Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ways I've learned to save money/ What's the point of a no spend day

Where there is no vision, the people perish
-Prov. 29:18
- The number one way I've learned to save money is to plan out my purchases. If I don't bring a list to the store then I will buy a good deal of random excessive stuff that we do not need. Ideally the list will be well thought out with the majority of items on sale and/or that I have coupons for.

- Not eating out/ drive through/ delivery is a very effective way for my family to save money.

- Similarly if I'm able to avoid buying food at work/ while working then I save a great deal of money. I'm continually amazed at how much money I save when I don't buy food at work and how much money absolutely flies out of the bank account on weeks that I get lazy and don't plan food for work.

- Simply not using the charge card is also a really good way to save money. Let's say you're really good at paying your balance before interest kicks in. Well you're already one up on the majority of people and way up on me but "a study of credit card use at McDonald’s found that people spent 47% more when using credit instead of cash," regularly sighted by Dave Ramsey. People simply tend to spend less when they're spending real money as opposed to credit which can offer a disconnect to reality. I know this is true for me.

- Contemplating a purchase two or three times before you make it is a really good way to save money. Let's say you want to buy a new rug; first of all do you actually need it? Second, if you've come to the conclusion that you really"need" a new rug I recommend not buying the rug you come across until your second or third trip to the store. Chances are very high that you'll find a cheaper one in the mean time, find one you like more, or decide in the end you don't need it after all. And lastly if you end up purchasing it I think you'll be much happier with your new rug and have a greater appreciation for it after all the thought you've put into it. More times than not patience is a very good way to save money.

- I'm very slowly, day by day, getting better at sale hunting and coupon using but obviously spending less on the things you regularly buy is a very good way to save money. I'd suggest stopping by Sluggy's blog if you want to be a great bargain shopper.

- Frugal hacks. 1.) I never buy paper towels or napkins. If someone in this home needs a napkin then they can use a wash cloth. I use old socks for any paper towel use. Yes, they aren't pretty but once the sock is quite worn I cut the toe off (so that we don't continue wearing the old ratty thing) and begin it's second life as a kitchen rag. 2.) I love using spaghetti sauce jars for drinking glasses. 3.) I trim my own hair. 4.) I groom our dogs. 5.) I'm not entirely sure how frugal cloth diapers are, I like to think they're very much so, but after taking sometime to grow on me I LOVE not buying diapers and using cloth diapers for my kiddo. He only wears a diaper to sleep at night now but I truly feel good putting one on him every night. It's awesome not buying diapers. I'm sure there's others but I'm drawing a blank. 6.) Something I've learned from frugallychallenged over at trundling through life is that very old worn sheets make for excellent soft facial tissues. We, thank the Lord, very rarely get sick around here but a strong runny nose and an old sheet sewn into a lovely tissue go wonderfully together. They really are the best.

- Keep it simple. Find free activities that you love. It seems people are always trying to find something exciting to do; entertainment. But simply enjoying the people you're with and noticing the loveliness of today can be very entertaining. I find that going for a simple walk with my son and focusing on each other and our surroundings can be, sometimes, the most fun thing ever. Watching a movie at home, making it a neat event instead of just another movie can be very entertaining. Just the other day we went sledding and it was the most fun free activity ever. My family loves walking around downtown and not buying anything but just enjoying the day together. Simple can be very wonderful.

- I find that no spend days encourage me to spend less.

I wrote the following almost two years ago so I thought it might be time for a refresher:
What's the point of a no spend day anyway, after all if I don't buy the milk, and the eggs, and the cocoa powder today I'll just buy it tomorrow. What did I accomplish by putting off the purchase just one day?

I'd like to think that NO SPEND days are very healthy like exercise. For financial weaklings like me successfully accomplishing challenges like a NO SPEND help significantly strengthen my financial muscles. Even if you'll just purchase the milk, eggs, and cocoa powder tomorrow you still had to have a plan in place that allowed you to have all your necessities for today. And every single NO SPEND day guards you from impulse buys. You weren't able to plop that candy bar on the belt today if you didn't spend a penny now were you?

NO SPEND days:
Help teach the unorganized shopper to plan
Guard against impulse buys
Offer little financial goals during the long arduous process of paying off debt
Encourage frugality
Definitely help save money
If you try for a few NO SPENDs I think you'd be surprised at the little things you end up not buying.

All that being said I didn't focus on no spends very much last year. This year I really am shooting for an every other day average. It's the biggest no spend challenge I've taken on but as long as I don't fall behind in a major way it's a very doable challenge. 182 no spends for 2015!

14 comments:

  1. I learned about no spends from 12$ a day, and it's an extremely effective way of saving money.
    Also, nothing else makes you appreciate the smaller things in quite the same way.

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    1. Thank-you :) I must wholeheartedly agree

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  2. It looks as though you've really thought this one through. It is SO much down to planning.

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    1. I almost wrote that several times. Planning, planning, planning. Yep, that's the key.

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  3. Excellent post!! This is a great blueprint for someone wanting to dive into a frugal lifestyle and an excellent reminder to those who already strive to live frugally. :)

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  4. I have quite a few no spend days in a week. Living just out of town does help as I am not tempted to drive the 7kms (4 miles) to the shops. I stick to only the things on my list and don't go browsing in any other shops. It feels good not spending so much money and time...Nowadays I would rather pay $$ off the mortgage, than in the shops :)

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    1. Sticking to stuff on the list is getting easier for me but it used to be virtually impossible. And good call, paying off the mortgage rather than giving extra money to the shops :) That's the goal here too.
      I'm in a supermarket 5 days a week for work. no spends are quite the challenge sometimes for me.

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  5. I think no spend days a re a great way to save money. It does help you plan ahead and it becomes a money saving game!

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    1. That's a great way to put it, "a money saving game." That about sums it up too.

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  6. I always have a list as well and NEVER use credit cards (we cut all of ours up) because I feel like I have no self-control - like you said, it doesn't seem like you are spending money when you pull out plastic, but boy when you have to part with the cash in your hand you think twice about your purchases!

    Sue :)

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    1. It's nice to hear from someone else on the cards. I know it's true... I mean there have been studies done and all. I am completely one of those folks that feels like they're not really spending money when I pull out the plastic. It's a cruel trick.

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  7. For the handkerchiefs from sheets....Do you just sew two squares of the sheet together? Anything in the middle? I'm atrocious at the sewing machine but that seems simple enough and a good idea...

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    1. I suppose there's several ways to go about it. I'm absolutely no pro at sewing. I'd recommend just cutting a good size square and just sewing the edges over so there aren't exposed edges. My son loves the tissues made from one really old pillow case. It's so very soft. I have an old sheet that goes with that I will eventually turn into tissues as well.

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