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New savings ideas for 2016

December 30th, 2015 at 09:40 am

I am always on the lookout for new ways to save a buck, and as I look at our goals for 2016 I feel a little overwhelmed!

So here a few new things I am going to try for 2016.

1)Overtime - Treat OT like a 2nd job and make sure I get in 10hrs a week. Since I work from home this really shouldn't be that hard to do if I just make myself stick to a schedule. That would be about an extra $400-$500+ a month! I really do like my job and in 2015 I worked 343hrs OT, so definitely doable for me to get the hrs in! I made myself a daily schedule for "normal" days when we don't have any extra activities going on, and I included OT, working out, time to clean, and time to relax. I think this will help me a lot!

2)Basketball Savings - I mentioned MO is a bball coach. Games cost $6 each, and I recently got a pass so that I don't have to pay admission. I will be putting that $6 a game (About $12-$18 a week) into savings since I would normally be spending that money anyways.

3)Gift Card Savings - I have a huge stash of gift cards ($1500+). I don't like to "fritter away" my gift cards, I like to use them for something important. If someone gives me a gift of a $20 GC to Target, I don't want to use it for garbage bags and milk. It was a gift, so I want to use it for something I normally wouldn't just go buy myself, maybe a new book or a cute cardigan or something....since I have this mentality I have stockpiled quite a bit. (Also because I live an hr away from the closest shopping centers). I did check and none of them have expiration dates. I want to get some of these used up, and as I use them, I would like to match the amount I use on the GC, with a deposit to savings. I should be able to do this with most of them, some of the GCs are for higher amounts, so those I may not be able to match all of the time, but I know I have several $5-$20 GCs for shopping and restaurants that I could match.

4)52 Week Challenge - If you aren't familiar with the 52 Week Challenge, that is where you put in the matching dollar amount to the corresponding week of the year. Week 1 you put in $1, Week 36 you put in $36 etc. There are a lot of different ways to alter this for whatever works for you. It is a fun and somewhat easy way to save a chunk of change throughout the year. MO and I did this last year (2015), and we are a few weeks behind, but will be able to catch up at the beginning of 2016 since the deposits are so low at the beginning of the year. We should be caught up soon and will start the 2016 Challenge right away since it worked so good for us last year!

5)Food Wasting - I HATE when I have to throw food out because it has gone bad. Hate it, hate it, hate it! For 2016, I am going to write it down every time I throw something in the trash that got wasted because of poor meal planning/time+fridge management. I am sure it will be eye opening and hopefully make me be more aware of how many dollars we are throwing in the trash. Another item I want to work on for 2016 is cooking more (I came leaps and bounds on this in 2015!) so that should help me improve on that as well.

6)Gardening - Somewhere around 10 years ago I had a wonderful garden and I loved it and had so many yummy fresh veggies. I was living in a duplex at the time, and after I moved out of that place I never got around to having a garden again. Now that we are in the new house, we have a huge backyard, plenty of room for a big garden. I know there will be initial startup costs, but I think the return you get from a garden, not just the veggies, but also the pride in it, enjoying the "fruits" of your labor, and calming effect it has for me is definitely well worth it.

Anyone have any new money "tricks or tips" they plan on trying in 2016 and want to share?

6 Responses to “New savings ideas for 2016”

  1. snafu Says:

    Since you asked...Love the plan to repeat 52 week challenge. A favorite February task is ordering a free gardening supply book from anyone of the plant/seed producers like http://www.burpee.com/ and creating a rough planting plan based on what you like to eat/trade/share, your 'grow zone,' sun requirements, direction and water access. Suggest starting small with a long range goal of annual expansion. We do variations of cherry/grape tomatoes and lettuces in pots on the patio.

    If your home is a new build, the earth will need evaluation, possibly a free service at a university. Some items like legumes enhance the soil year one, for something else subsequent years. Some veggies like green beans merely need seeds in tilled ground and trellis poles, peas benefit from webbing for example. Most vegetables [here] need starting pots as our grow season is brief. Lots of details to work out on paper. Suggest watching for garden tools and equipment on CraigsList or any online sellers who are downsizing, moving, or estate sales. Run 'Wanted' ads.

  2. ThriftoRama Says:

    Yay gardens! We have a large garden and we hardly ever have to buy veggies between May and September. It's fabulous. Totally worth the effort.

  3. snafu Says:

    Sorry to go on and on...
    I'm an advocate of menu planning. I suggest starting by listing six of your favorite meals and six offered by DH. What are your busiest days? Which are most leisurely? With a calendar at hand, note days you need to eat and run, have a deadline to meet or see benefit of take-away to b/ball games for example. My mom's busiest day was always Monday so it was always 'pasta' day [takes 8-12 minutes to cook] but with 72 different types/shapes of pasta in most grocery stores, we didn't notice the repetition.

    Since food is an easier category to manipulate, I sit down with newly delivered flyers each Thursday to note loss leaders and online ultra specials. I believe all major grocery chains will adjust prices if you bring a competitor's ad; eliminating the need to run around unless you want to. All the research says you will spend much more than planned with repeated trips to the store, the longer time there and worse yet, without a list. For my financial well being, I don't allow myself to go shopping without a list that reflects the items needed for two weeks of menus plus items about to be used up. When I've used up fresh fruit and vegetables, it's easy with less waste to revert to frozen and in some instances canned.

    Meat on sale is my stock-up weakness, I'll easily buy a 3 month's supply 'if the price is right.' Sunday is leisure so it's my fav day to bake, roast and prep for most of the week. Over the years I've devee ingredients.loped a long list of 'make-overs.' Really simple foods combined to seem like something else. For example, Sunday's roasted chicken turns into an excellent casserole or stir fry or Hunter's Stew or Jambalaya or Cacciatore with almost no effort. Nearly all French cooking trades time as it's based on less expensive ingredients.

    BTW, never throw out menu plans, they're so easily repeated two months later or whenever poultry, beef, pork, salmon/fish, cheese is the best loss leader.

  4. VS_ozgirl Says:

    With food waste, it is very helpful to research proper ways to store and keep foods, it will extend the life of the food and reduce wastage. Every time you throw out a bag of food, you are throwing your money away. For example, grapes: I put them in a Tupperware container in the crisper section of the fridge, but take each grape off the stem, so in the container there are only loose grapes. The grapes stay as fresh as the day we bought them for a week.

  5. CB in the City Says:

    I am just the opposite with gift cards, I welcome them to offset the cost of normal spending. I recommend using them for garbage bags, whatever, and then put the cash equivalent into savings! Now that's a real gift!

  6. Banker Gurl Says:

    Thanks for the tips and advice everyone!

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