OT: Finance stuff

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    OT: Finance stuff

    This kind of stems from the Christmas post and kinda doesn't. People were talking about slimming down the gift giving to save money; I just took a pay cut to get out of a job that was killing my soul and into grad school. We'll be on a super tight budget now, and I'm wondering--what to do you do to batten down the hatches and save money?

    I'm getting the Starbucks monkey off my back, cutting down to the lowest Netflix plan, DH is drinking seltzer instead of beer, and we're considering getting rid of TV or going to basic cable (which would save $120 a month...). We live pretty modestly and always bag lunch instead of buy it, and there'll be no more dinners out. 
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    I have a credit card that has cash rewards.  I use the card for everything - groceries, utilities, etc.  I then use the cash reward to pay the bill.  It ends up saving you $$ on things that you are going to pay for anyway.

    Also, take a look at your cell phone bill and usage each month.  If you don't come close to your monthly usage allowance, you may be able to step down to a lower, cheaper plan.

    Get rid of your home phone - we never use it, as we only use are cell phones.  I have never had an occasion where I missed it.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from dkb6248. Show dkb6248's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    In Response to OT: Finance stuff:
    [QUOTE]I just took a pay cut to get out of a job that was killing my soul  
    Posted by WhirledPeasPlease[/QUOTE]
    HA!

    You're on the right track.  We are trying to save for a condo so I just went through my bank statements to see where we were spending the most money.  We already don't eat out much, but DH has to cut back on his pizza delivery.  I would LOVE to cut down on our cable to the plan I had before he moved in, but he wants his sports packages and HD channels. 

    One way we are saving money is doing our grocery shopping at Market Basket instead of Shaws.  It is a pain going to MB because it is soooooo crowded, but we really do save a significant amount of money.  Plus keeping the fridge stocked keeps us from getting take out or going out to eat.  I have also started using coupons...I feel like my mom.  I also drink the free coffee at work instead of a DD trip.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from wendy98. Show wendy98's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Store brands if you can but not for everything.  I go store brand for frozen veggies when I can, and I love Market Basket Bread it is amazingly good.  I will not give up name brand TP, I have certain standards.

    I actually got a library card, it saves me from buying trashy novels, since I don't read them more than once.  And at $8 a pop that can add up.  You can also get movies from the library and video games as well and passes to museums.

    For the cable if you live in an apartment building if you call to have your cable switched to basic and return the box yourself rather than a technition odds are they won't really turn off all your channels.  I had that happen to me, so I paid for basic but they never really turned off the channels, and I acutally had a tech come to the place to remove the box.  It is a crapshoot though.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    WPP:  A couple of years ago, we were actually in foreclosure.  This is what we did to get us out of the hole.
    1.  You and DH:  both write down every penny that you spend every day.  I just used a spreadsheet.  That way you know where your money is going.

    2.  Leave all plastic at home.  Have a $50 tucked in your wallet in case of a real emergency, i.e. cab fare, but otherwise, just have the money you really need for the day. 

    3.  Don't carry your ATM card with you.  Figure out what you need to live on for the week, get the cash, and that's all you get.  Try to have something left at the end of the week.  That goes in the "jar".

    4.  All coin goes in "the jar" every night. 

    5.  Can you live without cable, internet, landline at home? 

    We downgraded to Expanded Basic cable. I have a pay-as-you-go cellphone with no extra features.  

    If your town has more than one cable option, i.e. Comcast vs. Verizon Fios vs. RCN, call the service you do have, tell them you're considering changing to the other, and what can they do for you?  They might comp your sports package or give you a few months free. 

    6.  I called Verizon for my landline and downgraded to the very cheapest service. 
    7.  Grocery shopping:  first, make it your goal to use up everything you possibly can in your cabinets and freezer.  I probably had a couple of weeks worth of meals.  I agree that Market Basket is worth the drive from anywhere.  Buy only what you absolutely need for the week.  I stopped buying a lot of produce because it went bad before I actually used it for the intended meal, so now I stop at the farm stand on the way home if I need something for that night.  It's just cheaper for me that way.   Question every single item you put in your cart.  Can you buy a cheaper brand, a less-prepared method (i.e. lettuce instead of salad in the bag)?  Take your lunch every day, no exceptions.

    8.  Entertainment:  Cancel Netflix.  You'll be shocked at the DVDs available at your library for free.  Ditto with iTunes, magazines, and paperbacks.  Yes, it takes time, but if you get in the habit of going, you can find what you need in a few minutes.  Our library has a 24-hr. drop box, thank goodness!

    9.  Get together with friends in each other's homes:  potluck dinners or after mealtimes.  Play board games, cards, videogames.  Have other friends teach you cribbage, whist, or charades.  Or just drink cheap liquor!  LOL. 

    10.  Finally, no shopping.  No catalogs.  I don't even read the flyers in the Sunday papers.  I love to shop so this is a hard one for me, but I just turn my "consumer" button off.  If I'm really having a moment, I go to the Christmas Tree Shop or Dollar Store and allow myself $5 to throw away.  But, after working so hard to cut back, this doesn't happen very often.

    There are tons of resources on the internet - some good and some ridiculous (like those craxy coupon gals who buy $400 of groceries for $7.50!) 

    In general, it sounds like you've already adjusted  your mindset from shopper to saver.  That's the hardest part!  Hope some of this was helpful!  Good luck.

    P.S.  "The jar" gets cashed in every month and put in savings.  It's our stash to use for gifts and donations.  I also put anything I get from rebates and coupons in there. 
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Congrats on all this WPP!  Jobs that sap souls aren't worth coffee out.

    I brew my own coffee at home to save the $2/day at DD, too.  $60/month is a lot of money!  More if you get a large and a donut or something while you're there.

    I make bread in the breadmaker.  Not that bread is that expensive, but it's nice to have it fresh baked with no preservatives, and it is cheaper, too.

    We cook at home and always have extra for lunches and second dinners.

    We have a vegetable garden and get all our produce out of it at least during the time it produces.  This year the rain was so bad that we didn't get enough to freeze, but last year we ate tomato soup I made from our frozen tomatoes through October.  Even if you can't have a whole garden, you can grow a tomato plant in a pot (I have with great results before), and herbs.  Those things alone are expensive in the grocery store.

    Like princess-cal, we also dumped the land line.  And, I found I wasn't using our monthly allowance of minutes so I stepped down to a cheaper cell plan with no problem.

    I called the cable company and simply asked for help.  They gave us a two year discount on cable and internet.  It's really sweet.  And, we dumped the "real" movie channels.  We never watched them, anyway.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from heatherv1211. Show heatherv1211's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    This is a great thread - thanks for posting it, WPP!  And good for you for saving your soul. :)  Also, Cosmo, congrats for pulling yourselves out of what must have been an awful situation. 


    DH and I are not big spenders, but we're not great about documenting where our money goes.  All of the above tips are very helpful (some of which we're already doing... most of which we're not). 


    I'm wondering - have any of you ever visited a financial planner?  I have friends who have done this, and I've actually done it myself once, but they were all affiliated with some sort of credit card company.  Has anyone had luck with an independent advisor - like a money therapist?

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from FriarGirl03. Show FriarGirl03's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    These are all great suggestions. The only thing I wanted to add is checking for reduced rates from your current providers. If you own your home, can you look into refinancing? Does your or your husband's employer (or your new school) offer discounted home or auto insurance? It might not translate to huge savings, but any savings is good savings, right?
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    DH and I are saving a bundle on groceries by sticking to one rule: No snacks.
    We buy meat and veggies for the week, instant oatmeal for breakfast, and that's it.
    I do canned soup for lunch, he gets the leftovers from dinner.
    We also check the weekly flyer from the grocery store for what meat is one sale, and that's what we get. We got 6 chicken breasts for $5, two weeks ago we got an 8lb pork loin for $10. We divide it up into freezer bags.
    We use cloth towels instead of paper towels, that saves a lot of money per year. After we bought new towels at TJMaxx for $6 a piece I took some of our old ones and cut them into smaller squares. We throw the used ones in with the wash at the end of the week.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from clc51510. Show clc51510's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    This is a great post!  We could definitely use some help saving money before the wedding.  One way I cut down on my monthly expenses was through refinancing my car loan.  I had my loan through the dealership and was able to save $50/month by switching to AAA.  The $50 each month is now being automatically deposited into our wedding savings account.

    Another tip is to open bank accounts with high interest rates (high is a relative term in this economy, but its better than nothing) like ING.  We have several accounts with ING, including a checking account that actually earns interest. And set up automatic deposits into your savings account.  I started small by taking out $20 each paycheck and I noticed that I didn't miss the money.  I have been slowly increasing that amount and so far its really helping me save!

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Also, don't forget to check your checking account statement for errors.  Make sure you have a no-fee checking account.  Be sure you submit all claims for your health insurance. 

    I know that personally I tend to let little billing errors go because who wants to spend hours on the phone trying to straighten things out.  Now I make it a part time job.  I call customer service, and if I don't get the right answer in about 90 seconds, I ramp it up to a supervisor, and sometimes her supervisor.  Usually gets things straightened out on the first call. 

    I used to buy cans of soda since we take our lunch, but now I buy the 2-liter bottles on sale for 88 cents for home and we only use the cans for lunch.  (I know water is cheaper but I need my Diet Dew!)   We never buy bottled water. 
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Thanks for the tips ladies!  I'm trying to think of something to add, but coming up short.  One thing I do is buy in bulk.  Not to an extreme since there are only two of us, but if oatmeal is on sale I will buy 2 or 3 boxes instead of the 1 I was planning to buy.

    CLC - How depressing are the interest rates??  When we opened our ING savings, the rate was FOUR times higher.

    For some reason I am reluctant to go to Market Basket.  It's not snobbery or anything, it's just a pain because I don't know my way around the store like I do at my usual store!  I have been trying to force myself to go the past couple months and will try harder now that so many of you have suggested it :o)

    Don't be fooled into thinking the prices are always lower though.  In our town, the Market Basket is literally next door to Stop & Shop, so I will check the S&S flier for deals first and then I will head over there after MB if I know something is on sale.  For example, S&S often sells Eddy's ice cream for $1.99 while Market Basket usually sells it for the typical $3.99.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Fram makes a good point- it's worth checking the flyers from all your nearby grocery stores to see who has the best deals. DH and I actually drive a little out of our way to go to the Roche Brothers in West Roxbury because the prices beat the Shaws in Brighton and the selection is so much better.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    WE went to an independent financial planner right before we got married.  Cost $750 and he works with us for a year.  Our goal in meeting him was to figure out how to best comingle our finances (we'd been living together, had one joint account for bills, but otherwise were totally separate), and how to keep saving to add to our our house fund.

    We had a great experience...and it was more about the big things (like getting an emergency account built up, learning to put our "extra" money at the end of the month into savings, that kind of thing).  We also have now combined car insurance, health insurance, cell phones, all of the things that we used to pay for on our own are now done together and has saved money. 
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    I had a bad experience with Ameriprise Financial, but I can't say that I think all financial planners are bad, per se.  Just interview them and don't commit right away.  Treat them like any other vendor.

    Oh, our favorite cheap meal is chicken liver.  I saute it in butter and safflower oil after tossing it in seasoned flour or Italian flavored panko breadcrumbs with finely chopped onions.  For about 50 cents each, we have all the meat we can eat and plenty of Vitamin A.  Don't go too crazy, though; Vitamin A overdose causes blindness!
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    More ideas for saving money:

    -increase amt of time between hair cuts or any salon appts you keep

    -buy fewer pre-packaged, pre-prepared items.  E.g. bulk rice or plain rice is cheaper than those packaged, flavored boxes of pilaf.  You can add the seasoning at home. 

    -buy produce based on what is in season & on sale
    e.g. I've been buying squash recently.  A nice large-ish sugar pumpkin runs me $2 and provides a TON of pumpkin.   I put 1/2 of a pumpkin in a stew last night, and it was enough food for us for dinner & lunch.  The other 1/2 went into a lasagna (which also lasted 2 nights).  An extra cup was saved out for making pumpkin custard for dessert. 

    -reduce frequency of eating out, and when you go, stick to just the entree.  Drinks & appetizers & desserts can easily double or triple your bill.  There are usually plenty of calories in the entree.

    -avoid banking fees.  Pay off & cancel credit cards if you ever carry a balance--credit cards save you money only if you pay off in full every month.  Don't use a credit  card that charges fees.  Make sure there are no fees on your savings and checkings account.  Avoid ATM fees by choosing a bank with convenient locations and/or getting cash over at a drugstore.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Great suggestions, everyone! My dad's a CPA, which is great because he does our taxes every year.

    I'm in the annoying process of switching banks (I loathe Citizens, they are a trainwreck). I don't have a credit card--just a debit card--and I see no reason to get a credit card. If I can't pay for it now, I'm not buying it.

    Cosmo, congrats on bouncing back from foreclosure--that's no small feat.

    I'll definitely start a spreadsheet on what we pay every day and determine what's necessary and what isn't. I've always been kind of frugal (and sometimes cheap, not gonna lie), but now it's more necessary.

    We installed new energy-efficient windows in our house this summer, so I'm hoping we'll save on our heating bill. I think we'll keep the heat lower this winter and wear hoodies and blankets in the house.

    And I would *never* trade this penny pinching for that awful job back!
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from lizinboston. Show lizinboston's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Kar, what exactly does chicken liver taste like??

    Ok, you guys may laugh at me...cause some of my friends do, but I save on my makeup (not a lot, but everything helps) by buying my Clinique products duty-free. My father travels internationally about once every two months and he kindly buys me my pressed-powder, blush, and eyeliner for me at the duty-free shops when he goes on business trips. He just hands the lady a list of what I need; I personally think it is so cute. And of course I reimburse him! I do actually save by not buying them at the expensive department stores, and they last me until his next trip!

    What a great dad!
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    In Response to Re: OT: Finance stuff:
    [QUOTE]Kar, what exactly does chicken liver taste like?? Ok, you guys may laugh at me...cause some of my friends do, but I save on my makeup (not a lot, but everything helps) by buying my Clinique products duty-free. My father travels internationally about once every two months and he kindly buys me my pressed-powder, blush, and eyeliner for me at the duty-free shops when he goes on business trips. He just hands the lady a list of what I need; I personally think it is so cute. And of course I reimburse him! I do actually save by not buying them at the expensive department stores, and they last me until his next trip! What a great dad!
    Posted by lizinboston[/QUOTE]

    Every little bit of savings adds up.  Love your makeup story! 

    Chicken liver is very unique in texture and flavor.  It doesn't really taste like anything but itself and is an aquired taste.  However, I'll do my best.  First, the texture is soft but firm.  You can cut it with a fork without much resistance, but it's not mushy.  The flavor is a little smokey, kind of strong.  It needs salt which is why it's often served with bacon.  This isn't very helpful, I know, but it's almost like describing "blue" to a blind person...liver is it's own thing - nothing really to compare it to.  I don't like ordering liver in a restaurant because they usually serve beef liver which doesn't have as delicate a flavor and is often full of gristle.  Yuck.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from ajuly09. Show ajuly09's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    In Response to Re: OT: Finance stuff:
    [QUOTE]Fram makes a good point- it's worth checking the flyers from all your nearby grocery stores to see who has the best deals. DH and I actually drive a little out of our way to go to the Roche Brothers in West Roxbury because the prices beat the Shaws in Brighton and the selection is so much better.
    Posted by pinkkittie27[/QUOTE]

    Pink I shop at the Shaws in Brighton...maybe we have crossed paths! 

     DH and I are saving for a house and saving that much money is no small feat.  All your suggestions have been a great help!  I find that shoping around for what is on sale and what I need works the best for groceries. Target in Watertown recently opened up its food section, and i have saved a TON on groceries by buying items like cheese, milk, bread etc, there.  Trader Joes has really cheap and healthy cereals and cheese.  
    I have stopped buying diet soda, and am trying to stop drinking it at all, figure the 1.50 for a 20 oz is saving some money there.  I really only drink water and coffee I make at home.    
     Also when I find a good deal on something that I know would make a great gift for  someone I buy it in advance, even if their birthday is not for a few months.  I am a total bargin shopper.  For instance I found a $25 digital indoor/outdoor themometer at Target for 4.24 for my mom months before her bday! 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from clc51510. Show clc51510's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Fram - it's painful to see my interest rate drop but I keep telling myself that either way it is FREE money!  So I can't complain too much. 

    I have a Citizen's debit and they offer a program called "Green Sense" which gives you $0.10 each time you use your debit card up to a certain amount each month.  I use my debit card pretty often so its been an extra $5-6 a month.  Which isn't a lot but I'll take it!

    Also WPP, I know you said your dad is a CPA and does your taxes so I'm sure he has this covered but there are tax breaks for making energy efficient improvements to your home.  Make sure he looks into that!

    Also, I gave Quicken a try a few months ago after hearing people rave about it on this board.  I didn't get hooked like some people do because I couldn't figure out a way to have it exclude my business expenses which was throwing everything off (it showed that I spent $12,000 in the month of June on travel, clearly that was not of my own money).  Give it a shot though, maybe you'll have better luck than I did!
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from lucy7368. Show lucy7368's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    WPP, I used to make a chart of meals before I would go to the grocery store and buy *only* what I needed to make those meals.  It cut my grocery bill way down.  Only drinking water or coffee you make at home also helps.

    Also, turn off EVERYTHING when you're not using it.  Unplug cell phone (and ipod, etc) chargers from the wall - they leak electricity even if they aren't connected to anything.  I used to turn off the power strip connected to my DVD player when I wasn't using it and unplug the coffee maker... and anything else with a clock on it.  Those clocks use electricity.  I saved about $4/month in my teeny-tiny one bedroom apartment - if you're diligent, it adds up.  I also started reading more and running my laptop off the battery as much as possible - www.nstar.com has a chart that shows you how much electricty you use on everyday stuff you don't think about.

    I, also, would take out cash at the beginning of the week and make it last.  All change went in a jar that I would dump in my savings when it was full.

    Oh, and I quit smoking to save money, but that probably doesn't help you much. Cool
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from lucy7368. Show lucy7368's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    Oh, yeah - when people ask me what I want for Christmas or birthdays, I ask for giftcards to Stop N Shop, Trader Joes, or Target.  That way, I can get stuff I needed, anyway.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    ajuly- I probably have crossed your path! so funny. And I LOVE Trader Joe's, but DH doesn't like going there. I go on my own to buy cheese and their frozen pork peking raviolis, which I love to put in stir-fry and is WAY cheaper than ordering out for Chinese.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: OT: Finance stuff

    One more thing - BJs/Costco save you a lot of money. There are only 2 of us but we buy a lot of things in bulk

    Dog food
    Bottled Water
    Toliet Paper
    Paper towels
    Laundtry Det
    Frozen Items
    Meats
    Canned products
    Bottled Drinks
     

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