Saturday, January 9, 2021

Sunday, Budget cut backs


    I can't even began to explain the number of books I have read on getting out of debt, or the number of hours I have spent making up budgets.  I love to read lists about how to cut expenses, but sadly they never really helped me.  I remember one of the number one things was cut cable.  We never had cable.  Or how about cut back on drinking and smoking.  We don't do either.  Or the $5.00 coffee habit or stopping once a day at Starbucks.  Don't drink coffee.

     It was discouraging when you look at your budget and you cannot cut anywhere but groceries. If we even had money for groceries.   What I was able to find out after many years of saying I can't to almost every  suggestion, was, but Kim have you tried to do that?

One thing that is often suggested was to call services and see if you could get a reduction in rates.  I was always so busy and so scatter brained I did not even know what my rate was.  But I decided to be diligent and a few years ago, I called my car insurance, my internet, my cell phone, and a credit card and low an behold, I was able to drop my interest rate by 6 points.  I was able to save over $127.00 a month yes a month on car insurance.  I saved $25.00 on internet and over $50.00 on my cell phones.  That was over $200.00 a month with just phone calls.

I then decided to see if I could lower my utilities.  I became diligent about turning off lights.  I changed any light bulb I could to LED.  We did not put up outdoor Christmas lights. We wore sweaters and used blankets when we got chilly.  I started cooking in batches, to fill the oven when I used it.  I kept bottles of water in the freezer to keep it filled with ice. Made sure my dishwasher was full and I did full loads of laundry.  I dried clothes on lines when possible.  When I totaled our utilities for the year for my home business, our totals were down over $500.00.  Just by doing a few things to make sure we were not wasting.

Water is expensive here.  I have many flower boxes and learned how to make my own soil that would prolong the moisture so I did not have to water as often.  I learned which plants would grow well without a lot of water.  I watered at night to keep evaporation at a minimum.  I also used extra water from the house in my boxes.  Glasses of ice drinks that were melting would be thrown in a box.  The water picture at meal times would be thrown in a box.  We had a good drain system off the roof and I would take the wheel barrow with water and dump the whole thing into the garden.  We just learned to be more efficient.

You can't cut fixed expense like car payments, but you can drive less.  You can use the gas buddy app to find out where gas is the least expensive in your area. You can frequent the stores that have gas apps and use those points for cents off a gallon. I would be doing this, but I still save the most money by driving 3 miles out to the reservation.

Quit shopping the sale rack or the sale bins.  I know it is a good buy but is it on your list?  I was horrible about this.  If there was a sale, I would buy and justify that I was saving money.  So that can of coconut milk was 1/2 off.  Do you use it?  If it is  in your menu plan by all means but if not skip it.

Have a list of regular meals you like to eat and make sure they use the reagular loss leaders from grocery stores.  Burger, pasta, cheese, eggs, tomato sauce. Always check the mark down meat bin if you have one.  Meat is the most expensive part of your budget.

All I know is that it was a combination of really trying to save and not spend in all areas of my life that got us to a good financial place.

We just got home from the 5 hour round missionary trip, where we stopped and topped off our gas tank on the reservation saving .29 a gallon.  We came home hungry and hubs asked if I wanted to stop and get something, but I knew I had corn tortillas in the fridge.  I had salsa, sour cream, lettuce, cheese, onions, and ground beef I could defrost in about 10 minutes and then make up some taco meat.  I also added a can of black beans to stretch the meat, so we can have this for another meal.  I fried the corn tortillas and we each had three tacos.  This took 20 minutes.

You can always find a way to say no and not buy.  Do you need the item?  I mean right now? If you do not don't buy it.  Even if it is a good deal.  I have to say the only thing I will break this rule on is meat.  But I learned not to do it for anything else.  Quit looking at the sale aisles.  You don't need the stuff.

Now no one loves to find a bargain better than me, but I was bargaining myself into debt.

Have you ever been guilty of buying things on sale you don't need or I should say can't afford just because they are on sale and you just had to buy something?  Have you ever just gone out shopping for something to do because you were bored, or lonely, or nervous, or angry? I know I have, it was a very hard habit to break.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

32 comments:

  1. Loss leaders, bogo, and sales keep me from buying full price ALL the time. I even found Jumbo eggs for 50 cents a dozen the other day. I bought four dozen and will buy more and freeze if they still have them on Tuesday. Fabric was always my downfall! Who can ever get too much fabric, especially black and red.

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    1. Fabric is so expensive. I remember the good old days when it was .50 a yard.

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  2. Great tips!
    When we wanted to pay off our mortgage early several years ago, we got really serious about saving money. Dropped directv, newspaper, landline (use ooma), and we were able to pay off mortgage years early. It is nice to be debt free!

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    1. Well doing all these things certainly helped us pay off our mortgage early and here we are back with another one.

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  3. Great tips. I keep a stocked pantry and will only buy sales of items that we use regularly. I'm trying to go more meatless because it is so expensive but my husband is a meat eater. Last time we went for a big shop I put everything else in the front of the belt and all the meat in the back. I showed him when checking out what the total was before all the meat and the total after. I think I will get him to open his eyes this way.

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    1. My husband is a carnivore, but I will tolerate it as it has brought his weight down and his health is so much better.

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  4. Test message, Google has been driving me mad lately. Your point about buying sales items, is exactly my problem! They are my weakness! I looked at my average grocery spending in 2020 and it was up 20% to 600 a month....and so I had to look hard at what I was doing. Too many “sale” items and too many side trips for treats.

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    1. It is very hard for me to stick to a list. But I am getting better. I have just learned to watch the cycles and only buy at the lowest price.

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  5. Sales will crash a budget if not careful. Great tips.

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    1. If you can get to a point that you have every thing you need to cook meals you like in storage you can then just shop the sales. But it takes time.

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  6. Great post! I was proud of my dd the other day. We were texting and she was getting ready to go pick up her dh at an auto repair shop, after work, that was about an hours drive each way. On their way home would be dinner time and rather than stopping to get something, she packed sandwiches and snacks for them.

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    1. That is a good plan. We put a couple of sodas and a couple of protein drinks in the car when we made the 5 hour round trip so if we got famished and we were when we got home we could drink those.t

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  7. I practice zero based budgeting. Start with nothing. Pay mandatory bills. Yes, savings is a mandatory bill and is automated so as not to skip it. Then buy food so we can eat. Anything leftover can be used for other needs/wants.

    My Dad always said: the dollars spend themselves, it is the pennies you have to watch. IT IS TRUE!

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    1. I have heard that many times, but I always found it hard to believe until I started watching the small amounts and saw the wisdom.

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  8. Such great tips, Kim. It makes no sense to stock up on something you don't use, unless you're donating it to the food pantry where someone else will receive it as a blessing. We have not stocked up much in 2020 because we didn't go to the stores, but hopefully that will change soon. I'm hoping anyway.

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    1. Well I had really worked my stockpile down knowing we were going to move and I had to get it back up. It is so nice to go a grab a can of vegetables and know that you only paid .33 a can.

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  9. Great post Kim! I always shop clearance, but that's because I always have a long term plan for it. People don't understand my weirdness (not even my DH) but in the end he always sees how it's worked out and saved us money.

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    1. I do shop some clearance, but only things I know I will use.

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  10. Great post and tips. I can relate about wearing sweaters and so forth, and turning out lights. If there is a good sale on pantry items, I will limit the amount I buy. I monitor timing of certain sales and have a budget line for that.

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  11. Great points. You are so right. Somedays it is hard to say no - especially if you actually go out. But it is often the right thing to do. I often WANT to go out, but most days I talk myself out of it. Nothing I HAVE to get.
    Thanks

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    1. I know many times I go out to just get out of the house, and then I end up spending money I did not have to.

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  12. Even being just me I have had a well stocked pantry. I continue to stock up with the COVID numbers being up, and in case there is another major shut down. I need to stop and start using up the stockpile. My major area of weakness is clothing. Over last 2 years lost about 160 pounds so really having fun buying a new wardrobe......still,have about 40 to go but really enjoying being able to buy and fit into clothes that I like. This must stop also......hopefully I’ll behave starting in 2021 in these 2 areas.....need to get back on the saving track! Happy to see I’m not the only one that makes some sketchy decisions and choices!

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    1. Wow 160 lbs! You deserve a new wardrobe my friend. But I can also see where you could go overboard. It would be so fun!

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  13. These are all great tips. I have a mini goal in 2021 to try & find new monthly ways to save, in addition to what I'm already doing regularly. It's a fun (although hard) challenge. So far, I cancelled our produce box (we weren't using it much, which meant the potential for food waste).

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    1. It is hard to cut back in new ways as I have done everything I think I can. But there is always a way you can cut more.

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  14. Same as you we don't go out for meals (once in a blue moon), I don't buy coffee out, when I worked I took my packed lunch, considering how miserable our weather can be here on the prairies of Canada (though this year has been lovely so far) having cable is sometimes our only entertainment.

    Like you I only wash full loads, use up all that I can, remake meals, plan leftovers, and just plain save a penny here and a penny there. All those pennies add up.

    I do need to do more batch cooking though. Thank you for the reminder.

    God bless.

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    1. We have streaming services now through our computer and it is nice to have access to so many things and not have it cost an arm and a leg.

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  15. Like you, I do not have cable, smoke, drink, nor drink coffee (there is not a grocery store within 20 miles of here, much less Starbucks)..... I definitely live in the boonies...lol. Great tips about not buying just because it is on sale if you don’t need it, or won’t need it in near future.

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    1. I can be so bad about this, but I have just learned to cut back. I would love to see where you live in the boonies.

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  16. Son 1 and 2 both said they have went to doing pick up at curb for their groceries to stay on budget. Son 2 said he has a habit now of putting stuff in his Amazon cart and waiting 3 days before he orders it. If he hasn't ordered it by then, he removes it from the cart. Daughter 4 does curb side pick up also with it noted to not allow substitutes. She would rather go without instead of paying a higher price.

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