Thursday, October 22, 2015

Saving and Spending


I won't lie, budgets are my jam. I like the spreadsheets, I like the color coding, I like feeling like I won't be destitute and living on the street tomorrow by nightfall. I like budgets. They are the one organized spot in my chaotic brain.Saving has always been high on my priorities...

but one can't be good all the time.

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Thank you, Sonja Morgan. 

In some areas, we are budget rockstars, but in others... well, no one is perfect. For where we are right now, saving is a huge priority and one day I'd love to find the line of sharing how we diversify our savings and plan for big things, while still managing to keep the cable on (in this case, I mean cable on constantly).  If you're a human with access to something called the world wide web, you are aware of the insane ways that people recommend saving money (the internet is a terrible place). I find a lot of these unrealistic. So here are a few ways that we save some pennies and a few ways that we don't 

How we Save:

Food- 

I've said it before and I will say it again, meal planning is the way to go. We spend very little on groceries every week because we know what we will eat for each meal... and we plan that around what is on sale and in season. Exciting aren't we? Today we ate chicken drumsticks. Do I love chicken drumsticks? Meh, no. But they were on super sale and I knew that hosting some friends this weekend would be pricer than normal. Eating in season and as local as possible also helps drive our costs down. Most of our grocery cart is filled with produce, so as much as I love pomegranates, I know when they are on sale (and in turn in season). Also, we 90% of the time bring lunch. Our lunches are thrilling... they are mostly leftovers, but they get the job done. I love to cook new (in my opinion) exciting things, so it all evens out in the end.

Transportation-

October 21st was the first time I have filled up my gas tank since July. I'm not lying, but I am very proud of this. I walk 15 minutes every morning to the metro and spend way less (time and money) than I would if I drove to work everyday. Also, hilarious things happen on the metro. Like laugh out loud, but don't make eye contact things. Andrew drives decently far to work, but for his sanity (and gas money)'s sake, he usually commutes before traffic really picks up. From what we spent on travel in CA, we spend a fraction of the amount on transportation costs now.

Entertainment-

We are lucky in that a lot of the things that we like to do often are low cost or free. We love to go running (free), play board games (one time cost), check out local festivals and arts events (cheap), taste test all the taco trucks in Greater Houston (cost of Tums),and chill with our pup (cost of dog food is rising...). These are all pretty budget friendly items. When we do go out to a movie or something like that, it seems even more special to be doing something new.

Where we Spend:

House- 

Having a house is expensive-and not just the mortgage part. As much as everyone told us to expect this, all the home improvement projects really add up. We have a monthly line item for this in our budget that helps us prioritize projects or otherwise it would be ramen every night. I hope that at least some of the work we are doing on our place will work in our favor later down the road, but for now it would be okay if the Home Depot employees weren't our normal Saturday AM wake up calls. As time wears on (almost 5 months in our new home), we are checking more and more projects off our list- not that I am convinced the projects will ever end.

Travel- 

Travel is so important to the two of us. Trying new places, meeting new people, and collecting new experiences is the only cure for wanderlust. To make this happen one of our automatic savings transfers is specifically for travel, but I won't lie when planning our upcoming trips I get a little gun shy at pulling the trigger. We have an international trip in a few months and 3 domestic ones before that. The good news is that we LOVE to travel, so spending in this category is fun. The bad news is that even traveling affordably, isn't cheap. 

Celebrating- 

On a weekly basis this would be our normal slip up. There is a lot to celebrate in life, y'all! People are getting married, new jobs are being had, and sometimes living through a Thursday deserves its own mini-party. We rein it in as much as possible, but I won't say no to cheers-ing a friend's life event, even if that mean more chicken drumsticks for everyone.

What about you? Where do you save some pennies or save some moolah? Any tips?
-S

9 comments:

  1. All great tips! I definitely try to avoid eating out as much as possible to save money, especially since I love cooking any way. I definitely splurge on travel though! I love traveling but don't get to do it often so when I do, I like to go all out! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  2. We are pretty much the same! We try to meal plan and not spend too much on entertainment, but we'll definitely spend on travel and making memories! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  3. We definitely need to get better at meal planning! We used to be so good and even have a little menu board we pin our meals for the week to... but I feel like we haven't used it in months ;) I am all about splurging for travel, too. I love exploring new places.

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  4. agreed!! i will spend like a boss for vacation and travel because that's where memories are made. food - eating in and cooking saves major cash! same with bringing lunch to work!

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  5. We save a lot by not going out to eat... we used to do it several times a week and I can't believe how much money we were throwing away!

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  6. Going out to eat is definitely my/our downfall. Totally with you on travel, though. We both love going new places together, although my husband is a little more reluctant to spend the money than I am!

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  7. I am so frugal...I run to the gym to workout and run home. It is like three workouts. Coupons, rewards clubs. Right now I have 50 dollars in rewards points that I can use for amazon, starbucks, etc. Just for entering Coke cap codes or receipts. I am really impressed at how you budget.
    bakingrunner.blogspot.com

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  8. Since you are not driving to work regularly, be SURE your auto insurance company knows this! You usually get a bit of a break on your car's insurance since it's staying parked at home. Good luck!

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  9. I pretty much buy everything that I can at my job, because I get discounts in almost every department. That's helps a lot. And they give you rewards to spend at the end of the quarter, depending on how much you spend. Free money man. Also I walk or bus to work. I try to walk most of the time but with the brain lately, that's a pain.

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