Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Putting in all in Perspective

I decided a while ago that my new motto would be "Make Money by Saving Money". I felt funny at first and my friends laugh at me sometimes because of my obsession in finding bargains and spending as little as I can on things. It hasn't always been this way though. I haven't always thought about saving money at the magnitude I do now. I have been through my spending days and having more debt than I needed to have on the plastic. I used to "want" more than I "needed". I can admit now that I did some of that to compare myself to others and "have" what others had to look successful. I used to be a working mom (outside the home...that is). We had extra money to spend after all. Boy, do I wish I was as wise then as I have become now and socked that money away. Maybe that comes with turning 40 (learn younger ones, learn) I worked up until my daughter, Sophie, was about 8 months old and she just turned 6 on April 26th. It wasn't until I stopped working that I started to really value money. Becoming a one income household was a choice, a sacrifice and a blessing.

So, what are some of the things we have done to "Make Money by Saving Money"?

1. We decided to live debt free (except for the mortgage of course) We decided to not carry a credit card balance and pay them off monthly (after many years of paying off those little boogers). Of course, this takes discipline to not spend more than you can afford to pay off each month. I am like many and like nice thing but I refuse to pay full price if I have my way. Buying things 50-75% off is my ultimate goal. And the search for bargains starts!

2. We decided to drive our cars into the ground. I drive a 2003 Expedition. A gas guzzler, I know. But it's paid for and I luckily don't drive that much anymore. My husband drives an ancient 1996 Jetta. It's been paid for 8 years. He is so funny. "I don't need a new car! All I do is drive it 40 miles to Boston and back each day. It does the job".  It will be so wierd to see him drive a different car whenever the day comes.

3. We choose to not go out to dinner often. We maybe treat ourselves once every few months or so. But we do have a weekly pizza night with our friends in the neighborhood. We rotate houses each week. It usually costs us $10 each week. Then we all make appetizers and the kids go crazy running around making memories and the grown ups have a blast!

4. We have chosen to not "just go out shopping" I try to only go out when I have something I need to buy. That way I don't get in trouble. And I shop at TJMaxx and Marshalls a lot.  I have been learning to go out with my friends shopping and not buying ....just to be with the girls. I do occasionally get weak....but it has to be a great bargain.  Maybe a gift for someone's birthday or other occasion or getting a head start on that Christmas list.  Always looking for those, remember.

5. We have learned to do home repairs and renovations ourselves. We moved to the Northeast in 2005 and into a house that needed a ton of updating. So I have painted loads of trim white (and still painting), removed wallpaper, pulled up carpet, painted every room in our house. We have ripped out two bathrooms and learned to tile (I ran the monster wet saw), put in toilets and do some plumbing (with the help of a great neighbor). I did our tile backsplash right after that since I had become a wet saw master! We do our own housework and yardwork. My brother has even taught us how to install new windows. That is our next big project. I ask for Lowe's or Home Depot Gift Cards for every occasion I can:)

6. We have chosen not to take lavish vacations. We did take the kids to Disney last year. We're not that cruel.  But, we use our vacation time to visit family in NC. We have a blast going to ocean here, which is just 45 minutes away. And to the mountains here, which is just 45 minutes to an hour away. Or into Boston for the day. We utilize what is around us and it's great.

7. I re-evaluate our insurance premiums, phone bills, cable bills every year. I keep checking to make sure I am getting the lowest price available. This year in January, I saved us $80 a month by changing insurance companies and getting different cable and phone plans. It's amazing what a company will do if they think you are going to cancel your service with them. Which is the avenue you take when calling them..."What do I need to do to cancel my account?", you ask. "Why would you want to do that?" they ask. and then they say "Do you mind if I see what I can do for you?" Try it...it's great!!!

8. I use coupons and coupon matchups at stores. I can't tell you enough how much this has helped me "make money by saving money". I love to get cheap stuff, free stuff, samples of stuff. I take surveys online for extra money. I use Ebates and Mr. Rebates when shopping online to get money back. I joined Upromise to mindlessly save money for my kids college. I hope I can help you with this one.

9. At lastly....for now. We try to just have fun!!! Enjoy what we have and see the blessings in all that we have. Life is busy and just too darn short!

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  1. Happy SITS Saturday Share Fest!!

    I'll spend a little more time on your blog and learn how to become a coupon expert...Thanking you in advance!

  2. I, too, was a big spender before I became a big saver!! Isn't it a great feeling to save?! :)

    Merry Christmas! (stopping by via SITS)

  3. Stopping in from SITS. Great ideas for spending less. We pay off our credit cards in full at the end of each cycle to avoid those finance charges. We also own all our vehicles. The only thing we are paying on is our excavator and our mortgages. It's tough, but doable.

  4. I've been trying to make money by saving for quite some time. My one hiccup in the process is - where does all that money go anyway? Save $30/week shopping at Wal-mart... where is it?

    I need to find it so as to feel better about my efforts!

  5. These are some really great tips. I almost never pay full price for anything. But I really do need to reevaluate my auto insurance and phone plans. I'm sure I am blowing a whole lot of money each month on both of those.

    Stopping in from SITS. Hope you had a great holiday!