Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Household Budgeting With a Scalpel

Author: Judy Juricek

Indonesia Job - Long before the current downturn in the economy, I was a frugal person who enjoyed doing household budgeting. I used coupons, drove as little as possible to save money on gas (even when gas was inexpensive), and took my lunch to work. Even being a frugal person, I found myself buying a lot more stuff than I needed, though. When I looked around our house which is large for two people, I saw a lot of things that were simply collecting dust that we didn't use. At that moment, I realized that my husband and I could do a lot better at saving money. After this realization, we got to work using a scalpel to carve out more savings and less spending and this is what we did to save on our monthly budget. - Job Vacancy.

First, we wrote down every bill that we had for the month and asked ourselves if we really needed to spend money on this item or service. We also spent time that month writing down every small purchase that we made in a notebook to chart just how much money was being spent in small increments for items like coffee, newspapers, or lunch. We reviewed the list and found lots of items or services that we could live without.

Cable television - We decided that we didn't watch enough television to justify spending $75 per month for cable television. Instead, we use an inexpensive service that delivers videos via the mail service two or three at a time. We get our news and weather from the internet and received most of the series that we liked on CD.

Cell phone - We were paying approximately $90 for 700 minutes from a well known cell phone service provider. I found a much lower cost and better plan provider from a pay-as-you-go service that uses a network from a large, well-known provider. We now have unlimited minutes and internet access for $15 less per month. We are saving money, getting more services, and we aren't locked into a contract.

Carpooling - My husband and I worked fifteen minutes away from each other. We bit the bullet and decided that the extra 30 minutes of commute time per day was worth it to save money on gas and car maintenance. An added benefit was having someone to converse with on the trip instead of simply listening to the radio.
Eating out at restaurants - We used to eat in a restaurant where the bill averaged between $25 and $40 once or twice a week. While we enjoyed this practice, we realized that we were spending an extra $1800 per year (average $35 x 2 x 52). We limited ourselves to eating out once per month which did save a lot and reduced our waistlines as well.

Buying in bulk - Being a frugal person, I was never very good at buying in bulk because I simply didn't want to spend that much money on groceries (which is probably why we spent so much money eating out!). I realized that I was costing us money by not stocking up on sale items that we really use. I bought a membership to a wholesale club and go once a month. While I spend a lot in one shop, I also save money because I am buying things usually on sale in large quantities. I also save time because I only have to go to the conventional grocery store for items that go out of date like bread, eggs, and salad. We also now
make a concerted effort to eat all of the food that I fix which also saves money and reduces the waste from our home.

Using coupons wisely - I was the worlds worst about using a coupon to get something at a very low cost or free but that we would not use. So, I stopped doing that because I realized that I wasn't really saving money, I was just cluttering up the house.

Limited my shopping - For many years, I have been a thrift store shopper. This is a great way of buying great clothes at inexpensive prices for the entire family. It becomes a problem, though, when you buy a lot of clothes that you don't need. I found that I was going twice or three times per month to my favorite thrift store spending between $30 and $50. I realized that I while I enjoyed shopping; I really didn't NEED all of those clothes. I now limit myself to a thrift store trip once per month and my spending limit is $20. I have less clutter in my closet and we save money.

Revisit our Vacation - We used to take a pretty lavish vacation for ten days per year. We would fly somewhere, rent a car, and stay in a nice hotel (not extravagant but nice nevertheless). We would also treat ourselves to nights out and dinner plus drinks. All of that added up fast! Now, we drive to the beach that is about four hours from our home, stay in a nice but moderately priced condo, and eat in. In fact, cooking on vacation is much less expensive and I have control over how the food is cooked. We also save money by taking in all of the free things that are available (museums, parks, the beach). We still have a wonderful time but have cut the cost of our vacation by about 50 percent.

After a few months of whittling down our budget, we save about $400 per month or $3600 per year which has given us much more financial freedom and peace of mind but we haven't missed anything that we cut out. If you are struggling to save money, I would recommend using a virtual scalpel to cut your budget as well. You can cut out unneeded purchases and watch your savings account grow!

Judy Juricek is the President of Attract Your Ideal Retirement, Inc. and her passion is helping women in their 40's, 50's, and 60's to plan for, attract, and live their ideal lives in retirement. Judy believes that everyone can replicate the success that they had in their careers by crafting their ideal lives in retirement. - Lowongan Kerja

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