This year I really want to mind my money. I have to big trips this year and I really want to curb any unnecessary spending, avoiding if at all possible. I think this has been a long time coming, and while it should have been done sooner, I’m glad I’m finally putting a good plan in place.
My biggest concern is, and always has, is ensuring the bills get paid. Since I’m a casual employee and even though I’ve been receiving a lot of assignments, there’s nothing left for me to spend on myself at the end unless I’ve been working a lot of assignments. I’ve become accustom to spending money on bills and nothing on myself; I don’t mind it, but there are times where I would like to go out for coffee or buy something as small as a bottle of nail polish.
With Seattle in three months (I hope I can go) and Minneapolis in six, I now want to watch what I spend and really save my money so I can have a good chunk to spend on myself while on vacation. On our last family vacation I had a great time and just being able to buy things for myself without worrying about bills was such a great feeling.
In order to save money, here’s what I’ll be doing….
– Continue to make bills the priority. Set up a bill payment schedule of what exactly I will be paying and how much.
– Half & Half. With whatever money is left over after paying bills, I will split of up the left overs and separate in to another account (savings & vacation fund).
– Insurance money to pay for prescriptions. Because the government pays for my medication until March 31, I’m pretty lucky that I don’t have to shell out cash for my prescriptions. However there is one that I do have to pay a portion of and that’s okay. I send whatever I paid to the insurance company and I get 80% back. That 80% will sit in savings until I need to buy the prescriptions.
–Buy in Bulk. I’m not talking about a monthly trip to Costco to buy everything in bulk, I’m talking about items such as deodorant, shampoo, personal beauty items in bulk. I’ve got coupons and I watch the flyers. When I see a good deal and I have coupons, I go for it and buy those items en mass. Sometimes buying bulk at Costco isn’t always the best saving, so you really have to watch the flyers and sales at the stores.
–Love Starbucks, not the prices. For Christmas I was fortunate enough to receive a gift card from Starbucks and that gift card can go pretty fast since prices are pricey. I was only able to get 6 visits and that was about it. When I have enough cash I am going to reload because then this way if I don’t have the cash on hand at least I’ll have it on a card. I’m also going to start making my favorite drinks at home. Instead of buying tea at Starbucks, I’ll make a mug at home. Iced Coffee is pretty darn easy to make, it’s not rocket science.
–Extreme Coupon. I promise I won’t buy 100 cases of Ramen noodles or 250 bottles of Gatorade but I am going to coupon as much as I can. There’s no shame in using coupons, sometimes you have to use them in order to afford things.
–Make meals, don’t buy. When I work there are some times when I like to go and grab something to eat rather than make my meal, sit down and chit-chat with people. But that’s going to change. For the last month I have been making my meals (all of them) instead of ordering something in…. and they’ve all been healthy and not pre-packaged.
How are you saving your money? Any tips you would like to share?