Don't shop when you don't have to, and don't buy things you don't need. I you followed the plan you mentioned here Charissa, then good for you dear.
Now that January has passed and Christmas has been paid for, I’m sticking to my guns and tightening my belt. There are a lot of areas of my life where I can save. For February, I am sticking to five: Cable, Cell Phone, Lunch, Coupons, and Impulse Shopping.
Although I like to think that I’m a fairly frugal person, I learn something new every day. Here are my goals for February:
1. Continue to Use Hulu in Place of Cable. When I moved into my new house, I couldn’t justify spending $50+ a month for something I seldom used. All of the programs that I ordinarily watch can be found on Hulu or on CBS and sense I spend so much time on the internet already, it doesn’t bother me to watch TV from my laptop. I still, from time to time, rent movies from Redbox using free codes.
2. Turn My iPod Into a Phone to Place and Receive Calls. Long before an article titled To reduce wireless bills, some try an ‘iPod phone’came out on CNN, I was trying to find a way to make the iPod application, TextFree with Voice, work for me. I love having the option to send free texts to all of my friends and family members and was really excited when Pinger announced the Voice feature. I have my very own local number and with a headset with microphone and internet connection, I can make and receive calls anytime I want. I also like the Skype application for this reason. I am going to use these in place of Boost Mobile starting this month.
3. Bring My Lunch to Work Every Day. Although I follow this rule frequently, I am going to adamantly insist on packing my lunch daily. I work outside the home five days a week which amounts to nearly 240 days a year. At $5 a lunch, this will save me $1,200 or more a year. Besides that, I have more control over portion size and the types of food that I am eating. I can nosh on real treats like Stuffed Grape Leaves and Hummus without the cost of fine dining.
4. Develop a System for Couponing. I hit some really good sales. In fact, just a few days ago, I went to Walgreens and ended up paying $1.50 for over $24 worth of products. Best of all, they handed me a coupon for Register Rewards for $5. That means that I made over $3.50 for taking these items on the shelf! How can you beat that? I only stumble across these deals every few months. I want to develop the type of system that allows me to take advantage of this type of savings every time I shop.
5. Make Use of What I Have Versus Buying Anything New. I had a great Christmas! I got more than I expected. Now, it’s time to use these items to the fullest. Before I make another purchase, I want to make sure that I really need the item in question. That means that I need to read every book in my library before shelling out another dime to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I need to make a thousand pair of earrings before I buy another package of beads.
I’m excited to report back on my progress at the end of this month. If you have any suggestions on how to make the things on my list easier, please share. The only way to learn something is to experience it yourself.
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Filed Under: saving money
About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. She contributes to many different personal finance blogs.
This sounds like a good plan Charissa. I hope everything worked out well for you following these goals. Been going through my wardrobe and found a few clothes to wear. Yep, there’s no need for me to buy a new one yet.
I enjoyed the article--thank you. It's refreshing to find ideas on how to keep your money for the goals and things that you really care about when advertisers are getting so good at getting you to part with your money.
The psychology of money and why people save and spend is really interesting. I've found that success with money is less about accounting and more about psychology. My company has partnered with Ivy League professors from Harvard, Dartmouth, and Yale that have research that shows when you're reminded to save, you save 6% more and when you're reminded about a goal you're saving towards, you save 16% more.
We're gathering beta testers to test our product that does exactly this. We'd love to have you come check us out.
I would be interested in knowing HOW MUCH I'm supposed to be saving. I try not to save out of every paycheck but have no idea whether I'm saving too much or too little? Any ideas or direction? Are there good resources out there that guide people about this?
I was wondering if you could write a post about how you saved that much at Walgreens. I can't seem to find those kinds of coupon savings.
I too used to have an Amazon book addiction that left me with credit card bills, unread books, and books that I read but didn't love. I finally cut the cord by getting a library card. Now instead of buying any books, I check them out from the library or borrow them from a friend. Then if you REALLY like it and want to own, I work it into my budget or put it on my public Amazon wishlist and hope someone buys it for me for Christmas/Bday, etc.
Oh--item #5 of your list really challenges me!! It's a great idea. I, too, have mountains of unread books and unused craft supplies. Time to lock myself in my home office or my craft room and to start eating away at the piles!
Definitely all good points but I think there is a flaw in the math for 3#. Based on your daily estimate, yes you'll save $1,200 ($5 X 240) but that's if you don't eat lunch - at all. I think you need to determine the cost of bringing your lunch, calculate the difference between buying and bringing your own lunch, and multiply that difference by 240 to get your savings. As for #1, we recently cut the cord and surviving very well so far thank you! For those of you technically inclined, we have a Mac Mini for an HTPC which we use for Hulu, Netflix, etc. I highly recommend a HTPC in any form (Mac or PC; OS X, Windows, or Linux).