we should buy that because it’s on sale…and 10 “good deals” later you realize you just don’t have anything left.
Which is why a percentage of my paycheck is automatically placed into our savings account. It’s been incredibly hard not to touch it but we’ve managed to triple our savings since January. We definitely haven’t mastered the art of budgeting—as is evident by always seeming to be one paycheck behind…(I’m hoping on a tax return to bail us out). But here are some things that have helped us put more money in our savings account, and less into the black abyss called “spending.”
Eric and I were living in a decent one-bedroom apartment in ritzy Newport Beach. In the end, we decided to move down the street—literally two blocks— into a loft and also into a new (and less brand-name) city address. Say what you want, but it’s a lot different to say “I live in Newport Beach” than to say “I live in (insert new city).”
But we’re now saving about $300 to $400 a month. Over a year, that’s a minimum of $3600 saved.
And eventually we’ll have a nicer place, but in the meantime, the loft is a good size for us and our pup (The people who lived here before us had a baby! No clue how they did it…)
Get a Family Plan
We should have done this earlier, but because he had AT&T and the Iphone, and I had Verizon and a 15% discount through my work, neither of us was willing to switch. We were averaging about $180 a month on cell phones. Eric made the switch to Verizon, got the Droid (which I think he likes better than the Iphone), and we are now looking at a bill around $110 a month, possibly even less with my discount. And did I mention we get free mobile-to-mobile minutes?
Nix the Paper Towels
I know people will make fun of me, but paper towels are expensive. And I also feel that paper towels are like one of the two things you can’t buy generic (toilet paper is the other one!) because I used to have roommates who would buy generic, and I’m sorry, but there IS a difference between generic and Bounty.
Anyway, we were going through about a roll a week, no joke. And every time you stocked up it was about $9.
By cutting up some of Eric’s old t-shirts that he never wears, I’ve managed to create rags that I now use for cleaning the house—saving tons of paper towels. I also keep the paper towels under the sink, instead of displayed on the counter. By hiding them, Eric and I now are more inclined to use a rag before wasting precious (and expensive) paper towels. In the past two months, we haven’t even used an entire roll.
Go out for Breakfast rather than Dinner
Eric and I don’t go out to eat very often, but when we do we usually go out for brunch. We are big on breakfast and not so big on dinner. A good brunch will cost us about $25-30 for both of us. A dinner can easily run us $50. Weekends are the best when you start off with a good brunch.
TOTAL SAVINGS? $5,120!
That’s in addition to the $7,400 we saved in this last post for a grand total of $12,520 in annual savings so far! Which is why it looks like we’re on track to hit our $8 to $10 thousand dollar goal by August…