If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I am big on promoting transformation and growth in ALL aspects of life. You should be concerned with transforming your body, but don’t forget about you mind, soul, and finances.

In some ways reigning in your spending can be harder than controlling your diet. As tasty as cookies and cupcakes can be, what about the thought of a new home entertainment system? But it isn’t only the big ticket items, what about that Starbucks coffee you buy each morning?

Try the “latte factor” calculator available at this link. I ran through the calculator the $3 dollars I spent almost daily while in college for the two slices and a drink special at the local pizza place. If I had put that money in an IRA account at 7.5% interest here is what could have happened:

2 years = $2,092

5 years = $5,855

10 years = $14,260

15 years = $26,327

20 years = $43,651

Wow. That pizza was good, but it wasn’t that good. Do you see how simple it is to save for retirement (or about anything else).

So now that you see how easy it can be to save, maybe it is time you take some control over your finances. My wife and I are starting this process August 1 (the day we become a two income family).

Below I have provided LOTS of links on getting your finances in order as well as tips on saving money. But for now (before the page break) I want to offer what has been the BIGGEST savings for our family thus far.

PAY ATTENTION! We used to use our debit/credit card to buy groceries at Kroger and Wal-mart. We had no food budget to speak of. So when I went into our on-line bank account and tallied all our trips to Wal-mart and Kroger together I found out that some months we spent as much as $750 bucks at those two stores (the average was about $600). That was insane!

So what did we do? We decided on a reasonable food budget ($250 bucks) and put $250 bucks cash in an envelope that we bring whenever we visit the grocery store. When that money runs out we stop buying groceries. As a result. We cut out about$350 to $450 dollars wasted each month on impulse items and other non-essentials.

Wanna go the extra mile? Make a list before you go and STICK TO IT! Between your list and the knowledge that you only have so much money to spend you will do wonders to cut back on that food budget.

Want some tips getting started?

Set up a budget. Here are a couple suggestions on how to. Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4. For a good overall list visit here.

Here is a good suggestion for those who just aren’t good at budgeting. And if you are really bad about budgeting maybe you need to try this.

Consider refining your budget!

Can you learn to live on less? Here are some suggestions how. Link 1, Link 2.  Here are some personal stories of folks living on very little.  One woman is living on $6.50/hour, while another is living on about $12,000/yr.  For more tips on living poor to save money check out this woman’s story.

Now you’re on a budget, what next?

Get these old debts paid off…

try bargaining with your creditors.

Don’t let Uncle Sam keep your money interest free…

check your withholdings to make sure you aren’t giving the feds too much money. That money is better invested by you, than kept interest free by our greedy Uncle Sam.

How about buying stuff cheap…

at auctions

in bulk

join a community supported agriculture program in your area. Also see here.

use coupons. For more on saving on grocery shopping in general see here.

Let me know if these links help you get started.  Best of wishes in your new financial beginnings.

  1. honjii says:

    My laptop is being temperamental and doesn’t want to open your above links at the moment so if this is redundant, I apologize. I have found a couple of useful tricks for saving. I used to never spend coins, putting them in a jar then every so often wrapping them and taking them to the bank. This can be a time consuming pain in the butt. Then I decided to do the same thing with all my one dollar bills. I never spend a dollar. The smallest denomination I use to pay for anything is a five. When I receive my change I separate the ones from the other bills. When I get home the ones go into a box and stay there. It’s surprising how this adds up. It comes in handy if something unexpected comes up, or when it adds up to a few hundred it can be deposted into the bank.

  2. I’m tagging you to participate in the “8 things about me” funness. 🙂

  3. Lady Rose says:

    What great tips! And it definitely is a great idea to get your finances in order. Less STRESS!!!!! A lot of overeating can be caused by stress, so getting the rest of your life in order can help by reducing it.

    Lady Rose

  4. Chrissy says:

    Wow! Very interesting post! Totally makes sense too. Thanks for that!

  5. Angel says:

    ah yes gotta get the finances in order no doubt! 🙂

  6. drea says:

    Coffee is expensive. Im glad I dont drink it 😉 it stains your teeth hehe.
    I cant stand it.. husband is addicted to his AM coffee.. but he doesnt get starbucks.

  7. Coffee is nasty. I don’t even like the smell of it.

  8. Neil says:

    Great tips! I have heard that people spend something like 18% more when using credit cards rather than cash.

    And the little things, like $3 coffees 250 times per year really add up!

    And some things like movies have gotten out of control – you can easily drop $50 for a family of four to see a movie with popcorn and drinks. Just skip movies for a bit and go with rentals and you’ll save a bunch.

  9. bliss says:

    ah yes… i know just what you mean about the budget, etc. it has taken me many years to get where i am now. i only have two bills (other than utilities and rent). those are the requisite student loan and a car note (for the eco-friendly requisite hybrid vehicle). changing habits can be hard… i am thankful i was brought up by a frugal mother and a penny-pinching grandma. now if only my hubby could see his way to saving more and spending less…

  10. And some things like movies have gotten out of control – you can easily drop $50 for a family of four to see a movie with popcorn and drinks. Just skip movies for a bit and go with rentals and you’ll save a bunch.

    I don’t go, on principle, for that reason. Matinees only – no more than $6 for movies, thank you. 🙂

  11. […] good financial advice from Total Transformation here and […]

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