Monday, February 4, 2013

Tis the Season for Saving

First, a quick note. A few people asked me if I was being sponsored or if I received any compensation from Five Below because of this post.  The answer?

While I totally would sell out if anyone wanted to sponsor me because I am…how do you say it?

Right.  While I would totally accept sponsorships/review things if it was relevant to the blog or my life, I would/will always let you guys know if I’m receiving any kind of compensation for a post. So that post, my amazon love one, and all my sutter home  shoutouts? All me baby. All sad, broke me. 

But again, I totally would do a review of something in exchange for goods and/or money.

Anyway, this segues nicely into today’s topic: I am broke. Sigh.  Looking at my bank account makes me sad.

But I realized something: we’re finally over the holiday season! Not counting Valentine’s day, but I already bought Boyfriend his gift and we don’t make a huge deal about Valentine’s day because it is a made up holiday.

Anyway, my point is that from August to January, I have to deal with all of my family (and Boyfriend’s) birthdays, AND Christmas. But from about now until Mother’s day, I’m free! I have no celebrations or major purchases coming up.  I’m making February through May the season of savings!

I’ve cut down on booze again (for now), so that expense has plummeted. I’m in relatively good shape with my furniture.

I'll take it.
And I have resolved to cut down my online shopping! Starting February 1st!


Yes, self. We can still buy food.  But with coupons! Because…

It’s going to be a long winter/spring, methinks. Do you guys have any good money-saving tips?


  1. Are you going to turn into one of those "extreme couponers"? They scare me. Some money saving tips: Steal. If you get good at stealing, you can steal stuff that you can then put on EBay, thus making money!

  2. Yeah. Don't shop. Ignore advertising. Get books, movies from the library. Making wine from a kit is $3-4 a bottle, and is better than commercial wine. Don't ever, ever buy wine from a restaurant. You don't mention credit cards - pay them off in full every month, without exception. Do without wine if you must. Never eat fast food, it's expensive for being cheap. Buy real food instead. Learn how to cook, which I admit is a two edged sword. You'll save on prepared stuff, but kitchen toys can be expensive. Still, better for you in the long run.

    When you buy stuff, if you really must, buy good quality and take care of it. The bonus of this approach is that you need never darken Walmart's door again. All they have is cheap.

    And coupons. Bah! I say it again, BAH! The whole point of coupons is to make you buy shit you wouldn't normally buy. Stuff you don't like even, you buy saying to yourself, what a deal. Bah! The only deal is not spending money unless you must. On stuff you really need, and that you happen to like.

    Unfortunately for you, the world is designed to set you up for failure. Right now it pays you shite while you look at paying back student loans and buying stuff. They are trying to get you hooked into paying interest, and you'll go on paying interest the rest of your life unless you take control now. This means moving heaven and earth to stop paying interest. Ever. And get yourself into a state where they pay you interest. It won't happen overnight. It won't happen from couponing.

    Stop thinking that the life on TV is what you should aspire to. You might think you know it's all fake, but the brain sucking aliens that are running the TV industry want you to think that, while they subliminally program you to spend money.

    That list, booze, Amazon, coffee. Stop. Just stop, or cut down dramatically. Internet I say keep, for two reasons. Infinite entertainment there, but more importantly, it's a tool to increase the amount of money coming in. Part of your life should be making yourself more valuable, so that people with money want to pay you to do stuff for them. The better you are at this, the more money you will make. After a while, you won't need to work so much to make an acceptable amount of money, and you can spent the time doing things you like.

    With any luck, internet use will find you things you like doing, that people will pay you to do. Which is a bonus, but it won't happen if you prepare by sipping wine and shopping at amazon. So BITCH UP! Take control. At your age you are in a rat race and you need every edge. Debt and interest you pay are millstones around your neck, holding you down.

    You asked.

  3. I agree with Keith about coupons. "Save $1 on 3 boxes of cereal". Cereal is around $4/box. At that rate, you'd save more to just buy 1 or 2 and be done. Definitely start renting books/movies from the library. I do it weekly and no longer use Netflix and my book buying on amazon has dropped a lot. I'll join you in your seasons of savings though. I've been doing a lot of shopping lately. We'll be 2 broke girls together... But not. Because I'd eat all the cupcakes. And you...distance.

  4. Keith took the words right out of my mouth. All of those are things I've been living by for years, even the making your own booze one (I brew my own beer).

    To take his credit card thing a bit further, do you have a card that gives you cash rewards? I buy EVERYTHING with my card. No cash. No exceptions. Then I pay off my balance each month (no interest charges, screw that), and in the end I'm basically being paid to use my credit card. It may not sound like much, but an extra few hundred dollars at the end of the year could very well be your Christmas shopping money.

    1. I do this same thing... put everything on a rewards card and pay off the bill in full each month. (That last part is important.) Credit card debt is insane.

  5. Oh god, I hear you. I am crossing my fingers that I can hibernate until spring, thus saving some $$. Once I pay off my Xmas bills that is. Fingers crossed. Good luck, Gia!

  6. have to cut down on shopping too, what i do with online shopping is i only do it through sales now and then i set a limit of how much the clothes can cost, pile them all in your basket, close the computer. it is just the motion of online shopping.

  7. I tried extreme couponing for several months. The cashiers hated me. I also ended up with 25 bottles of laundry detergent. A year later and I still haven't used it all. Also, cereal. We have a bomb shelter filled with expired cereal. Well, minus the bomb shelter, but you can see the picture I am painting here, right? You spend more than you save, food expires, toothpaste starts to taste funny and you need a bomb shelter to store it all in.

  8. I agree with what Keith and A Beer for the Shower suggest in their posts.

    Good luck to you.

  9. Damn online shopping- that one always gets me. I find that if I force myself not to do it for a while, I get out of the habit. That's kinda like the wine thing too :P

  10. I tried locking myself in a room to stop myself from spending money, but sadly the internet has stopped this from being a foolproof plan.

  11. Isn't there such a thing as coupon bloggers? Maybe they get paid to do it. It sounds scary and foreign to me. Maybe it gave birth to extreme couponing.

    I found the best way to save money was to be broke. When I didn't have any money to spend, I didn't spend any money. That and I only had a debit card, no credit cards.

  12. When I looked at my credit card bills on January 3rd, I had chest pains. I think it was the closes to a heart attack I've ever come. The husband and I put ourselves on a strict budget. We take money out each week, some for groceries and some for fun. When the money is gone, so is the food and the fun...until next week.

  13. Me again. Another saving money tool. Stop thinking about money. Think about time instead.
    One thing you should absolutely know is how long it takes you to earn money. Not your gross. How long do you have to work to put a particular amount of money in your pocket? That way when the stupidly overpriced, over-flavoured, sugary beverage that ostensibly contains coffee is on your mind, you can say, I have to work x many minutes to buy that coffee. Is it worth it?

    An example. Lets say you get paid $25 an hour, and you work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks of the year. That's $50K, a nice round number. Let's further say you pay 30% of that in various taxes and other deductions. Income is down to $35K. Divide by 2000 working hours a year is $17.50 an hour. Or 34 minutes to earn $10.

    Now for the graduate course. Start stripping out your mandatory payments to find your disposable income, that is, income you can choose how you dispose of it. Now do those same calculations again, based on your full years working time, and you will suddenly discover that $10 in your pocket you can spend as you please, might take 2 or 3 or more hours to earn. Excel is your friend for these sorts of calculations.

    Lastly, do you now know what you actually spend money on? To the nickel? Start tracking it. Write down everything you spend in a month. Every nickel. What you spent it on, and how, (cash, debit, credit). Sometimes just the act of having to write it down will stop you from spending.

  14. Cash. That's the issue for me. Cards are way too easy to use. If I only allow myself to spend cash, I'm less likely to buy stupid stuff. Sadly, I have a debt that keeps growing due to really stupid un-fun things like dental work and oil for heating the house and car repairs. And my hours at work got cut in half, so...yeah. Money's tight. I feel your pain!

  15. Ughhhh I hate money. I don't want to ever have to deal with money ever again. I had a dream last night that I got a $6,000 raise. Gods I wish that hadn't been a dream!

  16. They only money saving tip I have is to completely turn away from anything that would entice me to buy it. no amazon, zappos, target, marshall's, ANYTHING. The problem is when I do allow myself to take a peek, all my money be gone.

  17. My husband and I realized we had no idea how much money we were spending each month, because we just sort of did whatever. So we sat down and estimated a reasonable amount for groceries/toiletries/etc every month, and then an acceptable 'going' out budget. Now, on the 1st of each month, we pull all the cash we plan to spend and divvy it up into the food fund and the going out fund. We know exactly how much we have, and we've saved a ton of money since we aren't spending all wily-nily.

    Except for December, we totally blew the budget then.

  18. Stay out of the alcohol and stuffed animal sections and you should be good. ;-)

  19. Love your princess outfit!

    Cashback sites can be a pretty good idea. Just because if you're planning on buying a certain thing anyway, you're going to get a small percentage of the money back without even trying too hard...

  20. My tip is buy wine that's on sale. S. Homes was on sale today I think because they knew I would need it to survive the blizzard!

  21. I have, at the young age of 40, decided to pay cash for stuff. When the hubs took my credit cards (all FOUR!) I deliberately didn't look for them (this time.) This has helped, and this month, my credit card payment went to actually paying it down, rather than repaying what I just charged, after my last meager payment, which covered what I had just charged, etc. etc. etc.

    So, I took my "credit card payment budget", paid one off, gave two the minimum, and put the rest towards the lowest balance. Everything I need must be cash, or I get someone else to foot the bill ;)