Friday, May 9, 2014

Episode 6: Finish Line

Last week I ended Episode 5 talking about how I file all the bill stubs, receipts, statements...well, here's how I do it.
 Remember this?  This is yet another hub of the house.  This is where the filing takes place.  Here's a glimpse on what's inside:
The Pink (top) Drawer:
  •  Notebooks
  • Accordion files to use whenever I find a use for them.
  • Printer ink
  • Envelopes
  • Printer paper
  • Large accordion files full of page protectors, labels, etc.

The Green (middle) Drawer:

  • I grabbed colorful hanging files from Walmart.  They were $4.97 for 25.  I use these for the kids school/daycare work, papers, artwork.  This drawer is for this purpose's only going to grow.
The Teal (bottom) Drawer:
  • These drab green hanging files were free.  I'm not griping because this Mama loves free.  In this bottom drawer, I busted out the label maker (again, this was pre-Washi tape) and labeled every file so it would be easy to find everything.  The whole right section is strictly for instruction/operating manuals for everything we own.  Yep!  I'm serious.  They are all in one spot and easy to find. 
  • There are two other sections in this drawer, but for the sake of privacy, I didn't take a photo of it.  But, you can imagine what the folders are labeled with:  insurance, water bill, vehicle information...etc.  I'm sure you get the idea.
  • This system really does make for easy filing - for someone who isn't lazy to do it.  *She types blushing*

Last but not least here are a few ways and ideas that you can save a few bucks here and there.  I'm not going to go all extreme cheapskate on you, but some things that just might work for you!!!

1.  Online shop when it's free shipping.  Shipping in itself can cost as much as the item you're purchasing.

2.  Unsubscribe to e-mail alerts.  OR, discipline yourself to delete them when they pop up in your inbox.  How many of you have received a 35% off your entire purchase at Gap and thought "Wow!  That's awesome, I could use that hideous dress because after the discount, it's only $12!!!"?  If you unsubscribe, the temptation isn't there.  OR, discipline yourself to delete them until you actually NEED something from said store.

3.  Get rid of cable.  EEK!!!  We just did this.  And so far, we haven't missed it.  Granted we're on day 14, but that's 14 days down on the 'Cable Rehab' program.  Steps.  Baby steps.  We figured if we wanted something new and different, we could invest in something like Netflix or Hulu (*Side note:  I've recently gotten addicted to the show 'Teen Wolf' - I wish I was kidding, but it's flipping awesome - thanks to JK for letting me borrow the seasons...I have now asked my MIL to DVR it for me since I got rid of cable*), they run about $8/month vs. $60?  $75?  $100?!?!  Whatever you pay, you could be pocketing that money instead.  Trust me, for homebodies like us, this was a tough decision until we realized the only reason we had cable was for Disney Junior.  Yes, this is true. We haven't missed it yet. 

4.  Make meatless meals.  NOOOO!!!  Not really.  Sorry folks, this lady loves her beef, chicken and pork.  Grocery shop instead of going out to eat.  I know this one is a broken record, but it's so true.  We go out to eat as a family about once a month.  Most of the time we're going someplace the kids want but even then, it's about $40 for one meal.  I don't mind doing it every now and then, but knowing I can make a meal for about $5-$8 in total makes me smile!  Make lists, stick to them (easier if you don't have the rest of the family in WILL walk out with $25 worth of stuff you didn't plan on buying), meal know the drill!!!

5.  Shop at Aldi.  I have a very serious relationship with Aldi.  I love their prices and most of their products.  I have not had good luck with their bagged onions, half are usually rotten in the middle.  Every. Time.  My sister has had the same problem so I know I don't have a rotten touch.
We always shop Aldi first to get whatever we can off our list there, then we go to Walmart.  I haven't had to shop there nearly as much as I have in the past since shopping at Aldi.

6.  Don't buy if you don't need it.  I found that when we'd get the weekly ads, we'd go back to the store and buy a whole bunch of stuff we didn't budget for.  In turn, going over budget.  In the past few weeks, I simply haven't been doing that.  Now, if the $1/bag of cheese comes back around, you bet your sweet bippy I'll be broke stocking up on it.  I'm nearly out of cheddar cheese!!!  Yes, I'm serious.

7.  Take your lunch to work.  It's so easy to just buy something at work, but you're also spending $5-$12 for one meal.  The thought makes me cringe.  BUT, again, every once in a while is just fun!!!

8.  Broken record alert!!!  Say no to credit cards.  If you're good about paying them off each month to reap the rewards that are attached to them, good for you!!!  If not, get rid of it and run away as fast as you can.  That's a sinking ship, in shark infested waters, with a plank, with a toothless sword wielding pirate waiving said get the idea.

9.  Learn to love being home.  We make the most out of being home.  Games, movie nights (complete with popcorn and M&M's [I prefer Milk Duds]), outside play EVERY chance we get, going to local parks, having family and friends over...the list is endless!!!  It helps that we have wonderful neighbors we enjoy!!!

10. Save money on envelopes by saving the envelopes that companies send to you to pay your bill.  If you're like me, you pay online and are stuck with a LOT of paper envelopes, so, I save those and use them for other purposes.  Think of it as a reduce, reuse, recycle kind of thing.

11.  Turn down or turn up your thermostat.  When it's cold, wear a parka inside and crank that bad boy down.  When it's hot, strip down to the bare minimum and turn the AC up. 

12.  A sweet reader of mine (you know who you are JC), said that she saves up their spare change year round and uses the money for summer fun!  Trips to the zoo, ice cream dates, pool days...options are endless...well, there is an end when you run out of money. 

13.  If you can wait for a sale, wait it out.  I know that sometimes you just REALLY want a certain product, but it's too expensive.  Wait for a sale or do what my SIL does, talk the salesperson into a discount.  Yes, she does this.  You never know until you ask.  I've never done this but I know she has a handful of times and it's been a success!!!

14.  To save on wrapping paper, I keep the comics out of the Sunday paper and wrap with it.  Granted, I don't get the Sunday paper but my FIL is so kind to save it (and the coupons) for me every, single week.

15.  Make your own coffee.  Now, I ADORE Starbucks.  I really do, but what I usually want is an iced chai.  The cost of a venti iced chai is close to $5.  Well, at Target they sell the same brand (Tazo) iced chai in a carton and all you do is add milk.  Same thing, but only costs $3.99 (you can get it for $2.99 on sale!) and you can get almost 5 full servings out of one carton.  No brainer?  You betcha.

I know there are a MILLION ways to save money, and I'd really LOVE to hear what you do to do just that.  So please, share with me what you do to keep the cash in your pocket!!!

TA-DA!!!  There you have it.  Only 6 full episodes on how I do our organizing for everything budget!!!  I really hope it made sense and that it was kind of helpful.

*This is an addition to my DIY Treasure Box.  Another sweet reader of mine (you know who you are MS) said that another fun kind of paper you could use for covering the treasure box boxes could be the comics.  I LOVE that idea and will do that the next time we do a project like that!!!*

**Another addition to my DIY Treasure Box...I did get the iced chai shortly after I posted - it was AMAZING - I did have a gift card so I didn't have to spend the $5.  Thanks again JK!!!**

Have a most wonderful, brilliantly amazing weekend!!!

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