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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?

Lots of Freebies at Menards!

July 30th, 2015 at 02:42 pm

Lots and lot of freebies at Menards this last week!

Here is what I got, all free after mail in rebate, and my rebates are already stamped and in the mail!

6 Pocket Flashlights - Marked $2.00 each
*ETA - Sold 1 for $2.00 at 10/1/16 rummage sale

8 Paint Brushes - Marked $4.00 each
*ETA - Sold 1 for $4.00 at 9/23/16 rummage sale
*ETA - Sold 1 for $3.00 on FB on 3/19/17
4 Wire Cleaning Brush Sets - Marked $3.00 each
20 Notebooks - Marked in sets of 10 for $4.00
*ETA - Sold 20 for $8.00 on FB on 8/2/15
4 Locker Shelves - Marked $3.00 each
*ETA - Sold 1 for $3.00 at 10/1/16 rummage sale
12 Book Lights - Marked $3.00 each
*ETA - Sold 1 for $3.00 at 9/23/16 rummage sale
*ETA - Sold 1 for $3.00 at 5/5/17 rummage sale
*ETA - Kept 1 for myself
6 Night Lights - Marked $2.00 each
8 Storage Bins - Not sure on price yet, I will prob sell these as a package deal

6 Puck Lights - Marked $3.00 each
*ETA - Sold 1 for $3.00 at 9/23/16 rummage sale
*ETA - Sold 1 for $3.00 at 10/1/16 rummage sale
*ETA - Sold 1 for $3.00 at 5/5/17 rummage sale
*ETA - Sold 1 for $3.00 at 9/22/18 rummage sale

Some of my favorite savings strategies

December 5th, 2014 at 12:26 pm

I posted some of my favorite ways to save on The Women in Red Savers board today, and I thought I would share them on here as well. These strategies have always worked well for me to save! Smile

I am a HUGE believer in nickel and diming your savings. You do no need a $100 to save money, you don't need $10, you don't even need $1. All you need is 1 red cent to start. Through it in a jar. You started!

Here are my personal favorite ways to save:

Save all of your change, once a month take it to the bank and deposit it into savings. Do not use a Coin Star or anything else that charges you to turn in your change, nearly all banks have a coin machine and will process it for free if you have an account there.

When you get your monthly or quarterly interest in your savings accounts, add a deposit to get that amount to at least the next $5 amount, or even try for the next even $100 amount if it's not too far away. So if after your interest goes in your new balance is $379.18, deposit another $20.82 to get to that $400 mark. It might not seem like much, but I am sure I have saved at least another $1000 by doing this every month.

When you make a savings deposit, do the same thing as with the interest, round it up to the next $5, or even $100 mark (depending on what the amount is). So if I got a rebate for $12.00, I deposit $15 or $20 into saving.List item 4

Put all rebates, bonuses, tax returns, gift money (unless for a specific gift), found money (on the ground, in your car, in the washer, etc.), rummage sale or online selling, recycling money, and any and all other "extra/surprise/not standard" funds into savings. You survived without them before, you don't need them now!

This is an oldie, but a goodie. Set up an automatic savings plan. It doesn't have to be a lot. If you can only start with $5, then start with $5. Then next month try to move it to $10, whatever amount you start with, just try to keep moving it up, no matter how slowly or gradually. Try to set it up for every paycheck, that way you know the money will be in your account on payday, and it will already be transferred and gone before you even have a chance to miss it!

There will (of course) be times when you have to take money out of savings. Sometimes this will be for a planned purchase. Sometimes this will be for an emergency or an unexpected expense. That is ok! That is what your savings is for! Do not get discouraged. If you have to take $100 out of savings today for a car repair, but tomorrow you find $5 in an old Christmas card...you still put that $5 in savings. The old notion of "slow and steady wins the race" is completley true of savings. Just keep making those deposits no matter how big or small and they WILL add up!

A, B, CD for EF

June 26th, 2011 at 02:21 pm

Before we bought our house in 2007 I had been trying to get a CD Ladder started for our EF, but then most of our funds were used for a downpayment on the house.
If you are not familiar with a CD Ladder it works like this:
Say for example you have $12,000 you want to put in CDs. Each month of the year you would purchase a 1 year CD for $1,000. At the the end of the year you will have 12, $1,000, 1 year CDs, but you won't have to wait a year for them to mature, you will have a 1 year CD maturing every month. Then each month, if you had an emergency or needed the money for something you could cash out that CD, or you could renew it for another year, and you would only have to wait a month till the next CD matured. Also using this you can get longer term CDs, which tend to have better interest rates. Because you already have CDs maturing every month for the next 12 months, the next one you could renew for 16 or 18 months, and keep spacing them out further, depending on your cash flow and when you think you will need the funds.
Another way to set up a CD Ladder would be to open all of the CDs at the same time, but for different terms, for example, a ladder could consist of 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60-month CDs. Or for a less aggressive CD ladder you could choose shorter terms such as a 6, 12, 18, 24 and 30-month ladder, which will keep your money more readily available.
I was looking into working on this again (on a smaller scale since I don't have $12K to invest in CDs) since our EF is up to $3,000. But CD rates are still in the dumps.....here is what ING is offering now:

6 Month 0.75%
9 Month 0.75%
12 Month 0.75%
18 Month 0.75%
24 Month 1.00%
30 Month 1.25%
36 Month 1.25%
48 Month 1.25%
60 Month 1.50%

Ewwwww! Especially since my regular savings account is making 1.00%.....so anything less then a 24 month CD I would actually be losing money off of our savings account. Of course there are many banks and online institutions where you can get CDs other then ING. But I have used then before, I like the user friendly website, plus you can invest any amount in a CD, it does not have any minimum amount to open a CD.
But if you want to look at rates, bankrate.com is a great site to use if you are looking to open CDs or a CD Ladder and they will help you find the best term/rate for you. I checked it out for 1 year CDs and even the best rates are only 1.26% right now. So I will just be leaving my EF in my ING savings account for now.

Car Insurance

June 26th, 2011 at 01:37 pm

DH and I have had Geico for a little over 4 years now for our car insurance. We have it automatically charged to our Discover Card each month and pay our bill in full each month. I always knew there was a service fee for paying monthly rather then paying every 6 months. So for a long time now I had been planning on "someday" doing a seperate savings account for the car insurance and being able to save money on the installment fee. I am finally ready to get that started. So I am adding it as an additional goal for 2011 since we are doing so good on our other current goals.
Our current monthly installment for full coverage on 2 cars is $66.60 + $5.00 installment fee for paying monthly = $71.60 per month. So if we pay all at once then we will save $60 a year, which is almost a whole month of premiums!
So we need to save $400 to start this, so my goal is to have that saved by December 9th, when the next 6 month payment would be due.

Savings Tips 5-7

March 4th, 2011 at 07:17 pm

5) Don't use stamps, and if you do, buy forever stamps. I bought 100 forever stamps in May 2008. I still have about 20 left, and right now we only use 1 per month and that is for our mortgage payment. Everything else we pay online for free except for our electric bill. They do not have an online payment option, but they do have a drop box at the grocery store by our house, so rather then mail it in with a stamp we just drop it off there when we are getting groceries. When these stamps are gone I will buy another 100 forever stamps and they should last me another 4 years or more. Also watch for stamp prices to go up and make sure you buy before the increase.

6) Don't spend money on personalized items that you can get for free or cheaper for normal items.
- License Plates - You already have to pay registration fees, don't waste money paying for vanity plates.
- Checks - Many banks offer free checks if you get the plain blue or gray checks. Why pay for ones with the Flinstones or puppies on them?

7) Avoid bank fees. Overdraft fees, ATM fees, LOC (Line of Credit) fees, interest. They are all stupid ways to spend your money. An easy way to avoid a lot of fees is to just keep a checkbook register. Either paper register or on Excel or mint.com. Whatever works best for you to make sure you know what is in your account. A LOC will keep you from becoming overdrawn, but most have either a yearly fee, or a fee every time it is advanced. LOC also usually accrue interest while you are using the funds. I avoid this by keeping my own LOC called my cushion (see my post called "My Cushy Cushion") so if I make an error in my register or we just are a little short when a bill is due I know I have an extra cushion in there to cover it till the next deposit.

Savings Tips 1-4

September 19th, 2010 at 04:25 pm

Here are some savings tips I use. I really like to use tips that help elimate waste of resources. They may be really basic, but they work!

Savings Tips:

1) Don't buy gift bags. I always buy wrapping paper, it lasts much longer and is cheaper. Instead of spending $3-$4 on a GB for one wedding gift, you can buy one roll of wrapping paper for the same amount or cheaper to be used on numerous gifts depending on size. I have had the same wedding wrap for 2-3 years now. For Christmas you can buy a few different kinds of wrap each year when they are on clearance for very cheap, then you never have to buy expensive bags or pay full price for wrap. I have a large gift bag that I save all my wrapping paper scraps in. Lots of pieces that you couldn't use for the gift you have can be saved and work perfect for smaller gifts like DVDs, CDs, books and jewelry. I also save all the gift bags that I get for birthdays and Christmas and keep them all together so if I am in a hurry or a bag will just work better for the gift I do have several to choose from. I also save the tissue paper.

2)Don't spend a lot of money on cards. If you really enjoy cards maybe you disagree with this, but I could not care less about cards with my gift. You read it once, you open your gift.....you go home and throw away the card and never think about it again. So I buy all of my cards at the Dollar Store, 2 for $1. I buy several birthday, wedding, graduation and baby cards at once and keep them with my wrapping supplies so I don't have to make a trip out to buy one card. I just think it is ridiculous to spend $3-$5 on a card that no one will look at again (unless maybe it is a special card for your husband/wife or something that might be saved.) Like I said if you like cards you may feel differently. Or you can always make your own card with a piece of paper folded in half and some crayons or markers.

3) Unplug. We unplug EVERYTHING. There is nothing in our basement that is plugged in right now except the washer and dryer. The TV, all lamps and any electronics are all unplugged. If we happen to spend time in the basement we plug them in while we are down there and then unplug before we go back upstairs. We keep all appliances, can opener, toaster, mixer, and radio in the kitchen unplugged unless in use. Also the laptop, cell phone chargers etc. We have our main TV hooked up to a light switch, so when we hit the switch it turns off the power to the outlet that the TV is connected to, so that is "unplugged" when not in use too. This helps a lot with the electricity bill.

4) Keep the heat/air off as long as you can. Every year when the seasons change we wait as long as we can stand to turn on the heat or air. I live in ND, so that can be a challenge! We are trying to last till October 1st with the heat off this year. It has already snowed here, so it is not easy. But if you wear warm clothes, socks and keep a blanket around if you are laying on the couch you will still be comfy. Open the shades when the sun is out and let it help heat your home. If you made something in the oven leave the oven open after you have removed your food and turned off the over and the heat from it can easily warm a room. Or cuddle! Smile Same goes in the summer, open the windows at night, close the shades, wear layers so you can take some off to stay cool. When we do finally turn it on we still keep it very low, especially in the winter as you can keep yourself warm with clothes and blankets.