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Sunday, March 10, 2013

A comment made in haste

One of my coworkers made a comment that bothered me quite a bit.
She stated that I wasn't worried about the furlough because I was rich.
This is not true, my husband and I support a family of five (with a mortgage of 1500/month) on 40,000 dollars a year. We are not rich by any means.
But we do not have extensive credit card debt. We do not have creditors calling us. We are not in fear of how we will pay our bills.
Why? Because before we were married we both were managing our own bills successfully  making our budgets monthly, and keeping good credit scores.
We live by four simple rules.
1. Don't spend money on things that are not tangible. Online fake money? Strippers? Imaginary online 'lives'? Those are money pits.
2. Don't spend money on things that can get you into trouble; in turn costing more money.
3. Be mindful of 'social spending.' Society always reminds us of the danger of social drinking. But the cost of going out to the bars is equally as hard on your life. A hundred dollars at the bar is 26 gallons of milk. That's a LOT of milk
4. Plan your week/month/year budgets. We like to break down our budget into as short of a time period as possible. Having a monthly grocery budget seems great, but a weekly budget is easier to stick to and if the budget gets maxed early the wait time for more money is not nearly as long.

Following these rules we still have money for at least one family vacation a year. We still go out to eat and even have new vehicles.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I love my coffee

So it looks like the furloughs are going to happen. On to crunching that budget and (hopefully!) still have enough for a family vacation.
I am already bringing my thermos of coffee to work everyday. I like, no, LOVE my coffee. So far we have switched to store brand coffee (since we are not coffee snobs) and I have switched to powdered, store brand creamer. We are sure to buy dark roast, that way we do not have to put as much coffee in the filter and it goes a little longer. Changing brands saves us about 8 dollars a month. (I have never been the type to spend 5 dollars on a fancy cup of Joe ) If I could save more I would. However, no creamer or no coffee is NOT an option.
Now that is not to say that i never indulge in a Starbucks's Mocha Frappe. We all know how yummy those are.
To celebrate my love of coffee, especially the budget friendly kind I changed my desktop.
I think it fits.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Grocery store excitement

Saving money is one of my favorite things.Actually my favorite work is "FREE" followed closely by "Clearance."
I love to see the savings on the bottom of my grocery receipt. I am an avid coupon clipper. Not like those women you see on TV who pay only 25 cents a trip, but I still like those little pieces of paper.
So to save money on the grocery bill without making it a full time job I exercise three rules of restraint:
1. Only buy snacks when they are on sale AND there is a coupon. I love buying boxes of special K bars 5 for ten dollars, then applying 5 dollar of coupons. On double coupon days that scores me ten boxes for only the 5% tax. Not bad at all. And those 5 boxes will supply a months worth of school snacks for the Kindergardener.
2. Water it down. My kids love cow milk. They love Almond milk. I do not like the hormones in cow milk, so initially I switched them over to almond milk. The price difference shocked me! At 3.75 a half gallon the Almond milk came up to over twice the price of the skim milk. My solution? Buy 1 gallon of whole milk, water it down to make a gallon and a half. Then buy my normal 3 half gallons of Almond milk. In turn I am saving 2.80 a week by watering down the whole milk and have upped the amount of overall milk available for the week.
3. Learn to sew.
I have yet to buy a set of curtians for my home. Repurpose. Curtains can run in the hundreds per room. I can buy the fabric in the dollar bin at the store and sew it at home for a tiny fraction of the price. Curtains, table cloths, towels, etc. are nice easy squares. I also bought an off season tablecloth for 3 dollars and made curtians for my daughters room. I will turn pants into shorts, dresses into skirts, and frayed towels into washcloths or hand towels.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.