Posts Tagged ‘money’

1) Cutting Back on Wal-mart. While there are great savings to be had at Wal-mart, there is also a great potential for abusing your wallet.  We used to visit Wal-mart three or more times a week, and it seemed like every time we visited Wally Mart my wallet vomited money (not a pretty picture..but just be glad I didn’t go with the diarrhea analogy).    So many cheap things that only cost $1 here or $3 dollars there, add it all up and it amounted to spending anywhere from $45 to $225 per trip.   Between implementing shopping lists and recognizing that I am the impulsive buyer in the family (and taking steps to address that weakness) we have significantly lowered what we spend at Wal-mart each month.

  • Previous Spending = $600
  • New Spending = $275
  • Savings = $325 ($3900 annual savings)

2) Cutting the Cable Cord.  Between Hulu.com and Netflix, there is no reason to hang on to cable anymore.

  • Previous Spending – $26
  • New Spending = $0
  • Savings = $26 ($312 annual savings)

3) Eating IN.  We were spending so much money on eating out it was ridiculous.  Even the local pizza place cost $22 for three people to eat a large pizza, three sodas, and a small side of garlic knots.  Some months our dining out habit cost us $200/month.  But usually we spend about $125 between local pizza places, McDonald’s, etc.

  • Previous Spending = $125
  • New Spending = $20
  • Savings = $105 ($1260 annual savings)

4) No More Phone Bills.  Well we do get phone bills, but we cut our long distance service on our land line and we only use MagicJack for long distance calls.

  • Previous Spending = $49
  • New Spending = $21
  • Savings = $28 ($336 annual savings)

5) Staying at the Pump. One of the biggest surprises in reviewing our spending habits was discovering how much money we wasted at gas station convenience stores.   Buying a pack a soda and a small package of beef jerky might only cost $3.50 each time, but added up over a month it totals about $30.   So pay by credit card, stay at the pump, pack your travel snacks- and store a few non-perishable extras in the glove compartment for when you forget to pack a snack one day.

  • Previous Spending = $30
  • New Spending = $0
  • Savings = $30 ($360 annual savings)

…The Results…

  • Wal-mart   $325
  • TV                 $  26
  • Eating In    $105
  • Phone         $28
  • Convenience Store Spending  $30
  • TOTAL SAVINGS/MONTH = $514 ($6,168 annual savings)

Some of these budget cuts won’t work for you, and that is fine.  We each have different spending habits and our budgets hemorrhage cash depending on our own impulses, weaknesses, tastes, etc.   When you review you spending habits (write down EVERYTHING you spend even a penny on for a month and review your bank statements from the past) you will see the areas where you’re spending beyond your means or wasting funds.  It’s not as hard as you might think and making these changes isn’t all that painful either.  Please feel free to post additional ideas on cutting budget or your own success stories when it comes to budget cutting in the comments section.

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    Groceries represent a major part of our budget.  They also represent a major issue when it comes to fat loss since what’s in your fridge has a great deal to do with your nutritional intake.  So this budget move aims to fix two problems simultaneously; we will hopefully fatten our savings while slimming our waists.    How will we do this:

    (1) We are giving coupons a second chance.  We tried this several times over the last four years but we never planned in advance, it was usually a matter of buying a Sunday paper at the grocery store, then shopping.  And predictably enough, it was a debacle and a half.  We ended up buying a bunch of stuff we didn’t need (not to mention plenty of unhealthy snacks).

    (2) Our Grocery list has authoritarian powers.  Our grocery list has become the closest thing to a dictator in this house (and in the store).  When we hit the Wal-mart or the Kroger we only allow ourselves ONE item that isn’t on the list (just in case we  forget an essential).

    (3) The calculator called shotgun. We write down the cost of everything that goes in the cart and we tally it up before we hit the register.  That way there are no surprises.

    (4) Pre-planned major meals. While breakfast and lunch are usually individual meals (especially during the week), we plan each dinner for the week and most of the weekend meals before we draw up our shopping list.  It keeps the food included on the shopping list down to a minimum and it also keeps us from overeating.

    (5) Buy LOTS Non-perishables  when they are on Sale.   Make sure you take advantage of the sales on paper towels, tissue paper, cleaning supplies, etc. when they come along.  We recently got Boston Butt pork roasts for .79 cents a lb at the local Harris Teeter.  If only we had more freezer space we would have purchased more.   Usually that cut of meat goes for anywhere from $1 to 1.79/lb.  One five lb roast, left in the slow cooker or the rotisserie and combined with some spices or sauces can feed our family of three for at least three meals.

    Using these techniques we are hoping to bring our grocery budget, once a whopping $550+/month, down to a more manageable $65/week.

    Sasha and our cat Joel

    Since I’ve already received some odd looks over my choice to spend almost $4,000 to fix my dog Kane, I figured I would pose a related question.  This question came to mind as my wife reminded me that our cat Joel is almost 14 years old.  The question is simple:

    Assuming you owned both a dog and cat, hypothetically of course, and both needed expensive medical treatment to prolong their lives, where would you draw the line?  Can you define an objective amount, say $10,000, for each?  If not, would you be more likely to spend more on keeping your dog alive than your cat?  If so, why?

    When answering the above questions please, if you feel comfortable, also state whether you own a dog, cat, or other pet. (more…)

    First, thank you ALL for your prayers and kind comments over the last two days.  You have helped us immensely, and your thoughts and prayers have been a greater blessing than we could ever hope to thank you for.  But I must say the words that can’t possibly repay you, THANK YOU.  If only I could give each and everyone of you a big hug.

    Since Kane’s care doesn’t come cheap, and some have already asked if they could help out with a small donation, I decided to post a link here for those who want to provide some financial assistance for Kane’s care.  If you want to help us pay for Kane’s treatment (MRI, surgery, etc.) please click on the link below which will take you to PayPal.

    Help us Pay for Kane’s Treatment

    FYI: Current estimates for Kane’s care are $2,000 to $2,500 for his diagnostic treatments (x-rays, blood tests, MRI, exams, etc.) and, these numbers aren’t solid since the diagnostics won’t be completed until tomorrow, about $2,000 to $3,500 for surgery- depending on what he needs.  We will know much more by tomorrow when he has his MRI, but the doctors think it is best to take him straight from his MRI to surgery- if it is required- since it is best to only put him under anesthesia once.

    If you want to cut out the PayPal middle man (or you simply don’t have a PayPal account) just email totaltransformation@yahoo.com and I will gladly give you an address where you can send a check or money order.  I appreciate all your help- and our whole family thanks you for your prayers and donations.  Keep in mind that since I am NOT a 501(c)3 organization your donations are NOT tax deductible- even if they are enormously appreciated.

    A page from out adoption photo album. It features Kane and Lucius.

    UPDATE: Kane is going for his MRI at 2:40 p.m. and will have his surgery immediately afterward if it is required.  The spot on his lung turned out to be nothing and his blood work looked great.  Praise God!

    Well there is lots of stuff to catch up on so maybe I should say something like, “Coming this Week”

    First I have to “dance with the one that brung me” and get back to some good old fashioned weight loss blogging. I have gotten a bit off track and forgotten my Excel spread sheets for the last few days. Well, I plan on bringing them back. I am also putting together a new post on sex and exercise (related to the VERY popular sexercise post– now viewed over 4,200 times) that will come with an interesting challenge. (more…)

    Although most of the big ticket items of the adoption process are being paid for by L.F.S. and grants from the state, we are still facing a significant amount of costs for various and sundry things ranging from a fire inspection to medical exams. After you read through this list, I ask that you please add the prayer requests (listed at the conclusion of this post) to your prayers for the next several days. (more…)

    For your enjoyment and benefit, the following is a brief reference guide to help you learn the importance of avoiding debt, how to save (regardless of your income), and and how to save painlessly (and for the masochists- painfully).  (more…)