Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Budget Living Tips

budget living tips

As promised a list of budget saving tips. Many of you were freaked out when I implied living like a "college student". When I was a student I never ate ramen. My roommate and I cooked a ton. We stuck to easy meals like bean burritos and stir fry to stay healthy and on a budget. Now that I am a big kid the same rules apply. I keep our meals simple and with lots of seasonal vegetables. No soda or bubbly beverages. Water is free and wine is our treat.


I think the main thing in budgeting is being aware of what your spending your money on. Little purchases add up. I was the queen of getting late afternoon lattes and cute new necklaces from Forever 21 when I worked in New York. At the end of the week I would ask myself where did that $100 bucks go. I thought since I was spending less by shopping at budget stores I was actually saving money. In some cases it fun to buy some silly necklace but buying something just because it's cheap isn't saving you any money. Honestly, now that I'm broke I wished I saved and bought quality jewelry because now I just have a drawer full of broken rubbed off gold junk.


Budgeting is big subject that can't be summed up in one simple blog post. Here are just a few of my personal tips that I plan on keeping recession or not. Remember all of us having different ideas of budgeting. What may work for me may not work for you. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below.



1. Don't shop hungry. This could be applied in so many situations. Don't shop sad. Don't cruise the internet drunk...click and buy on amazon is just too easy. You get the idea. Don't put yourself in situations were you may be tempted to overspend. Make a plan what you need from the grocery store or while your out shopping. Need jeans? Get the jeans and leave.



2. Get rid of full cable package and watch it online instead. We cut down to just basic cable. We barely watch tv anyway. So spending $7 a month for an occasional boob tube time didn't seem so bad. If I'm in the mood for something I can't find on basic cable I can find most anything online. Try the free service hulu.com for some of your favorite shows.



3. We own one car. When we lived in New York metro area I took the train to work. When we decided to moved we intentionally sought out a town that had public transportation available. I live 16 miles from boston. But I can take the bus from my front door into the city for just $2.50. The commute to work for my boyfriend is a bit longer but his sanity and money saved is worth the extra time.



4. Having just one car in our driveway left us with an extra space. We ended up renting out the spot for the winter months to a neighbor. Greg loves getting his no effort put in parking check every month!



5. Turn down your heat. If it's winter outside you shouldn't be wearing shorts inside. Cranking the heat up is not only wasteful it dries your skin out too. We keep our heat at 63 degrees. Sounds crazy? Seriously you get use to it.



6. Our new goal is to stop eating out. When we lived in New York area we ate out all the time. I worked long hours and stopping for take out was faster then cooking. My time spent relaxing meant more to me then the savings. Now that we are home more I make dinner every night. I make sure to make enough for lunch the next day. Not only do we save money but we cut down on unnecessary calories.



7. We don't have a land line. Actually, we haven't had one since 2002. I just carry my cell phone. Thankfully, I have always lived in apartments/houses with good reception.



8. When making big purchases research like crazy. Read forums to hear what real consumers have to say about products. Researching definitely saves time and money. Their is nothing worse then make a big purchase and then have that product die out 2 months later. I hate those if I only knew moments.

8 comments:

  1. I love reading other people's budget living tips. We follow some of these too! We cut back to one car and purposely picked an apartment that is directly on the main bus lines, so neither of us has to drive or spend money on parking every day.
    I'm ashamed to admit that I can't give up my cable TV addiction, even though I shudder every time I see the bill. I know it will be the first thing to go if we have to scale back significantly, but for now I'm willing to cut back in other areas instead (I'm kicking my F21 habit too!).

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  2. i agree with rachel, i love hearing what people do to budget. i think my downfall is not keeping track of what i actually spend sometimes.
    i don't own a car or a tv, and i rarely go shopping. i go to the gym religiously so i get my $20 discount through the insurance company. i was actually really inspired when you said, "living like a college student" and determined to tighten my budget even more--you made it sound like a great part of the adventure, i thought!
    i need to work harder at saving for emergencies or necessities, and being more prepared. i know if i have a granola bar in my purse, i can make it home to cook dinner rather than splurging on a "snack" that is more money and calories than i really need.
    that all sounds more like confessions than ideas, i guess. . . .

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  3. I love your granola bar confession, Laura. I too use to stop to get a cookie because I felt like I was going to die because I was sooo hungry. Now I carry my water bottle. Cuts down on calories and spending. Damn I miss those cookies. :)

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  4. may seem silly but baking bread can save a money. it does take time, but mostly it's waiting time. we used to buy 3 or so lovely crusty loaves a week at $5 each. now I bake once a week and each loaf costs about 18 cents.
    It took a little practice to get the timing of everything right, but now my bread is almost as good as the stuff we used to buy, and a whole heck of a lot cheaper.

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  5. Great tips. I am guilty of the cable addiction. I have a love/hate relationship with my DVR. I cringe when I see our cable bill but I just can't say no!
    One thing that I do that helps a lot is I never carry cash. Everything can be bought with a credit card these days. If I don't have the cash to pay for something I find that I think twice about buying it if I have to use my card. I can keep track of my spending by looking at my bill at the end of the month and I never wonder where my money went. I also use a credit card that gives you back based on how much you spend. A lot of them do it these days, whether frequent flyer miles, upromise dollars or gift cards. You should get something out of the deal, right??

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  6. this goes along with cooking at home every night, but my fiance and I shop for groceries every Friday. We check out the sales our grocery store has online (all the big ones have them online) to decide our menu for the week. We only get meat on sale, and often buy it in bulk when it is and freeze it for later. When you plan your meals for a whole week, it makes it much easier to resist the temptations to get takeout, if you don't the food will spoil! And who wants to be wasteful?

    Also, I am a strict believer in the Brita water filter. Water is basically free, why waste money buying bottles and polluting the environment at the same time!

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  7. I love budgeting because it feels so great to save up and buy something you really, really love! I use Mint.com, an online budgeting program that helps me see what I'm buying and saving collectively - otherwise, at the end of the month I forget that I put that money on this card, and that on that card . . .

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  8. Hi, I'm officially un-lurking with this comment. ;)

    Sometimes if money is tight and I need to get over a shopping urge I'll go to my favorite store online (Anthro is a favorite for me) and just add everything I would ever want to the shopping cart. When you look at the total it usually satisfies the urge/freaks me out enough to move on with my week!

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