Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Save that money, honey

I feel kind of blog schizo lately.  Last week I had a million things to talk about, and they were funny things.  I was on a roll.  And this week, I want to talk about the deeper stuff, the more important stuff.  I really hope you don't mind... It's going to happen whether you care or not, but I like having a friend or two.  If I start turning into an emo or a sad country song tell me, okay?

So I left off a couple of weeks ago telling you how I gave away the Mary Kay, how I was letting go of some things that really hurt me.  I left it at still feeling terrified, and uncertain.  Those feelings really lingered with me.  Half of the time I was pondering going and asking for it all back.  Despite knowing it was the good and right thing to do, I was in that 7 stages of grief thing.  I'm finally coming towards acceptance, but I would say I'm still pretty angry.  I'm angry that I put myself in that position, and that I was so reticent to move on from it.  It isn't the all consuming rage, it's just the quiet anger.  It's okay.  I know that I am getting there, once and for all.

There is financial backlash from the decisions I made during that time, and I shared that before.  We are trying really hard to start cutting the bills that we can so that we have more funds available for making payments on debt.  We don't want to be so far in debt 5 years from now that we can't dig out!  We are lucky in that we both have good credit, and the ability to make some wise money choices so that we can craft a better life for ourselves.  Some of the things we are doing to save money:

1) We re-financed our car from 12.99% interest to 4.74% interest.  This is saving $130 per month in car payments.

2)  Stop eating out.  I don't know how much this is saving in the long run since we buy more food at the store, but we are saving money here.  It also really helps me stay on my diet.

3)  Stay home.  It's much easier to save money when you don't go anywhere.

4)  Drop the bundled package that's off promotion, get internet on promotion with different service provider, and order hulu+ for out Apple TV.  Total savings, $120 per month.

5) Shop for new insurance for our cars, renters policy, and the scooter.  We haven't finished this yet, but we are hoping to save at least $30 a month when we combine all of our policies together.  If we save more I will be over the moon delighted.

6)  Having our own gym equipment.  We have a treadmill, adjustable weights, and workout dvds.  With all of this stuff, we aren't paying $30 plus per month each for a gym membership.

7)  Bulk food shopping.  We buy as much of our food in bulk as we can, then re-package into smaller portions.  We tend to eat the same veggies several times a week after we buy in bulk, so that we minimize waste.

Compared with all of the obstacles we have to overcome, this does not seem like a whole lot.  However, it all moves us in the direction of being more financially free, more financially well.  Step by step, we are going to make it.

Do any of you guys have any interesting ways that you save money?  I would love to talk more openly and more often about money and money management.  Let's stop this cycle about making the money talk taboo!


  1. We have been in your shoes Kristen. It sucks and it's hard. I've actually been contemplating giving up cable and getting apple TV. However, John's not on board. I just think $150 a month for cable is nuts.

    1. Just wanted to say that we got rid of cable and just use our apple TV and it is the best thing ever. EVERYTHING can be downloaded online, so we spend our time watching quality shows we actually like rather than wasting time channel surfing or watching things you aren't actually interested in.

      That extra time we have since we don't watch crap TV is spent doing productive things... connecting with each other, reading a good book, playing a game.. whatever! HIGHLY recommended. That is all :) hahaa

  2. I wish I had better advice for you! I'm still treading water with finally having started my student loan payments. Every month, I just feel sadness about all of these dannng bills. I definitely need to be better about not eating out and staying home, or at least finding happy hour deals etc. when I do go out. I went out with my little brothers last night and just felt so much sadness that we are all dealing with debt issues.

    We will figure it out!! I'll definitely follow along the more you talk about it & would be happy to help open the dialogue elsewhere (ie: my blog) too! :)

  3. I LOVE reading other people's tips on how to save money! The not going out to eat one is huge! I stopped going out for lunches at work (for the most part) and it has done wonders for my checking account. We always always talk about getting rid of cable, but then how would we watch Wings games? that is literally the only reason we have cable and I freaking hate it. I wish there was a way to pirate hockey games on TV!

    1. This site streams nhl games. it's $50 per season and you can only watch 'out of market' games, although you can watch any game 48 hours after it airs. Well, thought this might help.

  4. Oh goodness I love talking about saving money! Luckily I work in a bank so that makes it easier to do so I'm not always talking my husband's ear off :)

    I've completely stopped drinking soda- it's amazing how much money all that stuff is! Also, I'm trying to make one big meal on Sunday so I can have leftovers for lunch every day instead of buying anything! We switched our cable company & insurance company- super savings there! Also, we bought a Roku because that has so many movies and shows we've never seen before- much cheaper than always going to the movies!

  5. Well, we've talked about it before. =) Michael & I just changed our federal withholdings to M0 so that the max amount of money with withheld at the federal level for people filing as married, so that should help us to break even or have a lower federal tax liability in 2013. I'm tired of facing a nearly $3,000 tax bill each February.

    One of the things I've done is sign up for the app on my iPad, which allows me to quickly see the values of all of my accounts - assets, liabilities, etc. And... I figured out how much money it'll take to pay off our credit cards by 2015 and I'm religiously sticking to it. Also, I committed to putting a set amount of money every month into our very liquid savings. Often I'll transfer that money back out if Michael has a short week, but it's nice to know I've got a couple hundred dollars lying around if I need it.

    And an emergency fund - you know that's a good idea.

    You're doing great though! Keep it up. I'm finding the biggest hurdle is merging my physical anxiety and feelings with the actual facts of our monetary life, which aren't meshing at all. I feel anxious about money and then I want to throw up, but the truth is we are OK and hardly heading towards living out of our car.

    You free sometime on Friday? I think I have to make a gluten-free pizza crust, but that shouldn't take all night. And I could bring the iPad into the kitchen....

  6. The thing I've done that is HUGE(!!!!) is get with the MINT app. (

    It can be used on the net or on your phone. It categorizes your purchases, makes you fancy pie charts... the whole she-bang! It's seriously incredible. For me, actually seeing where my money is going helps SO much (and who has the time to do it manually these days?!) It always helps you see where you're wasting your money. And alerts you via e-mail if you've gone over your budget, make a big purchase, etc.

    You'll seriously be hooked.

    Also, get a credit card that uses points. I have a travel visa, so every dollar I spend gives me points towards travel. I can use these points for flights, hotels, car rentals, whatever I need. It helped us out HUGE when Sebastian and I went to Europe. My ENTIRE flight was paid for by points. And half the cost of our hotel room in Rome. The last thing you want is to be so engrossed in save mode that you forget to have fun and go do things... so this makes it all that much more afforable :)

    Alsoooo.... another thing that I used to do was when I paid in cash (which I don't really do anymore... gotta get the points, haha) I'd save all the change and not spend it. I'd put it in a jar and then deposit it into the bank. It adds up pretty quickly.

    I love money managing :) hahaha (NERD ALERT!)

    1. Soooo just read the previous comment right now. Here I was thinking I had uncovered secret gold with Mint. Hahaha.

  7. Good for you! I'm trying to figure out ways to do the same. Eating out is probably the easiest way to save money and we really suck at not doing it. Although, in the past year, we've cut down tremendously! It's crazy how being homebodies can help with your bank account :)

    Good luck!

  8. Eating out is one of my biggest vices... I just would so much rather have food that someone else made for me. How sad is that?

  9. IC and I made a budget before we moved in together to see how much we cost as a couple. Both of us are pretty frugal people so we actually don't spend that much money (Rent, Food, Yoga are our three biggest expenditures).

    So from a personal perspective, I can't offer a huge amount of help. But I know from people watching that people spend an obscene amount of money on things like coffee. And it's never something we think about while doing it because what's $3.50 for a coffee? But when it happens every day! that adds up.

  10. I feel you on all of the above! I need to start being more disciplined about how I spend my money too - mainly, no more eating out! I read somewhere that anything you make at home is going to be less calories than the same meal you get at a restaurant, so I need to remember that. I also need to cut back on coffee drinks (frappucinos are my weakness) and driving unnecessary amounts around town. I feel like I have been spending so much $$ on gas the past few months, and it's starting to kill me financially!

    I love that quote, it totally makes me think and want to learn from Mr. Ramsey!

    Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!

  11. Ditto what Maggie said - we don't take any exemptions with our taxes, so we bring home less of each paycheck, but then when March/April rolls around, we get money back and pay down whatever debts we have or put it into savings (last year we took a trip, but come on, we were in Europe! Once in a lifetime, right?). It's worked out pretty well for us so far!

    We also keep a fairly high paypal balance and either use that for emergencies or for our online shopping so that it's like that money never even existed.


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