Saturday, May 4, 2013

Being cheap...I mean...economical

The boyfriend and I are merging bills and trying to save money. We started by sitting down and writing exactly what all of our bills were and how much (on average) they usually ran. After you figure out how much you want to save, then whatever is leftover from your income after all your bills can be used for entertainment and whatnot.

Some things we've started doing to get the most out of our money include: signing up for a cash back credit card (even if it's just 1-5% that's much better than the typical interest rate earned on savings accounts), buying groceries a week at a time (when you go to the store every other day you are more likely to spend more money and buy things you don't need and didn't budget for), pay as much as you can on loans (most loans earn 3-10%, depending on the type, and it's a much better investment to pay those off then to let money sit in an account only earning 0.25% interest), and we've actually started manually tracking all of our purchases (cash or otherwise, having to physically type it in increases your awareness of how much you're spending).

Also, just generally being cognizant of cheaper ways to do the same exact thing. Want to see a new blockbuster? Go to a matinee. Want to eat at that new fancy restaurant? Go for lunch, smaller portions but way cheaper. Planning a big vacation? Sign up for Groupon and look at the amazing deals they have before you buy anything! Sign up for stores' free savings cards, Kroger will let you save money on certain items and give you discounts at their gas pumps!

Always ask yourself if there is a more economical way to do what you want to do. For example, I love buying books. Typically I'll go to a bookstore and browse until I find something I really want (which comes out of the entertainment budget, of course) and I'll compare the tangible book price to the e-book price. Usually I can save $3-$10 on any given book by buying it on my nook instead.

However, there are things that have no substitutes. Like the shaved ice cart in the Kroger parking lot. The best snow cones ever, and now that I am physically writing down all my purchases, I realize I spend up to $30 on snow cones every week. That's more than my cell phone bill...

Oh well, no one's perfect. And those snow cones are delicious.

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