Monday, October 1, 2007

Money Matters...to everyone

In the interest of saving our pennies for a mortgage downpayment (and other large expenses...hospital bills anyone? Seriously, just let me know if you want one and I will make sure one comes your way. We've got plenty to go around.) I hopped on a money chat board and asked if there was some place I'm overlooking to shave expenses.

And the thing is - if there's one, I don't know what it is and neither do they. For all their good intentions, that group of women focuses very much on how inexpensive something is over how well made it is - or how good it is for you. I'm sure if I searched back months they would all be tossing recalled food because they bought cheap instead of smart. There's an entire thread dedicated to the cheapest place to buy pet food. I'm all for saving money and not over-spending, but I'm not giving my cats (my only babies for now) cheap food. I won't eat it - why should they?

Anyway - we're going to be more diligent about how we spend our money and where and when. If you've got tips (Aside from- buy whatever is on sale...regardless of brand) I'm happy to hear them.

And for the record...a lot of the things I do to save the planet also save us money. Using rags instead of paper towels, for example: less paper towels we buy, which means less trees used in the production, less oil in the shipping, blah blah blah......

This is one of those subjects people don't like to talk about at parties. It's TABOO. Much like income and plastic surgery. Well, the way plastic surgery used to be. Now people throw parties and glorify it. It's truly scary.

I'm about to start sending out queries. I feel that I've done all I can on my own (and with the help from my friends) and I'm chomping at the bit to start getting rejections in the mail. Any tips on that one will be nice, also. Here's hoping for a contract...!

A parting tip: squirrels don't have lots of nuts because they make lots of nuts. They have them because they SAVE lots of nuts.... ;-)

4 comments:

Lloyd said...

Hey Emily. I don't know if you have come across this in your searching, but it's something I've begun to do lately, and it's a great way to save some money. It's called the dollar bill savings plan. Set aside a certain amount of money every day (IN CASH, NO CREDIT) and use that for your day to day expenses. Every time you make a transaction, when you are given a dollar bill back in change, it is to be put away, and never touched again for the rest of the day. It essentially ceases to exist. Later in the evening when you get home, you put the ones into a container, preferably something you can't see into, and you forget about it until the end of the month. I think you will be amazed at how quickly it adds up. If you need to buy something later in the day, use any denomination other than the $1. This is also a good way to help curb spending that you maybe shouldn't be spending your money on...For example, if you only have a 10 left, and something costs 5.25, all you will get back are ones, so that would in effect leave you with no money left to spend, since the ones aren't money you can touch. Just something to think about that works very well.

Cheers,
Lloyd

Emily said...

Lloyd has a good idea...as soon as the bank unfucks itself I'm going to employ this method and see what happens :-)

Jamie said...

I think you make a very good point. Buying cheap doesn't necessarily mean saving money. Quality items (which sometimes don't cost much more than cheaper stuff) last longer, so you don't have to rebuy.

I have been trying to pick out clothing and things at the mall and then wait until they go onsale to buy them. I've gotten some awesome deals at Ann Taylor Loft this way, and because they use just a few core colors, mixing and matching pieces is easy.

Best of luck with the medical bills! I know those suck.

Krys said...

While we're not as tight as we used to be, I still try to follow this rule when I'm grocery shopping and it helps a ton with finances. I've found that I can easily blow way too much money and waste food if I'm not careful. This also prevents us from going "hmmm... nothing in the fridge, must go out to eat" which of course, adds to your expenses. My husband gets paid every two weeks, so that's when I go shopping. I start by looking at the calendar, and writing down each night that we're going to be home for dinner, and if we need weekend breakfast/lunch items as well. If we're going to be gone for a night, or have plans, then I don't write it down. I make a menu up and fill in a meal for each date. I try to pick meals that use the same ingredients (especially if it is something that I buy fresh), and use ingredients that we may already have (i.e. rice). Then, I make our grocery list, and put down ONLY the ingredients needed for the menu, and add needed things like garbage bags and toilet paper. I also make sure that I eat before I go to the grocery store. And of course, I bring as many coupons as I can score from the newspaper. Then when I shop, I strictly stick to my list - no extras, period. It stinks not getting some popsicles or little extras from the bakery, but it will save you money. And it will prevent you from throwing food out, because you can stick to your menu, defrosting meat the night before for your meal the next day. There's another method that will save you even more money, especially if you are a whiz in the kitchen, making meals out of whatever you have on hand. When we were really super tight on money, my husband would say, ok, you can spend XXX (usually $75-100) on groceries. Unless there was something big and expensive that we needed like a box of laundry detergent, or bag of dogfood, my rule was taking the number that he gave me and dividing it by four. Most items can be bought for a bit more or less than $4 at the grocery store. So, then, if I could only get 20 items, I made a numbered list of 20 items, starting with needed items (again, garbage bags and toilet paper), and then in the leftover spaces, I'd write "Meat 1, Meat 2, Veg 1, Veg 2, Fruit 1, Fruit 2" meaning I'd get to pick one or two meats, veg, or fruit if we had money for it. Again, I'd eat before I went to the store, and take a wad of coupons with me. I almost never ran over - and I couldn't, really, as some of those times I used this second method, I had no cash whatsoever to contribute.

Hope that helps!