How to save $7,171.20 a year

How to save $7,172.20 a year

I thought it would be good to discuss the topic of budgeting. As a young couple starting out its difficult to get caught up in the hype of decorating, entertaining and owning the latest and greatest IPods, TV’s, phones, etc. I know, because it happened to us. When we moved in together we wanted everything to be perfect right from the start; we didn’t want to wait to get new…everything. We wanted it now. New TV, new touch screen computer, new DSLR camera, new furniture, you get the drift. We went overboard! We had everything you could imagine but was it worth it? I’m going to say no. We had a vision of starting our life together that included all of these wonderful things, we somehow believed these ‘things’ would make life more enjoyable and maybe the euphoric stage did last for a week and yes, i’ll be honest, we loved every second of it. But after that week came the realization that this new ‘thing’, whether it was the new computer, a trip dwn south or the ‘I had to have it’ iPad, cost us a lot of money. See, the problem was, we didn’t think it was a problem because we justified it to ourself, we worked hard and deserved these things and often paid for these items up front meaning, to us, we could afford it. I’ll tell you this, just because its in your bank account doesn’t mean you can afford it. Unless, of course, you’ve already put money into savings, RRSP’s and your emergency fund. We didn’t do that. And now, here we are at the end of the year with tons of stuff, a beautiful home, and didn’t save a penny. Well, 2013 will be different and this is why:
1. We’re only spending cash. Each week we’ll be withdrawing a set amount of money to spend on our variable expenses; transportation, food, entertainment, clothing and gifts, and other.
2. I have set up an automatic withdrawal from my chequing account into a ‘planned spend account’. This will be for vacations and big purchases. No more oh a whim trips down south or new electronics. Anything over $300 will be paid for using our planned spend account.
3. You know all that change in your car, in your pockets, etc? It adds up. I asked Tony to get all the change in his car plus empty our wallets of change and I put it in a bowl and every time we get home we add change from the day into this jar. Guess what? That change in our car and wallets totalled a whopping $72! In nickels, pennies, quarters and loonies and toonies. Every few weeks we’ll be rolling that money, bringing it to the bank and adding it to our planned spending account.
4. Contribute to work RRSP’S! My company matches my contribution so the fact that I haven’t done this yet and I’ve been with the company for almost 3 years makes me so angry with myself.
5. We quit smoking! That saves us a whopping $3700 a year!!! And I feel GREAT!
6. Bring your lunch to work. I go with my friends to buy their lunch and they typically spend about $8-$9 on lunch EACH day! That’s over $2000 a year. I’ll be honest, there have been days I have forgotten my lunch but if I do, I make my way down to Ethernet work cafeteria and buy a soup. It’s $3 and very satisfying. If you don’t like making lunch the night before or in the morning just make extra dinner and set aside your lunch BEFORE you put dinner on the table. If I see food in front of me, I eat it.
7. Make your coffee at home in the morning. Tony and I got coffee every morning totalling $3.62 a day. I did this because I hated home brewed coffee and thought buying discs for a Tassimo or Keurig was going to get pricey. Guess what? That Tassimo is saving me TONS of money. I got mine on sale from Sears for $68 and buy my T-discs from Costco (84 for $29=$0.35 each) and the coffee is delicious. If you feel you need a pick me up after lunch try bringing some tea bags and using the hot water machine at work. The caffeine will give you the same effect that a coffee will. Want to see how much your saving? .70/ day is $182+(one time fee)68=$250 a year. 3.62/ day is $941.20 a year. Total savings =$691.20!!
8. Pick up a container of almonds or trail mix and leave that at your desk. Everyone knows about the 2 o’clock sugar rush. Keep your money in your pocket and open your drawer for a healthy, filling snack. If nuts don’t satisfy you try bringing a box of granola bars (or cookies) to work. If its the walk that your missing, then take a walk to the cafeteria and fill up your water bottle. Total savings on a coffee and treat at an average of $3/ day is $780 a year.
So far we’ve saved $7,171.20 a YEAR!!!