I LOVE our new car, but since we got it I've tried to make an effort to really ramp up my savings to fill the giant hole it made in my various funds. We are also eating much better quality foods, so our food budget's gone up slightly. Don't worry, I still love getting items on sales and with coupons, but if it's only a bit more for organic I'm more open to grabbing it. We also celebrated both our birthdays recently and had a pretty big bonanza for it. It was my 30th birthday and I wanted to go to Las Vegas to visit my cousins and show Winton the sites, go to Disneyland, see more cousins and even drove to San Diego to see even more cousins! They were very generous and we didn't blow any money on accommodations and even saved a ton of money with local discounts, offers to give us rides to places and even eating for free. Winton and I made sure we bought a lot of meals when my family would come out to eat with us to show our gratitude for their generosity. I'll write another article about how we saved money on our trip. Anyhow, long story short, our vacation fund is low now and I want to stretch out every dollar I am currently bringing in to throw into my various savings account and in particular my retirement fund.
Here are some of the steps I've been taking to reduce my living costs
1. I love my junk food! I love it so much that I would never say no when I wanted something unless it was too pricey! I've stopped buying tons and tons of junk food and am trying to buy even more fruit and veggies as my snack. If I really want something, I'll get one or two items but I walk by a lot of items on the shelves instead of just throwing them in my shopping cart. It's so very hard but I'm determined to save money and hopefully my waistline as well. I think this is my biggest weakest and my biggest financial leak in my budget.
2. I've re-jigged my budget to show a more realistic amount of what portion of my income was going to where and have set weekly goals to meet. Before I would just pay off an important fund for the month and then the next. I'm paying off each of my funds each week no matter what. This way, each fund is important and is getting what's owe instead of one or two funds getting shafted at the end of the month if I happen to run out of money.
3. I'm made a huge jump and everyone is giving me crap for it. I'm made the switch from Fido to Wind Mobile. So far, yes there are issues with signal and how slow the data is but I've had it less than a week. I remember a time where I refused to jump on the data bandwagon to save $$$, and then I don't know what happened. I know the coverage is smaller but I never go outside the city and I'm paying almost half of what I'm currently paying and for far more perks. I've tried to negotiate with Fido on three different calls to customer retention but they wouldn't budge and it was still going to be more money. Yes, it's not part of the Big 3 but I'm getting 10 GB's a month before they cap it and slow me down! Plus, I'm willing to go with a smaller provider and give a chance to the little guy than letting Fido rip me off. On a serious note, I know I'm not going to use all my services and I expect some frustrations but my expectations were set too high with my Fido account and I was gladly paying for it. They had pretty decent signal and yes LTE is much faster than 3G. I don't talk on the phone anymore unless I'm at work, I just email and text. Mostly iMessaging with friends, just now they have to text my email than my number. I'm either at work or at home so wifi is usually not a problem there. But, I'll be saving about $30 a month! That's A LOT and worth the frustrations and some inconvenience. Fido offered me $30 in savings spanned over 6 months of service. C'mon, that's ridiculous!
4. I also upgraded my President Choice MasterCard to the World Elite. How does this save me money you ask? I pay my card in full within a few days of usage, so I never carry a balance and avoid the shock than if I let it rack up the entire month. The card's interest rate, limit, and fee (or lack there of) for the card hasn't changed. All that's changed for me was a physical new card, with a new number I have to learn and POINTS! I'm all about the points to get free groceries and I would be getting 50% more than my current rate and new places to acquire even more points like at Shoppers Drug Mart. There are also other perks that I would probably never use like concierge service but it's cool to have. With PC, I love that I don't just get free food but I can use my points to buy gift cards for other stores and services. It's great for Christmas time when money can be tight for all of us!
5. While this may not be so much of a savings measure, it is a reducing stress one. I'm going to be relying more on funds to cover expenses. I have to admit that once I've saved some money, I can be pretty stubborn about using money in that fund. I would find ways to make even more money or stall a payment on another fund to cover those costs. It actually would hurt if I had to pull out money from a fund. Sometimes it feels like I'm in constant survival mode and I will never have enough money to feel secure. It's a strange feeling! Part of my anxiety I suppose! I know I will never go hungry and that bills will always be paid but it can be hard to escape that mentality. Just some more work to do on my part!
6. Friends! As I get older my group of friends become smaller. I'm just more selective. I truly believe your friends can make or break you. When I first started writing about saving money and couponing I had a natural fear of being judged by my peers. Then I grew a backbone and said screw it. It's something I was interested in and wanted to share. Since then, tons of friends have come out to help me and ask for advice and I love it. I grew closer with some people and let others go. What I love more is that I can be me and not ashamed about how important this was to me. Having good friends who share similar views is so important, life became more about spending time doing whatever with them, than who spent more money on what. It also might just be an age/life thing but who knows!
I'm happy to say that four months after purchasing the car, I've been able to replenish most of the funds I had to borrow from. I still have a bit of work to do and with the holidays around the corner trying to derail me I'm determined to stay focus and on track.
Eros And Pookie