Thursday, February 5, 2009

New Years Resolution #2 - Trying to Save Extra $$

Another New Years resolution of mine is to save extra money and with the way the economy is right now there is no time like the present. I don't have a specific amount that I want to save I just know that I can be saving more money...and some of this savings is going to fund Christina's love of shopping. Let me give you some background on our current budgeting situation so you can understand how I've started saving money.

My husband and I have a detailed budget that we follow every month. When we first got married it wasn't easy for him to understand that being a woman we have a lot more expenses - hair, make up, facial products, waxing, manicures, pedicures, etc. So to help him understand and also not have me overspend we agreed to adding two sections of the budget for this kind of spending. There is "beauty" money where we agreed to a reasonable dollar amount that allows me to get my monthly beauty needs met. And there is a "rec" money - where each of us gets a certain amount of money each month that we can spend on whatever we questions asks (so he can't tell me why did you buy that dress when you already have three other dresses in your closet). This has worked out great! The rest of the spending on beauty products is taken out of the general budget since its not a monthly expense.

Things have been working out fantastically with the budget and we have been able to really put some money in savings and investments. But I had two additional things I wanted to try and do:

1. See where else we can save money. I know we are going to have to do this when we have a family so why not start doing it now.
2. How can I have some extra money to spend on my shopping addiction (which by the way is no where near as bad as it used to be).

So let me start with #1. Here are some ways that I have found to save our household money:

1. Get the Sunday paper each week. The Sunday paper contains all the ads and coupons. While I do enjoy reading the Post I mainly subscribe for the coupons. I clip the coupons each week and put them in my coupon organizer (small file folder I picked up at the Target dollar bin). When I plan my grocery shopping I look through the coupons I have and try and plan the meals around them. Also helpful to look at the grocery store insert in the paper to see what in-store specials they are having and a no brainer is to use the stores bonus card. It's always a plus when the grocery store doubles your coupons!!! I wish I was more like Kate Gosselin (of Jon and Kate Plus 8) because that woman knows how to save at the grocery store. There was an episode where they followed her when she did her food shopping at it was AMAZING!

2. Plan out meals and cook at home. I find that when my husband and I plan out our meals for the week we don't eat out as often. And I also get to try new recipes more often. When I say plan our meals I mean very loosely. We decide what meals we would like to make that week and then each day or night before we decide what's for dinner. For example this week we decided on homemade pizza, grilled chicken salads, tomato soup (new recipe) with grilled cheese, grilled chicken with scalloped potatoes, and homemade tacos. And we each night what we want to make. Sometimes we have to decide the night before because we have to take stuff out of the freezer.

Limit at Starbucks. I am a recovering Starbucks addict. I used to get a venti latte EVERY DAY. So bad for me and so bad for our budget. So my husband and I agreed that I would get a $30 stipend each month to buy Starbucks. Anything additional would have to come out of my "rec" money. This is month three of us doing it and so far it is working great. I have yet to use the full $30 a month. In order to get my caffeine fix in the morning I am drinking tea that I get at the grocery store. The $5 I spend on the box of tea bags is much more affordable than the $5 a drink day habit I was in.

4. Cutting back on beauty products. When I was in college I was spoiled with beauty products because I work at a spa and got a 40% off discount on products. Well I don't get that discount anymore and I was just spending WAY too much money on this stuff. Here's what I have done so far:
  • Switched from Decleor to Philosophy face products (still not sure I'm settled on these products - any other affordable suggestions?)
  • Maybelline mascara at $7 instead of a mascara at Sephora at $18
  • Dove and Caress body wash and body lotion (whatever I have a coupon for) instead of Sephora brand
  • Almay eye makeup remover instead of a $23 bottle of Two Faced Lash Extension Anecdote (going to try Neutrogean's eye make remover as well and see what I like best)
  • Using Garnier Fructis deep conditioning treatment (because I had a coupon) instead of Bumble and Bumble
  • Only get new make up when I run out of something. I have lots of great makeup at home and I don't need anything new to add.
5. No more tanning salon. I know this shouldn't have happened in the first place but I am a recovering tanorexic. No more tanning membership means extra money in our bank account each month.

6. Stock up when you have coupons. I try and plan our meals and shopping trips around the coupons I have at home. If I have a coupon for something that is going to expire and I don't necessarily need it right away I will still buy it because I know we will need to get it at some point. For example - If I have a coupon for deodorant but I don't need it right away I will still get it, stick in the cabinet and then I have it for when I do need it and I got it on sale.

Any other suggestions....

Stay tuned for tomorrow on some ways that I have found to make some extra money for my love of shopping.


mikey said...

the only problem i have with this post is that you referred to "three" dresses in your closet.....uummmm....have you seen your closet recently??? all jokes aside, the "rec" and "beauty fund" approach is one of the best things we've ever done.

Annalisa and Chris said...

here are a few of my favs for saving $$ : excellent website, helps with budgeting - it's all automatic, even sends you updates

- Cetaphil cleanser and mosturizer cream. runs about $10 for a container of each (You can get them cheaper at costco) and they last forever. Better cleanser and mosturizer than products i've spent a lot more on!

- Neutrogenia Triple mosture shampoo, conditioner and deep treatment. Most beauty mags name it as good or better than most salon brands. I use it in between biolage to help my expensive stuff last longer.


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