Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Episode 1: The Spending Stops Now!

Paying bills.  Balancing the checkbook.  Yuck.  It's not a fun process, but I must say, it can be very eye opening.  Today, at this very second, I am vowing to do better.  What I mean is, I see our money going out-out-out, but I'm not doing a very good job of keeping it in.  While we do have a budget in place, lately, I've been using it more as a guideline.  I implemented our current system (which I love) to do better - that was over 1.5 years ago, and I've slipped lately.  I'm ashamed BUT, I know I can do better.  So, starting now, I'm taking a pledge to do better!!!  I'm not talking about just my DIY's or organizing projects, I'm talking about spending in general:  groceries, staying home instead of going out and about...everything!

NOW, I am not saying that every once in a while I won't splurge, but I'm also not going to go all crazy and shut the power off in the house at 9pm every night so we save a few bucks (yes, I've seen this on some TLC show...insane [I'm shaking my head while typing that last sentence]).  I will splurge but ONLY if I've saved the money ahead of time.  You've seen in my past posts that I've said that I "splurged" or "saved my pennies" for certain items.  I am being 100% honest about all of that.  But, I want to do better.  I know I can do better about saving more AND be more frugal.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!

A couple weeks ago, I decided to try a new method of saving.  It's an all cash system rather than putting money in my savings account.  I've heard of a money guru Dave Ramsey that swears by the cash envelope system.  We do not use that system and I'll get into what system we use in a later post...all that budgeting jive will probably end up being a multi-series post.  Here's what I did:

  • I purchased this accordion file from Target in the dollar bins.  Love me some CHEVRON!!! 
  • The accordion file came with some handy labels, but in true Megan Style, I had to put a little fun into it!

  • The labels were rounded but...we all know I don't roll like that, so out came the Washi Tape!!!  Pretty feather blue print.  I made them rectangular labels instead of the rounded.  I didn't feel like taking the scissors to round it out.  And with the help of my trusty label maker I came up with the photo below! 
  • I thought about the different things I wanted to save for, so here are my categories:
    • Vacation-we don't really vacation, but Hawaii IS in my future - maybe not now, or 5 years from now, but it IS going to happen
    • Organizing Money -I'm fortunate enough that I have a large store of organizing supplies in my utility room (from YEARS of OCD), but sometimes, there's just a few items that I MUST have.
    • Fun Money-this is money reserved for my shopping trips with my sister (sometimes my Mom and cousin get involved) and/or friends - usually consists of clothing, shoes and purses.
    • Bedroom-I have a dream to re-do our bedroom.  Nothing big; paint, curtains, bedding - but it's not free.  :(  I'm always brainstorming ideas to cut costs and do DIY's (Hubby is usually a must have in this department - he won't teach me to use the saw or nail gun - rightly so).
    • Laundry Room - I want to paint, add new shelves and sew a shower curtain and window curtain...again, not free.
    • Fives - I very RARELY have cash, but when I get my hands on a five dollar bill, I don't spend it.  It goes directly into the 'Fives' category.  No idea what I'm going to do with it, but I don't think about that money and someday, it will add up! 

  • Lastly, I thought having a type of ledger in a couple of the categories would be helpful.  I estimated how much I thought it'd cost to do what I wanted to do in both the laundry room and bedroom.  I wrote it all out and on the bottom half I put how much money is in the file and I'll keep adding to it as I save (just an FYI, this is a dummy ledger - I just implemented this new system so it's a work {I should say 'saving'} in progress).  I simply used a piece of scrap paper that I had on hand and wrote out my estimates.  While I REALLY wanted to use Washi tape, I refrained since this paper was cute and colorful on its own!
Every time I get my hands on cash, some will go into this little slice of savings.  While I'm fully aware that it's going to take a LOT of time for it to add up, it'll also keep me (and my spending) in check.   You've got to start somewhere - baby steps!!!  This is just one of my ideas to save some moolah - there's plenty more ideas where that came from!!!  So, consider this Episode 1 of 'Budgeting & Money-Saving Ideas'.

*Side note:  There's yet another rogue bullet within my post...seriously, tricky little suckers!*

**Side note 2:  Starting the week of April 28th, I will be posting every Tuesday and FRIDAY - rather than Thursdays**

Until Thursday...

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