Friday, September 12, 2008

Lack of $$, lack of posts.

I haven't been posting as much as I'd like - I think it's due to the fact that it's depressing looking at pretty homes and things when the husband and I are saving our pennies! I'm actually pretty frugal in general, but lately we've been working extra hard to limit extra spending.

So in light of our cheapness, I'd like to share some easy things we do to save money!

1.) We spend no more than $300 a month on groceries. An easy way to do this is to cut coupons, however most coupons are for food items that are NOT good for you, so I'm not an avid coupon cutter. I do these simple things:
  • I buy only from the perimeters of the grocery store. I buy fresh veggies, meats and cheeses and that's about it. (I'll sometimes venture into the no-no zone to pick up pasta, beans and kashi bars). I also buy the fruits and veggies that are on sale that week.
  • We buy our chicken in bulk at Costco.
  • When I cook dinner at night, I try to do a 3/1 ratio of veggies to meat. This stretches meat further (which costs the most).
  • We also eat leftovers - we cook 3 meals a week and stretch those out for 6 days.
2.) We love to eat out, but we don't go crazy. Dining out is one luxury that I cannot live without. It can get expensive, but we stick to a budget of $200 a month. This allows Matt and I to go out to lunch once a week with co-workers and once a weekend as a "date night", give or take a few meals. When Matt and I go out, we usually stick to more local places and avoid the chains. We also rarely buy alcohol at the restaurants. If we want to drink, we "pre-party" as we call it :)

3.) I never go shopping. As you can tell by this blog, I post a lot of things I see online that I love and want to buy (I RARELY ever do actually buy). This is because I never never never go to shopping. I believe that going shopping to just look is like an alcoholic going and sitting at a bar - what's the point??
  • I only buy things I know I need, that includes clothes and things for the home. I never buy something for our home that I don't know exactly in my mind where I would put it. This actually prevents me from buying 95% of things I pick up, because I hate clutter and knick knacks.
  • Also, keeping a blog of things I love is a way to release my wants. Instead of purchasing something, I blog about it instead and usually get the same satisfaction.
  • If I do finally need something, I shop around and always purchase either on sale or from discount stores. Overstock.com, Smartbargains.com, clothing sales (old navy, banana republic and j.crew all have great sales), Ikea, Target, TJ Maxx and Home Goods are pretty much the only places that eventually do get my $$.
4.) We NEVER CHARGE THINGS. I'm not saying we never have in the past, we did go through our childish "credit cards are the best" stage, but we are definitely over it.

5.) I track like crazy. I have an excel spreadsheet that I look at everyday so I know exactly where we are with our finances. In this spreadsheet each of our paychecks (four a month) are broken out by where the money is going to. I also have a box in this said spreadsheet that I type out all our financial goals. I recommend it to anyone, and if you want my template, shoot me and email.

6.) And last but not least, I ask my husband and vice versa. This is a great way to stay grounded. When we think we just HAVE to have something, we ask each other and 99% of the time each of us can talk each other out of it. Think of it as a checks and balances.

I'm sure most of these are no brainers for most married couples, but I hope you found them a little bit helpful. I consider these our Financial Newlywedisms 101; as we go further in our lives together I'll try and share how we deal with more pressing financial issues such as saving for a home, saving for a baby, stocks, emergency funds etc.

54 comments:

  1. Very timely post, this article was in the NYTimes Top 10 today regarding married life and discussing financial goals:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/business/businessspecial3/10WED.html?em

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was a great post. We're in the same boat, trying to save our pennies as best we can. When it comes to shopping, I haven't bought a piece of clothing in a long time, however when it comes to the house, I guess I'm like you in that I don't buy anything unless I know where to put it.

    It's great that you guys have a system. Having a partner to keep you grounded helps a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great advice! Would you mind emailing me your template? I created my own, but I think you may have a better one. Thanks!=)
    eventcoordinator4mts@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love the post Bryn! And I would love your template! LaLu429@aol.com

    Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. These are some great suggestions. Have you ever read "Smart Couples Finish Rich"? It's a great read and is filled with info about saving and investing :)

    My husband and I have an agreement to always discuss any purchase above $50. It really does help minimize mindless spending. It's cool to hear that you and your husband do something similiar!

    ReplyDelete
  7. We have also been pinching our pennies and have been following through on several of your items.

    We just recently started using mint.com in addition to our spreadsheets and I've been so happy with it. It automatically takes the info from our accounts and tabulates it. So, we can see how close it is to our tracking.

    Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very cool! We do almost all the same things!!! Love your blog ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love your blog! Could you email me that spreadsheet? ferfer5921@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for such a great post! I would really like your template. My e-mail is carib976@gmail.com.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great tips, I would love a copy of the template, we are trying to get more organized with money. My email is: kari3031@aol.com

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'd love to see your template too! I find that I'm not very good about tracking our finances and the templates I've used just don't seem to work for me.

    katieecoleman @ hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just emailed you! Great tips :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Fantastic post Bryn. I'm proud of you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I need to start budgeting asap!!!! I keep saying we will, lets hope that your post can motivate me to do it ;)

    Will you email me your template...
    Tiffklin@yahoo.com

    You are awesome

    ReplyDelete
  16. GREAT advice! I can very much relate.
    I would love a copy of your template - vanessa@markessaxo.com

    Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. All great advice, Bryn! Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey Brynn, great advice! As a former Southern Cali resident, we were in the same boat. Those lessons in money have stayed with us now that we live in a much LCOL area. Great tips and love your blog.

    Would you also mind sending me your template?

    craigsjen@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great post Bryn! Keep the budgeting posts coming!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Derek & I were at a similar place about a year ago... just out of school and newly engaged. Sticking to a firm budget really helped us. Another thing that helped was setting goals, and dates for those goals. For example, ours were like...

    1. Pay for the wedding all in cash - which required saving
    2. Buy a house by Feb. - which we did!
    3. Apply for promotion at work by July - which I did, and got it!

    Goals helped us encourage each other in areas where we needed it!

    ReplyDelete
  21. great post! i get so stressed out with finances. please email me.

    catmle@gmail.com

    PS - you always have great tips on your blog. love it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Would you please e-mail me your template? I love your blog and check it every day!

    Katy

    kwidrick@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I would have to say that my husband and I have just about exactly the same money habits. Especially the statement about not shopping. I know that I could be easily convinced to buy a new purse or tank top if I go into a store, so I just don't go at all now.
    We are saving for a down payment and whenever I'm tempted to buy something frivolous, I think about how those little purchases really add up and in a few years I'll be happy that we saved so much.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Such great advice! We have a wedding coming up in the next year and would like to upgrade to a new home in the months following. Organizing our savings/finances is what we are all about right now! I would love to see your template if you wouldn't mind.

    2bewed09@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Seems like a plan, sounds good. :)

    Though personally I don't like budgets and prefer to instead minimize expenses and try not to be too materialistic. But they help sometimes.

    And... my plan is to put a lot of effort into improving my financial situation while I'm young so I can focus on other stuff later on.

    Really like Sarah Danielle's story, good job!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great post--and very timely for me as my husband just lost his job. Would you mind sending me your template? Thanks!! Keep the financial posts coming. :-)

    Sara

    thomswife@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great tips- thank you! I tried an excel sheet but gave up after a few months because it wasn't too user friendly...I'd love to try yours! katie.norton@yahoo.com.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Cute blog! I found it by looking for other newlywed blogs.

    i'd love a copy of your excel spreadsheet - we just got hooked on Dave Ramsey (you should check him out, if you don't know about him already!) and thankfully we are debt free, but we are wanting to start doing a budget and put more money away for the future.

    my email is kisaacsgsu(at)gmail (dot)com. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for the tips! I tagged you on my blog, check the latest post for details!

    ReplyDelete
  30. You've been tagged...Check my blog for details!

    ReplyDelete
  31. oh goodness...I have NEVER cut coupons in my life and now two months into being married and after having a 300 person 5 event big indian wedding....I am coupon cutting with avengance!!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Could you please e-mail me your exl sheet? I have a sheet that I track all our bills with but like to see how you have your organized. Thanks so much!

    sarah

    sarah [at] mindstorminteractive.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. i just found your blog and i love it. do you mind sending me your spreadsheet?

    erakin11@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. awesome post! We're doing the same. It's not easy, but it's nice to know we're not the only one pinching pennies ;)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great post! I loved your tips, as I am working on putting my mental budget on paper. Some say I am a shopaholic, but I am also a coupon-aholic, and only buy clothes (or anything else for that matter) when it is on sale...and I am talking really good sales. Plus, I like to think that I am practical as well. Keep those posts coming! I would love to see your template: julie.sancken@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Great post and advice. My husband and I attended a Dave Ramsey class before we were married in January. It has done wonders for our budgeting and financial situation. He has some similar advice. Thanks for sharing your personal experience though! It's always encouraging....

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hello, I love your blog! Can you please e-mail me your template?

    cc_arriola@yahoo.com

    Thanks a bunch!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Sorry for the late comment, but I loved this post. It started quite an interesting conversation at home. I loved the part about keeping each other grounded. If it's possible, could you email me your template. DH is really interested if I can do this. I would LOVE your help proving him I can be financially responsible. :)
    Thanks,
    sabrina
    sisaac830@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Great post, I'd love to see your spreadsheet! My email is jennifermichele@hotmail.com. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  40. hi! can you email me your template? i recently found your blog and its great!

    thx

    jkarkoski003@yahoo.com

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. We are really good at pinching our pennies because we have to be. We are currently stuck with two mortages due to a job transfer during the market downfall. I could always use so advice. Thanks a bunch for this post. It is nice to see that others can't just go buy whatever they desire too. Please e-mail me your spreadsheet. Thanks,
    massage4utoday@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. could you email me your template? i'm dying to find a better way to track my money!

    ReplyDelete
  43. could you email me your template? i'm dying to find a better way to track my money!

    ReplyDelete
  44. i just found your blog and i love it. do you mind sending me your spreadsheet?

    erakin11@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. Cute blog! I found it by looking for other newlywed blogs.

    i'd love a copy of your excel spreadsheet - we just got hooked on Dave Ramsey (you should check him out, if you don't know about him already!) and thankfully we are debt free, but we are wanting to start doing a budget and put more money away for the future.

    my email is kisaacsgsu(at)gmail (dot)com. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Great post--and very timely for me as my husband just lost his job. Would you mind sending me your template? Thanks!! Keep the financial posts coming. :-)

    Sara

    thomswife@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  47. I would have to say that my husband and I have just about exactly the same money habits. Especially the statement about not shopping. I know that I could be easily convinced to buy a new purse or tank top if I go into a store, so I just don't go at all now.
    We are saving for a down payment and whenever I'm tempted to buy something frivolous, I think about how those little purchases really add up and in a few years I'll be happy that we saved so much.

    ReplyDelete
  48. great post! i get so stressed out with finances. please email me.

    catmle@gmail.com

    PS - you always have great tips on your blog. love it.

    ReplyDelete
  49. GREAT advice! I can very much relate.
    I would love a copy of your template - vanessa@markessaxo.com

    Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. Fantastic post Bryn. I'm proud of you!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Thanks for such a great post! I would really like your template. My e-mail is carib976@gmail.com.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Very cool! We do almost all the same things!!! Love your blog ;)

    ReplyDelete
  53. These are some great suggestions. Have you ever read "Smart Couples Finish Rich"? It's a great read and is filled with info about saving and investing :)

    My husband and I have an agreement to always discuss any purchase above $50. It really does help minimize mindless spending. It's cool to hear that you and your husband do something similiar!

    ReplyDelete

THANK YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate each and every comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...