Thursday, January 5, 2017

Spending Less/Saving More - Making Every $ Count


Last year I worked steadily on my debt elimination goal and to increase my retirement savings.  I was able to make great strides on my goal and boost contributions to my 401(k) which will continue to steadily feed throughout the year.  Mission accomplished!


My big thing this year is to complete my debt elimination goal (cross that puppy off the list!) and increase my personal savings account.  The only way I see to accomplish this is to curb spending, paying as little as I can for the things we need and want.


I have acquired several gift cards.  Three were earned by participating in some health and wellness challenges at work.  One came from accumulated rewards points through my credit card company.  Several were received as gifts.  In the next few months I plan to use these gift cards to help me spend less money acquiring the things we need and want.


I plan to work really hard to seek out the very lowest prices I can on the things I do buy.  That doesn't mean I plan to "cheap out", however.  Quite the contrary.  I think it is a waste of money to overlook quality.  In the long run it isn't really a savings if you need to replace something because it doesn't hold up and work well.


I'll use patience and wait for sales.  Use coupons as much as possible to pair up with sales priced items.  And put more thought into those things that I do purchase to make sure I even need or want that stuff in the first place.


Also, I'll be careful to not be wasteful with the things we have.  Using up things, which is something I try to be careful about.  Fixing items, rather than tossing them out and replacing them.  Maintaining items we have so they stay nice and function well.


I plan on reusing, recycling or repurposing items.  I think it is fun to think outside the box a little bit and find new ways to use items rather than to toss them out.  I wash out and reuse plastic Ziploc bags on a regular basis.

Pretty good strategies, I think.  How are some ways you curb spending?




18 comments:

  1. I shop 2nd hand as much as I can and I reuse as much as possible (I wash zip locks too). I need to improve with using coupons though.

    Tania

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    1. Good for you Tania. I'm hit and miss with coupons because I don't buy a lot from the center aisles. Mostly it is the store coupons I use.

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  2. Great goals, and you have done a great job this past year.. Best wishes with this years goals.

    I made my monthly/yearly budget, I too, am trying to pay attention to our spending. Only buy things we need or want, and not letting them go to waste. [buying frugile and letting it ruin, will not benefit me at all.. I have to pay close attention to this.. I have been known to let fruits/veggies ruin in the refrigerator.ha]
    Normal things I do to save.
    wash zip lock baggies and reuse
    Turn thermostat down a couple degrees at night
    Use coupons with sale items
    We don't eat out a lot..but when we do, try to use coupons
    when possible
    Goal this year [follow your lead, thank you] and buy Christmas /birthday gifts early as I see good deals /coupons.Put them a way for upcoming holidays.

    ps Hubby and I are both retired, and our kids are grown with families of their own. I get asked quiet often, why we are living frugally? Since we own our home and have no debt. My thought on this is...why would you spend and waste money on things you dont need or want? I have always budgeted, and had to be careful of spending.This enabled us to put up money for our retirement and also to be able to pay off our debts , before retirement.

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    Replies
    1. Judy you do a lot of great things to spend less and I applaud you. Once I'm retired I don't plan to spend and buy junk I don't need or want either. I still tend to overbuy produce but fortunately my hens help me out and happily take the extra so it doesn't go to waste. :)

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  3. Like you I watch what I spend and where the money seems to slip away. I have also been using up everything we possibly can, you know getting our monies back on our spending. In fact Hubby kind of giggled at me this morning as I was trying to squeeze more toothpaste out of what looks like an empty tube. Soon that tube will be cut open and give me even more days of tooth cleaning paste.

    I have always kept our vehicles maintained and clean, as well as repairing any clothing we have. Now I am going to try repairing and cleaning my sewing machines when the need arises. Pretty sure there are directions on the internet.

    God bless.

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    1. I check out Youtube for tutorials when I need to learn how to do stuff. Amazing all of the things I've learned how to do. I'm always surprised at how much stuff is still in and "empty" container.

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  4. *I could do better with coupons -- though I do use them. The real benefit, though -- if the product isn't what it should be (restaurant visits, spoiled food from the grocery store, etc.), I write a letter and either get reimbursed, or freebie coupons! My family thought this was very funny, until I got some free gift cards and products this way. I only complain when the complaint is valid, and try hard to be matter-of-fact about it. With dozens of letters, I've only failed twice.

    *Gift card bonuses ($20 from Applebee's, $20 from Red Robin, $10 from Panera) will take us out to eat these next few months. Maybe they'll bring this back for Easter or something.

    *ALWAYS check the discount bins when you go to the grocery store, even if you're just there for milk. I think you're very good at this!

    I've been doing a monthly 'Frugal Hits and Misses' post, thanks to your inspiration. Here's December's:
    http://cindybrick.blogspot.com/2016/12/frugal-hits-and-misses-december-report.html

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    Replies
    1. I will check out your post. I love markdown bins. In fact I just picked up two good sized sirloin steaks for $3.40. I was so excited. I've only written to a company once, which was to complain about the colossal amount of dye in their breakfast cereal. Never heard back from them, but they did back off on the dye.

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  5. Excellent goals! I have no debts of any kind but I continue to be frugal by habit!

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    1. Being frugal is probably why you have no debts. I admire you tremendously for that. :)

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  6. I'm also planning to use gift cards to offset spending, and to find one permanent ways to cut costs per month. I'm looking for alternatives to packed lunch waste (ziplock bags), water savings, etc.

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    1. Even though I wash and reuse my Ziploc bags all the time I still don't like using them. I use my glass Pyrex containers a lot for my lunches. Ziploc bags occasionally. Sounds to me like you've got some great plans for cutting costs.

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  7. I too use gift cards to offset prices. My husband is using a Walmart gift card I earned through Swagbucks tonight to buy a huge bag of dog food for our Caesar. That should last use a month at which time I should have another gift card earned to pay for more dog food. ;) My husband I I figured that we have only had to pay out of pocket for his dog food about 3 times in all the years we have had him because of those gift cards that I earn. Not bad! I'm a ziplock bag washer and reuser too. I just throw them in the washer (inside out) with the clothing and then hang them on a drying rack when they come out of the washer. It has saved us so much money to do this. I look for marked down items in the grocery store and search the clearance racks everywhere, including the thrift stores. I have been able to buy lots of clothing for our grandsons and for the rest of us for .10 and .24 each this way. Score!!!

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    1. I plan on checking out Swagbucks this year. I've heard a lot of people do that and I have yet to check it out. I'm impressed you earn enough to feed your big dog. Smart washing Ziploc bags in the washer. Hmmmm. Like you I am always checking out the markdown bins. I get a lot of the pricier cuts of meat, like steaks, that way.

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    2. Great post as always! Re: Swagbucks, I get about $25/month in giftcards from it (so about $300/year). I think it's worth it, but honestly, it does require some time. I still would recommend it though! If you want to do something nice for a friend, have them "refer" you to Swagbucks (via a referral link), as they'll then earn swagbucks on whatever you swagbucks you earn. A nice way to bless someone that doesn't cost you a penny!

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    3. Oh that is cool. I had no idea you could earn that much. I will definitely be checking it out.

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