Sunday, July 20, 2008

Are You Tightening Up Your Wallet?

With the economy being what it is lately, everyone's looking at their money (MSNBC story). I've been tightening up my spending a bit.

I drive only to the essential places -- mainly the office (only 10 minute drive, no freeways)and try to plot out the errands so I can multi-task and not back-track. I get depressed seeing a fill up cost $50. I think... that's a payment. That's a night out (depending on the city you're in).

Stopped driving to the gym twice a week to walk to my neighborhood park, where I run, can swim if I want, and get to know the neighborhood. I've lived in the same place since 2000 and never saw the neighborhood and people up close. I've got some cuties living near me... never knew that!

Even started walking to the neighborhood restaurants and discovering new places to eat.

Gave up buying the morning coffee, and brew it at home. Put any leftovers in the fridge so I can have my evening ice coffee.

I love throwing whatever in the crock pot in the morning, and coming home to a homecooked meal... and it doesn't heat up the house at all.

Some of my friends are giving up Friday or Saturday nights out at clubs for home parties and gatherings. It's kinda fun not worrying about the right clothes, if you can park in the valet lot, or bartender tips on weekends.

For folks in their 20s, this is where a LOT of money is lost and unaccounted for... clubbing. Friday and Saturday at minimum $50 each night (that's the low side), that's almost $5,000 a year that could be saved... and imagine no hangovers, getting adequate sleep, inventing in work/professional clothes, and working on a craft/hobby/work in those lost hours?

I've always clipped coupons and learned the double coupon rules. Always used the frequent-customer cards. But two weeks ago, my Ralph's bill should have been $300... after coupons and frequent-customer card use, it was $168. Even the manager came and took a look. Of course, coupon clippers annoy (and impress) the people standing behind.

Speaking of Ralph's, they have a Coinstar machine there. Every couple weeks I drop off all the change I've accumulated recently. And I use that for grocery bill, or pocket cash... though my parents used to tell me to put that spare change in the bank. I'm still learning.

I'm trying to find my local shoe repair/shiner... to keep those old shoes and sneakers looking new for as long as possible. My parents used to tell me this, and of course I never listened until now.

Can't seem to give up air conditioner or new books. I can't bring myself to buy used books. Maybe because I know the authors get nothing from used book sales. Hmmm...

Every now and then I check out Saving Advice blog... some good suggestions there.

How are you tightening up? We could all use some tips for our budgets...


Anonymous said...

With my recent purchase of townhouse, I've gotta save money anyway. Instead of buying my lunch everyday, I bring it to work. I shop for groceries buying what's on sale rather than buying items that are full price. I've stopped buying clothes and shoes every month. I have enough clothes to fit a basketball team. Living in the NYC area, there are a ton of free events so I try not to spend money going to paid events. I buy monthly bus and subway passes to eliminate the hassles of parking and the high price of gas. I'm accumulating miles from business related expenses to purchase airline tickets and hotel rooms. I buy the songs that I like rather than buy the entire album. I too have a weakness for books so I haven't found a way to economize there.

Tayari Jones said...

Yesterday, I painted my own nails. They aren't are pretty as they are when I go to a salon, but they look alright. That's almost $100 a month I'll save. I'll use the salon only for special occaisions.

Cherlyn Michaels said...

Dang! You're good. Well, I've cut out Ebay temporarily (except for browsing). I always brought my own lunch to work, mainly to watch the calories. That's about it really. I've never been much of a big spender on anything but books, and I haven't had time to go to the bookstore lately.

Oh, but I did go motorcycle shopping this week. That's good if I look at the potential savings in gas (yeah, that's it.).