My 100th Post! (Woo Hoo!)
As most of you know, Joey and I bought our first home back in September.We figured we would have to make some changes in our spending habits since owning a house is expensive. All the repairs, maintenance, etc now fall on our shoulders. That reality bit us in the ass in December with our whole insurance debacle. In addition to this all of the other everyday expenses haven't gone away - car payments, repairs, insurance, student loans, medical bills yep they keep on rolling in. Then there's the fact that we have had one of the coldest winters on record so our heat ran almost constantly for two months which caused astronomical electric bills. (By astronomical - I mean I would dissolve into tears and hyperventilate as I opened the bill) So yep - we stretched ourselves thin financially. It was time to pinch some pennies.
How are we doing it? Well - meal planning has played a huge part in it. I plan our meals out for two weeks and shop according to that plan. I also freeze any leftovers we have so we have quick go to meals on the nights I don't feel like cooking rather than eating out. A huge savings has come by making our breakfasts the night before. Joey loved to have hot pockets or to swing by Chik-fil-A on his way to work but that was quickly adding up. Now as I finish up cooking dinner, I also make our breakfasts and lunches for the next day. Joey has been enjoying homemade Bacon, Egg and Cheese or Sausage, Egg and Cheese sandwiches every morning and he swears they are better then Waffle House! He also makes his coffee and brings it with him which saves us even more.
I also had to figure out a way to keep my dear hubby on a budget. I love him to death but his money management skills suck. If you give him $40 he will spend $40 that day. The battle over the debit card purchases was getting bad. Then I discovered the PayPal Student Accounts - no Joey isn't a student but this allows us to keep a cap on his spending. I go in and put a certain amount of money on his card and that way he has to make it last. This is our first week doing it but so far, so good.
We are also still waiting on our tax return. Due to our claiming the First Time Homebuyer Credit the IRS didn't even start to process those returns until February 15. That means we won't see our return until sometime in April...or May. Our return is going to help us wipe out a huge chunk of our debt. Our only two credit cards will be completely paid off once we receive that money and I don't plan on ever using them again. I will also mercifully, finally get my new living room furniture that I have been patiently waiting for. For now though we wait and keep tightening those purse strings.
Joey stepped up and also found a way to save some money. His company just rehired someone who has to pass by our house everyday to get to work. Joey travels 40 miles each way to get to work. That's 80 miles a day in a 6 cylinder not exactly gas sipping Chevy Blazer. We spend over $100 a week on gas for his car alone. Starting next week - they will be taking turns driving. I wish I could car pool but unfortunately I don't live close to anyone from my work but luckily I usually only need to fill up once a week.
I try to save in every way possible. I cut off the power to the TV and the computer when we aren't using them. The AC and the heat are off while we are at work. I clip coupons and shop at places like Aldi and Save-A-Lot. We also have learned to find cheap forms of entertainment. We rent movies from Redbox and Blockbuster Express - many times I have coupon codes for those so the movies end up being free. We go fishing - that's a two for one since if we are lucky we end up catching our dinner too! I whip out gift cards we received for birthdays and Christmas (or I snagged with Mypoints) on the weekends and we go shop without spending any of our money.
Hopefully, as the economy bounces back and we fall into a rhythm all of this will become second nature to us so we won't have to think about it anymore. I know we will eventually be in a place where we won't need to hold back as much as we do but my dream is that we continue to so we can be debt free and buliding a great nest egg for our future children and our retirement.
Please feel free to share your tips on saving with me too!