Budget & Accountability {week 4} #FinancialFriday

budget & accountability Week 4 #Financial Friday 1

Welcome to Week 4! And also the start of a new month! How is your accountability holding up? Are you staying honest with yourself over purchases? Are you starting to think twice before purchasing things?

This past week we went over again, but in looking at purchases and what money was spent on, I think we fared well.  I had another baby shower to attend, and we bought some baby purchases.  As time goes on, and my due date quickly approaches, I’m sure this will be the norm.  We’re trying to spread out our purchases so we’re not burdened by a bunch of money at once. But what’s one thing we’re doing different? We’re purchasing some items used.  There’s a great Facebook group for my local area to sell used items – housewares, baby, kids, etc.  This week’s purchase was a new dresser for the kids’ room.  We have 1 3 drawer for Aubrey and we needed to either find a 2nd, or buy 1 that had 6 drawers.  Found a great one that had 6 drawers and also will double as our changing table.  We will be selling the current dresser we have, so hope to recoup some of what we spent.

Another item we purchased was Aubrey’s big girl toddler bed & mattress.  Jon’s company is paid through ADP and we have been using their Corporate perks system for some time.  You basically use their site as a vehicle to regular online retailers, and with each dollar you spend, you earn back points.  We bought Aubrey’s tv for her room with it back in ’11 and this year we used the points to buy her a toddler bed & mattress from Walmart. Our out of pocket price was under $20.  Not bad!

What tricks have you made more routine with saving money? Leave a comment!

Oh and if you missed last week’s post, I have the spreadsheet I created available for purchase for your personal use! (click the image to be directed to the purchase page)

Weekly Spending & Accountability Budget

Comments

  1. Jen says

    Good for you! I love this post. There are so many ways to cut back spending these days with just a little bit of planning, but more importantly, with awareness.

    Tracking your spending habits, I think, is the biggest step towards financial success. Without this knowledge, all the little purchases add up and often become the pitfall of a person’s or family’s saving goals.

    Once you’re aware, there are other some other tricks I like to use to watch the savings add up, instead of the bills!

    1) USE REWARDS: Take advantage of any rebates, ebates, or reward programs you can. Credit card rewards can add up quickly to provide cash back or gift cards to major retailers. I recommend paying regular monthly expenses (bills), groceries, gasoline, etc. on a credit card and then paying off the card monthly before the closing date. This way, you rack up reward points (especially with cards that double or triple points on specific types of purchases like gas), but dodge the interest and associated fees. But using the cards only for your regular purchases is key. I have found, the minute you start using credit cards for spontaneous purchases, is the minute you start racking up debt. It’s easy to think ‘oh ya, I haven’t budgeted for this item, but I’ll find a way to pay it off by the end of the month.’ I swear it never happens. Then what? You’re left with a new monthly expense… the evil minimum monthly payment. If you do it right, the payoff is great. My husband and I just cashed in reward points for $600+ in Amazon gift certificates, which we’ll use to purchase our bigger items for baby #2. What’s even better, typically we’ll save another 10% or more off regular retail simply by purchasing through Amazon. They have the best prices almost 100% of the time, especially as a Prime Amazon Mom.

    2) CREATE A STOCKPILE: Make a list of your regular purchases (monthly, bimonthly, etc) for the household, including non-perishable goods, toiletries, cleaning products, etc, and research their baseline (lowest average) retail price. For instance, I like to look up retail prices on Walmart.com. Once you know how much these items normally cost, you can keep your eye out for great deals that come along and then stockpile these items. You don’t have to stockpile a ton… start out buying 2-3 months worth, instead of just 1 month. As you save more money, then invest a little more in your stockpile. It’s amazing how much you save in the long run. Want more savings? See if you can find and apply a manufacturer’s coupon to the retailer’s promotional price. But don’t exhaust yourself or your time with endless coupon searches; it’s just an added bonus. Besides, time is money too.

    3) BUY BULK: I know this is similar to stockpiling, but slightly different and can be applied immediately; no research required. If you get a membership with a wholesale, or bulk distributor, your savings can really add up. Just remember, stick to the essentials! I know that all of the amazing deals on things you ‘don’t need, but the price is just too good to ignore’ are tempting, but again, it’s the top of a very slippery slope. Stick to a list and plan ahead! Personally, I like Costco for monthly trips and for GAS. I also have become very fond of Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. I get many of my essentials, such as diapers, wipes, soap, detergents, toilet paper, paper towel, etc, delivered to my door, as scheduled, without paying shipping. Now I have saved money AND time, because I didn’t have to wrangler my toddler into the car and through a potentially lengthy shopping trip to get our needed items… they just showed up. With this program, you set up a reoccurring delivery schedule for the items you need; the offering of products is amazing. Then Amazon will send you a e-reminder about a week in advance, giving you the option to skip a shipment, cancel or make any changes you need. If you bundle up 5 items or more per delivery, you get an additional discount (I think 15%) off each item, which typically are already at the lowest prices I can find. On top of that, if you join Amazon Prime (a small-fee annual membership), you get even more discounts, faster delivery (2 day deliver, for free!!) and other perks too. One step further… for those moms out there, you can become an Amazon Mom and save even more (I believe 20%) on qualifying baby products, such as diapers and wipes.

    4) GET FREE CLUB CARDS: If you know you frequently make purchases from a particular retailer that has a club card (or free membership), join. It’s a free and easy way to enjoy more savings. We particularly like the VIP card at Babies R Us, which gives you a discount on regular baby purchases. Just fund the card like a debit, and let the retailer match a portion of your funds. But make sure to only fund the card with what you need to spend. You should have a good idea of how much you spend a month based on your spending tracker or budget. Again, avoid the slippery slopes or pitfalls of overspending.

    5) BUY RESALE: There are lots of ways to purchase like new, or slightly used, name brand items through resale groups, consignment stores or other outlets, such as Craig’s List, EBay, etc. But be smart and informed. Don’t just assume that because an item is listed through a resale outlet that it’s priced right. Know your retails. Also, be mindful of who and where you buy from. Take precautions when necessary, especially when interacting one-on-one with people you’ve never met. Most people are good-hearted, but there’s always a few bad eggs out there looking to scam or take advantage of others.

    6) TRY FREECYCLING: There are many local ‘freecycle’ groups these days that offer items out to the community for free, to avoid the landfills. Just Google it. Often items through freecycling communities are well loved, but sometimes you’ll find a family that just needs to find a new home for their items that are in great condition too. But again, use precaution when meeting up individually with people you don’t know. For moms and dads, consider starting a trade group amongst your friends or other local families that have children in the same age group. This is a great option for toys, clothes or other items that your little ones outgrow so quickly.

    7) STAY CONNECTED: Keep in contact with other thrifty families. Especially with social media, blogs, digital newsletters… there are lots of ways to stay on top of deals and new tricks. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

    Those are my tips and tricks, but I’m always looking for more!

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