...because we all have our motley moments!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More on spending...

We don't plan it, but Pam and I seem to always be thinking about the same thing! Yesterday she wrote a great post about her plan for spending money wisely, and today I want to talk about really saving money for a lofty goal...

...to pay for our house this year, or at least make a huge dent in the mortgage. We have no other debts, so the only way to make room in our budget for bigger and better things is to banish the mortgage payment. Yes, we did just buy the house in July, but I'm already tired of this monthly drain on our resources.

We don't live that extravagantly now, so making cuts is going to be severe. I am designating one night a week as "Beans and Rice Night." It's much healthier than other options, and it's much less expensive, too. We will also have a soup night. Other than that, I'm going to really menu plan this year, and stick to the plan. No more emergency runs to McDonald's when I forget to defrost the chicken, either.

Trips to the mall or Target? Fewer and farther between, and I'm not going without a list. I've already managed to escape my post-Christmas spending frenzy in the clearance aisles, so this may not be as hard as I thought! I'm not buying anything without asking the question, "Is this [piece of junk I won't use a week from now] really a fair exchange for financial freedom?"

Now the big one: I'm leaving my big purse at home. I carry it so that I can fit my cash envelopes, coupon files, and gift card files with me in case of a shopportunity. Guess what? I tend to shop when those things are with me. No more. I don't leave the house without a plan, and the plan will include the cash I'm going to spend as well as anything else I need for that trip. No more side trips to the Dollar Tree. No more meandering through the garden center at Walmart "just to see what they have." No more spending money on silly or unnecessary things.

So, we're cutting to the quick here, and hopefully we will see a happy return. It is a little extreme, but as Dave Ramsey says, "live like no one else so that later you can live (and give) like no one else." Do you have any extreme frugal tips? Let's hear them!


Lindsay said...

We are living super tight right now but mainly because we know we will have expenses once we move into our new house. And our morgage on the new house is more than our old house, but we've planned well for it. So we won't be making any big dents on anything, but we are buying a new house and decorating it with cash only.

I frequently don't take my money with me because I too am like you.

And traveling is always a top priority for us which is cutting into some of savings. Both me and my hubby have grandparents in their 90's in simi-poor health so we are making extra trips this year to see them. That's not something I can put off. I don't want to regret not seeing them. Although we do pay cash for each trip.

fawnda said...

We are trying to save for our second adoption, so we are saving too- here are some thing we are doing:

No pop
Rice dinner night (seriously - we have done this for a few months now!)
Cereal dinner night
Sandwich dinner night
Shop at Aldi (I spend 1/2 on what I would at a different grocery store)
No cable
I try to make gifts for friend and family

Basically what you are doing... living with less. I think - "do I want "this" or a sibling for my son?"

Here is to saving in 2010! : )

Pam said...

Awesome post Rachel and an awesome goal. Great minds think alike, huh? I hope you reach it! Fawnda - yeah!!!! My goal this year, and my constant prayer is to sell the house we still own. That will put us way ahead on the Dave Ramsey debt snowball. Great tips Rachel!

Rachel said...

Lindsay, traveling is a big priority for us too, and that's another reason I want to be completely debt free. We paid cash for all of our Christmas travel, and that was pretty exciting!

Fawnda, I am in awe of your frugality! Reading your list made me rethink a few things about eating. I spoke with my husband about it tonight, and we both agreed that we have this crazy idea that dinner must be a formal meal, but really it just has to be FOOD! We may cut even harder now--thanks! :)

Pam, I pray that you'll sell your house, too--what a weight to carry! Good luck with everything, and thanks for your article yesterday! It's more fun to do things like this in a group, isn't it? :)

Otherwise, I'm so proud of our dinner tonight--I took one can of Campbell's Select soup (BOGO at Publix) and turned it into dinner for three by adding extra chicken broth (made from a base so it costs next to nothing) and a can of cannellini beans. Add some crackers from the pantry and a couple smears of peanut butter for good measure, and it was a fine meal! Being frugal is kind of fun--it's an opportunity to be pretty creative!

Donna said...

The last few frugal years (since we bought our house) have really helped me see stuff for what it is: just stuff.

So often, I feel my spending is related to how I feel. Well, my moods change quickly, but the money certainly doesn't need to ride that roller coaster!

I have truly made an effort to simply STAY AWAY from the mall (and Walmart, Costco, Target, etc). There is very little I need instantly that forces me into the mall, and window shopping only reminds me of the things I'd like to have but won't/can't spend the money on. I end up feeling worse than before I went shopping.

I was raised to be a shopper, but with the internet at home and great deals online, I rarely ever need to step into a department store. I just search for the specific item I need, find a free shipping code, and "poof!" it appears on my doorstep (or in my bushes) 3-7 days later!

Now the grocery store...that's an entirely different beast. I have not conquered the "grocery game," but I am striving to spend less on food. I feel like we're eating half of our budget every week!

I just went to Angel Food Ministries (AFM) online (the Methodist church is a host site here and I always find their flyers in E's backpack). I ordered two signature boxes of food (each box feeds a family of four for approx. one week) and one produce box. I am so curious to see how far my $41/week will stretch! The AFM is for anyone and there are no applications or anything. Pickup is in two weeks. I'm thinking if I use a few favorite meals here and there (pizza night, grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, one-pot veggie rice and beans, etc) I can really make it stretch.

I'll let you know how it goes!

I love hearing how everyone stretches their dollars. When you plan to stay at home indefinitely, every dollar counts!

Pam said...

We have done Angel Food before and it is AWESOME! The chicken is really good, and I love the veggies. Great idea! I am pretty sure the chicken is Swanson. MMMMmm.

Donna said...

All of their food comes from major brand name companies. Sanderson Farms was one on the list. Everything is first quality. I am so hopeful that this will help me curb my grocery spending!

Bryssy said...

SHARE at the Care Center is an arm of Angel Food Ministries and a MUCH better deal, in my opinion. Our food budget for the whole month is 150. I no longer purchase meat at a retail store...and my freezer is fully stocked. SHARE also gets Fla Natural Juice (we get tons) and Publix bakery bread, all FREE. I normally spend between 40 and 60 dollars. This month I got bags of frozen veggies for 60 cents each! That is a deal!!

In fact, my whole family LOVES SHARE pick-up day! The kids beg to come with me so they can pick out a treat (a loaf of french bread, normally).

We roll with a super-tight budget. We realize we may not pay off our house in a year (I am leaving my full-time teaching job to homeschool at the end of the year and we would like to have a few more children) but we do pay extra toward principal and our 30 year mortgage is now set to be paid off in 18 years.

I am also not opposed to working outside the home. I will continue to teach online AND may possibly get a weekend job. Right now we are living on only my husband's salary and mine goes directly to savings.

Basically, we will do whatever we have to do to homeschool our children and live without debt. And, it really doesn't bother me.

Donna said...

Bryssy, can you order online with SHARE? I like that feature with AFM since I can never seem to remember to go to the CC and place my order before the cutoff.