Saving money would imply that I have some. As a new business owner, it just isn't a luxury I have right now. I just focus on paying my bills!
Congrats on your new business!
Can I hammar a couple things into your head, while things are still soft? I mention this only because so many small business owners conflate themselves with the biz, and that seems natural.
1. Pay yourself first.
2. Consider "you and your bills" inclusive of saving.
Ideally, that's for retirement. But also (and perhaps before that during your launch phase), it's for the funds to pay your bills in cash. If you aren't doing this, you are paying interest which means you are lending your business money a bit at a time.
makes a good point about buying things like the whole chicken and roasting it vs buying chicken breasts. (I hate chicken, fwiw) But the trade off there is time.
crockpot, baby, crockpot. You can toss a whole chicken in one and come back later. But the best use of the crockpot is for turning cheap cuts of meat, like pork shoulder or beef chuck, into delicious mouth-watering substances.
Or if you eat legumes (I don't, I eat paleo), crockpots are great for cooking beans.
But I still don't believe that it's ever cheaper to eat out. I eat paleo, which means lots of vegetables, and none of the cheap foods like pasta, so it's a fairly expensive diet compared to many. So our work lunch cafeteria, the only paleo-food is a salad with chicken on it. Costs $7.50. I can easily make my own salad with chicken on it for $1. Or go to a restaurant and order grilled tuna with roasted vegetables- will cost you at least $15/person. Even if you buy very nice tuna steaks and out-of-season vegetables, no way will it cost you more than $6/person to make the same meal, and it takes no time to speak of to prepare.
Every month I create a monthly budget. We live month-to-month. Any extra money gets dumped into savings. We are currently saving for our 3 month of bills emergency fund and we always plan to have a $2000 emergency fund separate from that.
DH and I get $60 cash each a week for food. I'm sure I could make it cheaper, but the amount works because some weeks I spend $40 and others I spend $70. We found food/alcohol was our biggest money drain. We are saving about $1,000 a month now because of that one switch.
I keep everything on a spread sheet and update it when money comes in/out during the month. I like doing that because I can always tell how much money will be going into savings at the end of the month. It is so helpful!!
Last edited by Kat_Renee; Dec. 18, 2012 at 09:11 PM.
Reason: iPhone typos
I used to be convinced that only using foods from scratch was cheaper (which it is) but what I failed to put together was that on days when I couldn't muster the energy to cook from scratch (DH and I both have busy jobs, and three kids) then we'd go out to eat after I stared at the pantry for half an hour with a blank brain.
So now I keep enough Sam's club insta-foods in the freezer for those days. And we have saved over $500+ a month in restaurant foods, which were happening because of my previous adherence to the "from scratch is cheaper" method.
Yes, from scratch is still technically cheaper, and it's still technically better for you, but not if you don't do it!
Your story reminded me of that!
I also like to cook from scratch but I plan for leftovers which I freeze, some in single serving bags, some for multiple servings. I may as well make a big pot roast as a smaller one. Excess from the garden goes in the freezer too. I always have pasta and jars of pasta sauce on hand also
I wasn't always a Smurf
Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
"I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.
For those of you who worry about wasting fresh food in the fridge, buy a foodsaver. Make bigger meals once or twice a week, vaccuum seal the leftovers and pretty soon you have a freezer full of food ready to go when you are too busy to cook.
That was my biggest savings. by far! Eating out is expensive...
Eating out is always very expensive, because you are paying for not only the raw ingredients, but for the time of other people to prepare the food for you
But you are not paying for the freezer to store it in bulk (or in our case TWO freezers full), the electric to run that freezer 24/7/365, the electric/gas to prepare and cook it, the hot water to wash the dishes, the dish soap, the depreciation on appliances.
And if you want to split hairs, the detergent to wash the dish towels, the lights in the diningroom, the containers to store the leftovers, the gizmos and gadgets in the kitchen drawer...
Now I've already gone and purchased the appliances, the side of beef, and put in the raised garden beds, but as long as my husband is convinced we can eat at a family style restaurant for less than I can cook a meal and clean up after, I'm sure not going to argue with him
I follow Dave Ramsey, and the thing he taught me that helped the most....make a budget. Absolutely down to the dollar. And stick to it. Name every dollar. It took me a few months to tweek it to where I could do it, but I did and I can. And I always save a little each week, even if its only $10. Name. Every. Dollar. Give it a job. No impulsive spending.
I used to decide what I wanted to cook for the week, and then go to the store and buy what I needed. I shop at Publix, and now they have such fabulous BOGOs every week, that now I wait until I go and see whats on sale, and plan the meals from the store. I only take x amount of money, and have to make 7 days worth of meals fit. I cut my cable way down, Im anal about my electricity; my electric bill this month was $61, best Ive ever done. I dont use credit cards any more, am down to a single credit card payment. Ive paid off 4 of them (ugh...the money I gave those banks...). I have enough now in savings that would equal a credit card, so I dont feel like I "need" a credit card for emergencies. Ill drive my truck until the wheels fall off, and then Ill buy another good used vehicle with money saved for it. When I think of the money I spent over my lifetime on interest from things I had to have "now, I want it, and I deserve it now", it makes me sick.
There is so much free stuff to do around Ocala, that I can always find something to do for free. I enjoy staying home a lot, so its a real treat for me just to go to the beach...free...no parking fee even....just gas to get there.
In addition to a lot of things mentioned here, I've also done really well with a few freebie websites.
I have enough travel sized toothpaste to last me a year, haven't had to buy deodorant in probably six months, have gotten a TON of coffee (both K cup and ground) which is a high dollar item. Two free bottles of contact lense solution. I've also managed to get a lot of holiday presents for this year. Stocking stuffers for everyone (everything from a tackle box towel with ring to hook on to the box, wonderful tea bags (Twinnings), clutch purses, and even a gorgeous stainless steel martini shaker. In addition I've netted three free pizzas from Dominoes, free food coupons for Kraft and Pillsbury items, full boxes of cereal and even diapers and T-shirts. And the samples usually come with a GREAT coupon.
I have free magazine subscriptions to Martha's Living, Field and Stream, Shape, Better Homes and Garden, Parenting, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and US Weekly.
You have to be careful for the items you sign up for (don't apply for anything that demands a cell phone number because they will text you and charge you, remove all apps added to your FB when you sign up, and never click that you want emails). I have a junk email account I use so that my real account isn't clogged with junk mail.
My two favorite sites are "Hey it's free!" and "Erics Free Site".
Just check them every morning and sign up for what you like.
Every two weeks before we get paid, I allocate every dollar to a budget item and stick to it. Not my idea, Dave Ramsey's - his financial peace classes and books are awesome. In order to make that budget, I had cut out all extras. We are lean right now, but we are on track. Before I started the budget system, my money had control of me. I really didn't know what we were spending on anything, all I knew was we ran out before the next pay check over and over again. We generally work with cash, much easier to keep track of. And when I go to the grocery store, I get what I'm going for because I only have aprx the right amount to get what I'm there for. It feels like being on a diet, but it's working and much less stressful.
I put everything I buy on my Visa card. It helps me track my spending right down to the last penny. I pay my credit card balance off every day, online. By doing this, I didn't pay a cent in interest, and also earned just under $800.00 in cashback over the course of a year, which paid for my black Friday shopping. Here in Canada we are really big on Interac, and the bank I work for offers a "round up" feature on the bank card. Every purchase done via interac is rounded up to the nearest $1.00, or $5.00, and the difference put into a savings account automatically at the end of the day. Great way to build that penny jar, without using cash.
I also suggest paying yourself first! In other words, have an amount automatically deducted from your pay account, and transferred in to your savings account, as soon as your pay is deposited. Work with the remainder for the rest of your expenses. And remember, no amount is too small.....even a dollar a day saved will add up to a tidy little sum over the course of a few years.
"My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”
― Anna Sewell
I pay extra on the mortgage rather than putting a lot into savings. (In Canada there is no tax advantage for mortgage payments, i realize it's different in the States).
Actually, making 13 mortgage payments a year, or paying every 2 weeks rather than once a month takes big bites out of principal... which shortens the length of the loan. For most people, this brings them move money in the end then dragging out the loan and writing off the interest. Depends on your tax bracket.
I just ran through my budget. Here are my savings for 2012
% back on gas and groceries through credit card = $304
Mail in rebates = $36
Shopper's club groceries discounts = $807
Gas discount through shopper's club points $24
We have 2 other club cards for pharmacy stores I don't have handy at the moment
Plus, on average, we use at about $10 a month in grocery coupons = $120
thats $1291 just on proper shopping for groceries and gas
I pay for everything with a credit card that has an excellent rewards program (and no annual fee) and I pay the balance off every month. I don't buy things I don't need, just put regular expenses on the card (gas, groceries, car insurance). I get points back that can go towards anything (airfare, statement credit, check). The CC company hasn't made a dime off of me and so far this year I've gotten 1 free airfare to visit my husband (a $450 value plane ticket), a 3-day-car rental for $15, and $250 cash back. I did all of my Christmas shopping online this year, through my CC rewards website, which links to retailers I would have shopped with anyway, but which gave me double, triple and, in one case, 10x the regular points.
If you are responsible with them, credit cards can lead to savings, so long as you never carry a balance! I never put more on the card than what's in my bank account, and I always pay on time. Added bonus, it helps my credit score by showing I'm a responsible borrower.
Dollars that don't go directly to bills are by default "savings" with X% allocated for spending. It's a bit of a different mindset than saving X% - I feel like when I used to think that way, after I had saved the specified amount I spent the "extra" money.
It's kind of like smart eating - I don't deprive myself of things, but I choose carefully. I'm actually much better at doing this with spending than with eating...
I have a "wait a week" philosophy on wants vs needs. If I want something, I tell myself to wait a week, and if I still want it then I can plan the purchase. Often it's not something I want after waiting a week. I also do nearly all shopping online, which saves time and reduces impulse buying.
I never pay retail for clothing. Ever. I do shop at high-end stores, like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, and I buy high quality when it's on clearance. Like others, I don't wear trendy clothes. My black cashmere sweaters are as "in" today as they were five years ago.
I buy nice, older, well-cared-for used cars. My 2002 Lexus was totaled by hail damage last year, and while the dents really bothered me at first, having a completely paid for car that is perfectly fine mechanically and has the creature comforts I like more than made up for it.
I use coupons, but only for things I already buy. It does not save money to use a coupon to buy something you didn't want or need! We have a grocery store with high quality generics, and I always consider the generic option. It's not always the best deal, but when it is I buy it.
Lunch is often a can of soup, which I like. I do like to drink soda, and until recently I would buy it in six packs of bottles. I got a Sodastream machine, and for the convenience alone I think it will be a good investment.
I do dine out for lunch and dinner sometimes - I have found unless I want to be eating the same or very similar things all week, too much food goes to waste when I buy ingredients to cook at home, and it often is fairly expensive to buy all the ingredients. Unless I am going to be at a restaurant for a couple hours, I have water to drink. A soda is usually $2.50 or more, and alcohol at restaurants is not worth the expense to me.
There are some things I *don't* skimp on. I religiously take vitamins, and my horses do, too. Some may call it "expensive urine", but my horses and I are both quite healthy compared to our peers. Both horses are in semi-retirement, and neither wears shoes. Both the horses and the house pets get all recommended vaccines and care.
I did once try to save a few dollars on cat food, and it ended up costing me about $800 in vet bills when one of the cats got crystals in his urine. I get the expensive cat food and remind myself that $30 is cheaper than $800.
I also consider my time as something of value that I don't want to waste, so if there is something I really don't like doing, I will pay someone to do it. I pay a dog waste service $8 a week to pick up my back yard once a week. That is the best $8 I spend each week.
Although I'm salaried, I work *a lot*, which has helped me get ahead in my company and increase my income substantially. My mortgage is my only outstanding debt, and I just refinanced to 10 years, and I think I can get it paid off in 8 years or fewer. By then, my 10 year old car may need to be replaced, and I'll have the cash saved to do it.
I set one really big, really awesome goal, like a custom 2+1 with living quarters. Every time I'm dying to spend money on something stupid, I think to myself, "Self, if you had to choose right now, would you rather have this stupid little thing, or A BRAND NEW CUSTOM 2+1???" The 2+1 usually wins, and I end up blowing a lot less money on fluff.
It's painless. It doesn't feel like you're denying yourself, but rather choosing a more awesome alternative. Meanwhile the money keeps piling up.
The 2+1 fund also functions as an emergency fund, so it works out pretty well.