January 04, 2008

Saving Money in 2008

There was an article on New Year's Day about saving $2008 in 2008. Sounded interesting, so I perused it to see how exactly I can go about stashing away this money. Here are some of the suggestions:

* Give up just one Starbucks drink a week or else downgrade to regular coffee instead of the pricey espresso-based drinks.
* Replace one fast-food lunch per week with a brown bag lunch. (Can't do it? Just stop super-sizing instead to save 50 cents to a dollar each meal.)
* Skip dessert when dining at a sit-down restaurant.
* Stop making impulse snack purchases at the checkout line.
* Stop buying one bottle of water for $2 or $3 every day.
* Skip the soft drink at restaurants and order water instead.

Hmmm. I go to Starbucks for a "pricey espresso-based drink" probably once every 2 months. I eat lunch at home every day, and Ted takes leftovers to work every day. We never super-size. Sit-down restaurants are few and far between, let alone splurging on a dessert when we're already stuffed and taking home doggie bags. My kids have pretty much stopped asking me about the treats at the checkout counters, because I never, EVER buy anything there. (Except chapstick--it's hard to find anywhere else, and I do admit that I bought a 96 cent tube of chapstick a couple of weeks ago.) We don't buy bottled water except at Sam's Club, where it averages out to be a quarter a bottle. Even then, it's purchased with the intent of taking it with us somewhere, not just drinking at home. And I already skip soft drinks at restaurants, partly because I'm cheap and partly because I can't stand the taste of soda anymore. This section is not going to help me save $2008...

* Cut out a premium channel, lose the TiVO service, or reduce the number of receivers in your home.
* Use the library instead of always buying new books.
* Bue one less issue of People magazine (or other checkout counter magazine) per month.
* Buy matinee tickets instead of going to the movies in the evening.

Hmmm. We don't have cable, TiVO, or anything else. We pay nothing for TV! Buying new books, well, that suggestion could help, though we already utilize the library tons and only purchase maybe a few new books each year, typically for gifts for each other. As for buying magazines like People? Bleh! It's bad enough to have to see the covers in the checkout line! With a military discount we can get into evening movies at matinee price, but our outings are limited to once every few months anymore regardless. This section may possibly save us a little bit of money, but if we like a book well enough to buy it, I don't know that we'd want to wait for it to be available at the library anyway.

* Use coupons.

Ha! This is all they could come up with for shopping! OK, I do use coupons, BUT I refuse to scour papers and cut them out. I find that I can use the pull-off ones at the commissary and save several dollars or more each visit. On the rare occasion I do take in a coupon myself, I find that the brand advertised is more expensive than comparable products, so I end up not using the coupon after all. (Thus my decision to stop wasting time cutting coupons.) I suppose this could be beneficial for some people, but for me the time involved just isn't worth it. I suppose if I couldn't shop the commissary I might do it, but even so...the Walmart brand is a lot cheaper than the brands with coupons anyway...so maybe not?

* Stop doing it!

We don't even need to go there. As non-smokers, we've already saved tons of money.

* Don't pay for services you don't use or need.

We only pay $27 per month for all our phone services through an internet-phone company. I agree, why pay a local service for caller ID, call waiting, voice mail, etc. when you can save so much money with a different option? We made the switch about a year and a half ago, and despite some initial difficulties, overall we've been pleased enough with the service, especially since we're saving $50 over what we were paying monthly.

I won't go into this because it's another N/A for us.

* Consolidate errands to save on gas.

Trust me, with 4 children, I don't exactly hop in the van and drive willy-nilly around town. Our outings are VERY planned in advance!

* Pay bills online.

We already do!

Well, Las Vegas Review-Journal, I have to tell you that you have not exactly inspired me. What is sad is that so many Americans could truly save money with these suggestions. I think most of my friends and family are pretty frugal already and would likely agree with me that these suggestions are already part of their lifestyle.

How about ideas for saving money if you're already frugal? I'd love to see a list of suggestions from those of us who don't frequent Starbucks or McDonald's! I'll start:

* Two words: God's math. When we put Him first, He truly does pour out the blessings. We have NEVER been able to out-give God!

* Remember it is more blessed to give than to receive: Pass on clothes and items you don't need...and chances are you'll find yourself on the receiving end when you need to be. Somehow we are swimming in clothes for Kenna, even though we have hardly purchased anything for her ourselves. We've been blessed with friends and family who have passed on clothes, and it's so great to dress her up without breaking the bank!

* For variable expenses like gifts, recreation/entertainment, and Christmas, set aside cash each month (according to what your budget allows) and stick to what you have. Don't resort to plastic!

Anyone else want to contribute?


Amos said...

Yep, I am pretty much with you on everything you said. The only one we have is the TV/DVR thing, and that being $40 a month would not add up to $2008 at the end of the year. Funny about the buying in the checkout line. I was so hungry checking out today that I almost went for the sugar snack, and then I told myself it was 5 minutes home and it wasn't worth it. I guess that article was for the other americans.

The Litwillers said...

Preach it, sister!

Here are a few things they missed: Turn down the heater/air conditioning to a more reasonable setting or don't use it at all unless necessary (i.e.--you are old, there is a newborn, etc.).

Try to get by on one vehicle to save on gas, payments, insurance.

Give your children up for adoption.

Get a phone card for long distance, since it's usually cheaper than the local phone service.

Have a list when you go shopping and stick to it. Buy the store brand to save money--it usually tastes the same anyway. (My kids prefer Aldi's mac and cheese to Kraft...and they hate my homemade stuff...so sad....)

I could go on and on, but I agree..that article needs a little help. Good grief, I gave more ideas and longer ones to my class when I taught Economics!

Tina said...

I have to say, of all the ideas in your comments "Give your children up for adoption" is my favorite right now!(Oy, what a day)

When we went from two cars down to one, our insurance actually went up, we lost the dual car discount.

Things I've done to save money in the last 3 months (when we went into heavy Budget Lock-down Mode)?

Grow my hair out and no longer get it cut. I don't really like that option.

Cut out the natural, organic stuff and go back to buying from Aldi.

No more soy milk (thankfully Will grew out of his milk allergy).

I feel I've cut back, but not quite comfortable with where I had to cut. I'm just having to trust God about it and do what I can with what I have!

Beverly said...

LOL on the children one, too! I'm with you, Tina, I just have my hair long and straight--a few layers, but nothing that needs constant maintenance. I'd love to have a manicure/pedicure now and then, but the two times I've had it done (courtesy of Ted for a Mother's Day outing or something like that) I felt guilty about the ridiculous cost for something that was completely unnecessary. It's really a big thing around here to get them regularly, but I buff my own nails and go on my polish-less way!

Megan said...

Totally in agreement here. I see the headlines "save hundreds on groceries!" on the cover of my magazines (subscriptions are gifts courtesy of my mother!), and I think, "Yay! Maybe I can start getting my groceries for free every month!" LOL

I did sign up for Angel Food (google for Angel Food Ministries) this month. There is a participating church two miles down the road from us, and the January food items looked like things we'd mostly use. If I think it'll save us money, I might start utilizing that. There are no income limits/requirements.

We do have a Sam's membership (it was cheaper to buy the membership AND get an ATT phone card from Sam's online for our long-distance calls than it would have been to pay for long-distance service through our phone company), but I don't generally buy in bulk (no storage space) so haven't compared food prices for things at Sam's in recent years.

Anonymous said...

My best tip is to plan a weekly menu list. This helps us to only buy what we need and also eliminates the question of "what's for dinner?"

Domestic Diva said...

Your life resembles mine...except the Commissary :)

We have started biking to place, even getting groceries. But now in CO, it is really cold! Our super market gives you 5 cents off every bag we bring in to rebag our groceries.

Maybe this article was written for single people, or people that make over 100 grand a year...but not for already budgeted stay at home moms!

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Another thing I have discovered is selling our old stuff on craigslist or Ebay. Granted it is only maybe $30/month that I make, but that's a dinner or a movie for Dave and I. Plus it helps me to declutter and not store so much STUFF around the house.

Beverly said...

These are great ideas! I also depend on menu planning. I love the idea of looking at eBay or Craigslist as a dinner out AND helping to declutter at the same time. Hmmm...wonder what someone would give me for our kids?! :-P