i need to start saving again better. we've offically signed our basement reno contract to start aug 15 and now the price tag of this project is starting to weigh on me. i'll admit that hubs and i have been a bit too carefree with our money lately but since this reno is going to be our reality for the next two months, i need to refocus on our budget.
i've always been a saver; something i picked up from my dad when i was in my early teens. he taught me the value of money by allowing me to help him balance the family books and eventually, i became the family "accountant". i saw what came in vs what went out; i saw how my parents struggled to stay afloat and my sister and i contributed whatever we could from our part-time jobs. this was a real eye-opener and was a huge incentive for me to finish school and focus on establishing my career so that i wouldn't have to struggle as my parents did. as soon as i landed my first job out of school, i made sure to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible (damn those interest rates!) while helping out my parents as much as i could. i truly believe that my dad did me a great service for teaching me the value of a dollar at an early age because i think that his lesson taught me how to save and budget which has allowed us to live a debt-free life (well, except for our mortgage; i consider that a "necessary debt") .
i've already kick-started my saving mode into high gear. here's what i'm doing to keep my money in the bank:
- at-home pedis. i hate doing this because i love to get my tootsies pampered at the spa but doing this myself saves me $25-30. ps - the satisfaction quotent is extremely low when i do it myself :(
- bring lunch to work everyday. i don't mind the night-before prep but i hate lugging my lunch bag to work. it's just another bulky item that weighs me down and when i'm already struggling with my will power to drag my ass into work, having to drag my lunch bag with me makes this fight all the more unappealing. and my lunches are pretty unsatisfying too; since i'm detoxing from vegas, the only thing i'm allowing myself to eat are boring foods... you know, all the healthy stuff. i've allowed myself one exception: friday, when i go out for lunch with my team
- no more online shopping. this is what's been killing my credit card the past few months and i now know why people are so addicted to online shopping: no line-ups, no sales people bothering you and it's like christmas when you come home from a long day at work to find a little package waiting for you! that was the best part for me. so no more old navy e-flyers; no more wagjag/groupon emails. and yesterday was my last purchase, i pinky swear!
- pack lunch when we go out on weekends. a meal for two at canada's wonderland will cost you about $30 and the food you get is gross and poorly cooked at best (and so unhealthy). so last weekend when we went to wonderland, we packed our lunch (well, kayla's lunch) and she ate a healthy, hearty meal - carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, a ham and cheese sandwich and grapes. that only cost me about $15 at the grocery store.
- paying cash instead of using credit cards. credit cards are the devil's creation. it makes us lose sight of how much something really costs because it's so easy to hand over a piece of plastic. however, when i'm forced to count (and see) the cash leaving my hand, it gives me a chance to stop and think do i really need this? if i really wanted to go hardcore, i'd employ my post-university trick: freeze all of our credit cards so that i'd have to wait until they thawed out to use them. this always worked for me; the thawing process took several hours and by the time it was done, i talked myself out of wanting to buy [insert unnecessary product here]
- transfer more money into our savings acount. we have a separate savings account that operates on wire transfers only which is awesome because it prevents us from getting immediate access. because it's separate from our chequing account, it's the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing; less money in our chequing account means less spending
- get rid of my highlights. highlights mean regular trips to the salon for touch-ups which runs me about $120. if i color my hair back to black and just use the drugstore dye then that'll save me $112 since a box of Clairol is about $8.
saving money sucks.
what do you do to save money?