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Old 11-21-2012, 01:49 AM
 
2,135 posts, read 4,272,250 times
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I've been a long time lurker, after I saw this sub-forum I knew I had to join. I'm trying to save as much money as possible. My GF and I have some money left after paying bills, gas, and food. Not much though. Maybe a $100-150 a month. Were not very frugal by any means, so $200 isn't too much of a stretch. The GF is still on the fence, but when we have this much extra money ($200 is alot to us plus what we already have) I think she will reconsider.

So here's what I'm thinking.

Cable/Internet-We recently called to stop our cable service....the GF kept getting cold feet so they offered a reduction which we figured they would. I'd rather not get dial-up, our cable internet is the slowest available and with netflix and Hulu we pretty much need it.-----$40 savings

Cell Phones-We have T-mobile now with nice phones. Mine has 4g, hers 3g. Their nice, but I could do without or just something cheaper. Also our plan is outdated so if we upgrade were looking at another $20 bucks or so. Were looking at Straight talk and Virgin Mobile for the GF. They have a unlimited plan and with nice phones for $45. Even if we both get the Virgin Mobile plan for $45 each we will be saving around $30 at least. -----$30 savings

Electricity-We don't have a programmable thermostat and always forget to to turn the heat down when it warms up. It usually takes a few days for us to notice and were just wasting money down the drain. I think if we keep the thermostat at say 60 rather than 70 and start unplugging items I can drop our $125ish bill to 75 or so.-----$50 savings.

Water-We seem to wash our clothes wayyyy too much. I think if we adopt a "wear a piece of clothing twice rule" (besides work clothes or if they legitimitely are dirty) that'll save money using the washer. I also take unreasonably long showers, upwards of 20 minutes or so. I could easily cut that in half or my GF could cut hers also. Our bill isn't high as is, but still it could cut some out of that.-----$20 savings at most

Looks like I'm at $140 savings right now per month.

We could eat out less and our grocery strategy sucks. We always overblow the weekly budget for groceries.

Maybe $200 is a little bit ambigious, but it's a goal at least.

What do you think expert Frugalists. Where else could I save? How about the ideas suggested? Are they possible goals or pretty lofty to say the least.

I just want more money to save (we save none now) and be able to spend a little on things we could actually use. Freezer, pantry cabinet, mattress are just some of the things we could use in the small apartment we live in now.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:55 AM
 
35,095 posts, read 51,222,031 times
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The first thing you need to do is write out all of your debts in a specific list.
Then BUDGET and stick to that budget. Then as you make a purchase write down every purchase, KNOW where every penny goes. That is the ONLY way to know for sure where you are financially.

My husband and I have been following The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey for a while now and it is a good solid program.

Others will tell you it is a bunch of blah blah but you can get his book "The Total Money Makeover" on his site right now for $10.00 and it is usually $25.00. You might give it a try and you may be able to find it in your local library or if you have a kindle you can get it there but I don't know what the cost is.
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,052 posts, read 84,454,776 times
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Well break it down...$200/month also comes out to $50/week.

Make your changes gradual so that it becomes your lifestyle and you don't feel like you're punishing yourselves.
When you make the changes that effect your monthly bills, deduct that from the $200.

So you said $140 is what you can save..that leave $60/month
$60 per month is $15/week.

And you said eating out and your grocery budget could use work.
Suggestion: eat out once every other week.
Grocery budget: Make sure you do not go there hungry. Write a list before you go. Buy store brands instead of name brands. Switch supermarkets if you go to a high priced market.

People also suggest coupons. I tried that but always left the coupons at home or they expired. Couponing is not for me.

Once you start seeing your bank account grow that gives you more incentive as you see your hard work paying off.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:34 AM
 
5,652 posts, read 19,346,279 times
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If you can, you need to start shopping at Aldi or another discount chain. Seriously, that is a large part of our bill for our family and we save hundreds each month by not shopping at a regular grocery store chain. And plan your meals, buy tupperware to put your leftovers in, as you will have a lot more leftovers in your fridge now, since you are cooking at home more. Which saves you money, since you can take these for lunch or freeze them for later.
Couponing not for me either. That extreme couponing: who has room to store 12 bottles of mouthwash - even if you got them for free, we have a tiny house? The coupons I see are generally on items I would never buy. We do not buy brand names items much. Never saw a coupon for apples or oranges really....
Make and bring your lunch, do not buy coffee out. We feel a lot healthier since we don't eat out as much anyway. And now I am glad we have adopted our frugal lifestyle (for past 4 years) as I am once again finding myself laid off
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:39 AM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
4,241 posts, read 7,172,886 times
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Yeah, I think it's do-able, as noted by the other posters.

When I started saving my big savings came from scaling back on eating out and drinking, and driving less (taking the bus or using my bike or walking more). Being carefull on grocery shopping is also helpful

The tip of watching every penny, esp on variable expenses, is good.

What I'd do is tally it up day by day on a spreadsheet (you can categorize things by, say, car & gas, groceries, "going out", etc), then insert a trendline after, say, a month of entries You can see if you are going off or on track as the slope on the trendline changes.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:22 AM
 
15,638 posts, read 26,247,288 times
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Very doable.

Start by writing down every penny you spend. EVERY PENNY. It's just awful I know, but you find out where your money is going.

Then start keeping a list of your bills and your income. Some people like spreadsheets, I'm old school. We didn't have that sort of thing when I first got married -- I kept a wirebound notebook with handwritten catagories.

And one of the items you should list as a bill is savings. That's called pay yourself first.

And start paying yourself first.

My favorite book about living frugally is the "Tightwad Gazette". Amy Daczycyn goes the gamut from washing zip lock bags (which seems to always be a hot button issue) to pricing out whether home made bread is cheaper than bread store bread. It's just eye opening the things you CAN do, versus the things that everyone brings up all the time. Like couponing. It doesn't work for everyone, and it doesn't work the same everywhere, so if you're basing all your savings on couponing, you could be out of luck.

My favorite money book is Jane Bryant Quinn's Making the Most of Your Money. The numbers are not current, but the advice is still very sound and basic.

Both these books should be available at your local library.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:41 AM
 
Location: NJ
31,771 posts, read 40,680,213 times
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cutting back on eating out can provide a big savings as can being much more careful with grocery shopping.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,046 posts, read 28,469,020 times
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Yeah, by shopping at Winco instead of Albertsons, I figure I save at least $100/month.

Other than that, if you have any expensive, unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking, quit! Besides what they do to you physically, they are HUGE money soakers! Fancy coffee drinks are also very expensive.

Make sure you and the GF are on the same page on the thermostat. If my husband decided to keep our house at 60, I think I would kick him out of the house, at the very least. 70 is too cold for me.

But I agree with everyone else. Write down every single penny you and the GF spend, and look for leaks. You will spend less in the first place when you know you have to account for it, and it will help you get a better grasp on where you can improve.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Colorado Plateau
1,201 posts, read 4,044,991 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
Very doable.

My favorite book about living frugally is the "Tightwad Gazette". Amy Daczycyn goes the gamut from washing zip lock bags (which seems to always be a hot button issue) to pricing out whether home made bread is cheaper than bread store bread. It's just eye opening the things you CAN do, versus the things that everyone brings up all the time. Like couponing. It doesn't work for everyone, and it doesn't work the same everywhere, so if you're basing all your savings on couponing, you could be out of luck.
I learned a lot of my frugal habits from The Tightwad Gazette. There are three volumes, or the one book with all three combined into it. You should be able to find it at the library. I did see a copy of this book at a yard sale, of all places.

I basically keep in mind: how can I do what I need to do for the least amount of money spent? It soon becomes a game as you search for better and better deals, and you learn to be creative and think about things differently.

I also frequent the frugalvillage forums. Lots of seasoned frugal friendly folks there ready to lend advice and share their stories.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:43 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,091 posts, read 15,429,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packer43064 View Post

our grocery strategy sucks. We always overblow the weekly budget for groceries.
If you have trouble with will-power ... take cash only to the grocery store. No credit cards. No debit cards. Cash.

When the cash is gone - that's it. No more shopping. It stops the "Oh, I'll just throw this in the basket, no big deal" syndrome.
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