Archive for the ‘No-Spend’ Category

Monthly Wrap Up

January is coming swiftly to a close and I’m ahead for the month with $114.00 in the emergency fund. It’s not the $500 I was hoping to have reached, and I’m a little anxious about this shaky start!

I did, however, start my IDA, actively pursue more options for bringing in money, turn my $10 donation into $100 for Haitian relief efforts, and took the plunge and dropped our health insurance for Medi-Cal (still in progress – this is not a fast process!)  I also had the money on hand to pay for my little set back without incurring debt, so it’s not all bad. I got my credit report and am ready to write letters to make corrections. It was a busy month!

I also far exceeded my goal of 7 no-spend days. I’m pushing myself with a goal of 21 no-spend days in February (mystery shops, gas, groceries, and routine bills excluded.)

I am currently expecting $115.14 for mystery shops (including reimbursements), $17 for rebates, $11.29 from E-bates, $10.00 from Swagbucks, and $26.50 for online surveys at Surveyhead. I am also waiting on $77 back from a bank error.

Goals for February

1. Stick to a zero-based, cash only budget.

2. Call to negotiate the price on all of our services – phone, internet, cell phone, car insurance, etc. Watch for lots of Dialing for Dollars articles in February!

3. Save or earn $886 to get back on track for my annual goals.

4. Finish paperwork on Medi-Cal and college for the fall.

5. All meals at home except for our anniversary dinner, with a gift certificate. (We’re celebrating ten years as a couple at the end of the month!)

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OVER $300!! I am astounded.

I have spent only $7.31 on unplanned expenses and have avoided shopping altogether except for a planned grocery trip for dairy/produce, so my budgeted expenses for the month are lower than expected so far. I’ve also had 4 No Spend days. My goal of 7 No Spend days a month may be too few!

I’m spending the day in Financial Literacy Training for the IDA and will report back with any new savings revelations

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Putting away $6,000 is a lofty goal for me. I’ve never been able to save that much, and it will take diligence and creativity to stretch each quarter as far as it will stretch and bring in extras to supplement the savings. I’ll be testing as many ideas for finding and earning extra money as I can, and documenting it along the way.  Here are a few of the ways I’m planning on saving, and what you can expect to find on the blog:

Scratch vs. Store Bought

In this weekly article, I’ll be determining whether it is more cost effective to make from scratch such items as condiments and convenience foods, household cleaners, and bath and beauty products, testing recipes and reporting the results.

Dialing for Dollars

Our service providers will be receiving a phone call to reduce rates for regular expenses, like auto insurance, phone service, and even the water company. I’ll post the outcomes of my negotiations, hopefully finding significant savings!

Menu Planning

Wasted food wastes money, and having a plan is the most effective way I have found to reduce food waste. I’ll be posting my low-cost menu plans each week.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Use it up, wear it out, make do, do without

Finding creative uses to keep things out of the landfill, keeping spending on new products mindful and to a minimum, and keeping our things in good working order will certainly keep money in our pockets. As I try new ways to use items up and do without, I’ll be sharing them with you.

No-Spend Days

Clearly eliminating all spending for a set period of time will save me money, but it may also help me to redefine and focus in on needs vs. wants, hopefully helping me to spend more mindfully when I do shop. My goal to start is 7 No-Spend Days each month.

Money Making from home

I’ll be exploring a number of options for making money at home, with a more detailed list of ideas tomorrow. Your suggestions for legitimate, legal ways to make money from home without upfront costs are welcome!

You’ll also find a monthly wrap-up to see what’s working and how well I’m doing at reaching my goal, tips for frugal home making, crafty goodness, and inexpensive activities, projects and products for the family.

Sound interesting? Subscribe now and don’t miss a thing, and post your comments with ideas, questions, or encouragement!

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