Friday, January 22, 2010

saving and spending...how i cut back


my sweet fiance is great with money. my parents are great with money, my siblings are great with money, whereas i, well...am not. i always think i'm doing well at the beginning of the month, when my beautiful paycheck comes in and my bank balances are well above the red.
but before i know it, the starbucks runs, the once a month tanning, the rebuying of broken items, the expensive makeup, the shoes i dont need...it all adds up to a dismal balance by the end of the month. getting paid once monthly also means i have to strictly budget to make it to the end!

i realized recently that all my money was disappearing to small, multiple purchases.

for example, drew bought himself a nice car charger for his iPhone a while back. he has used it for several months and keeps it safely in his car. i think it cost him 20 or so dollars.
i, on the other hand, have been through: THREE CAR CHARGERS, THREE CAR KITS, AND FIVE PAIRS OF HEADPHONES. while they were much cheaper, they also broke, or i broke them (i ran a few over, believe it or not. with the car.) i added up my debit amounts and realized i have paid a whopping 100.00 on iPhone equipment in just under five months.
just one more way small purchases can add up fast! i realized i had to cut back quick. and i did!

heres a look at how i have cut back:

-coffee. starbucks sure LOOKS yummy, and that 3.40 doesnt sound like much, but one month i spent seventy dollars on coffee! now i have a twelve ounce mocha on bargain days, or an 8 oz starbucks twice a week. the other days i drink brewed coffee with 0.99 cent chocolate creamer.
tea is 1.80 if i must have starbucks, and its equally warm and sweet. average savings a month: 50.00

-eating out. i eat out once a week now. and nothing fancy. i pack a lunch 4/5 days of the week, only eating out for days with a full length lab at school. if i ate out every day, i would cost me an average of 30.00 a week! thats 120.00 a month, and my TOTAL FOOD BILL for this month (i share with my roomates) was just 42.00 this month! i saved 78.00. we also like to go to yogurt hut, a pay by the ounce ice cream shop. we went so many times, that i realized i dropped twelve dollars in a few weeks! no more yogurt hut.

-gas. i plan trips with my roomates and limit trips to medford to twice weekly. i only have to fill up twice a month! thats 80/month versus 240.00/month i was paying! thats a savings of...160.00.

-groceries. no more running to the store to purchase random items. i realized i was spending about 30 a month on random purchases like magazines, shampoo, and snacks. now we all purchase bulk items at costco and make portions ourselves. it saves about 25.00 a month.

-shampoo and makeup: value sizes at walmart and buying mac makeup once every three months rather than every two saves me about 30.00 every three months. i also went through all my makeup and tossed outdated and expired makeup as it can cause eye infections. i buy all my shampoo at wal mart and somehow have six containers. dont ask me why i thought i needed six different kinds. now i should have enough for three months.

-investing in better items and taking care of them. i bought one nice charger, and drew bought me a new car kit. i roll them up and tuck them in my car cup-holder every time i use them, and so far they are clean and unbroken! i carry all my electronics (camera, macbook, iPhone, large camera) in cases with shields and protectors.

-online shopping: i went through my closet and found about three boxes of brand name clothes that i do not wear, and will not wear! i took them all to a consignment store where i will get cash every month for what sells. i sell things on craigslist if they are nicer, and it gives me extra spending money if i must buy a piece of clothing. i divided my closet by season and color and realized i had three black cardigans. i only need one. i also have about 67 dresses, all of which i assured drew i would "save if there was a fire", but i know deep down i only need about 10 of them. so no more online shopping for me! i limit myself to just scrubs and clinical clothes, since i cant wear fun clothes 4/7 days of the week anyways.

-coupons: yes, i clip coupons. it saves me money on mascara, snacks, and necessities. i also use swagbucks.com, a tip from my friend jessica turner. it gives you points for searching (like google) and you can trade them in for giftcards. its awesome!

-greeting cards: this hidden money-eater was costing me more than i thought. i LOVE cards and send drew many, many cards. little did i realize i was spending about 15 dollars a month in cards for birthdays and other occasions. now i buy them at the dollar store, where they are 2 for a dollar and i can stock up. it saves about 10.00 a month.

see how much i saved?

2 comments:

Tracy said...

Good for you, Grace. I'm proud of you for taking these steps.

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