Recently we've been coming into a bit of money (finally getting paid from work I did last Fall, tax return, and my upcoming student loan check), which of course has made us say "oh man, now we can buy x, y, and z!" Which in turn makes me very nervous about coming out of money very quickly. So I decided to sit down and think about how we spend our money, how we could be saving it, and just to make me feel better about our skills as a financially savvy couple, how we are smart about it.
5 things we spend the most money on
1. Rent - We opted to live in a nicer apartment in a nicer area so that we a. wouldn't have to move again and spend money on that, b. have lots of nice bonuses to the complex like free gym, 2 pools, free speedy maintenance, great office staff, etc. So I feel semi-justified in this.
2. Food - We don't even spend that much on it, but that's where it goes if we ever have extra.
3. Gas - This is mainly on Nick (not that it's his fault). His commute every day, back an forth, is between 2-2 1/2 hours. I balance us out with a 30 minute round trip twice a week.
4. The pets (especially the dog) - Food, chew toys, cat litter, obedience classes, grooming. Ugh.
5. Clothes - My fault. I am a fashion addict. I generally have been very very good compared to how I normally shop, in the past 7 months since moving here I have spent less than I've spent in years. Solution, don't tempt fate, and it's generally worked.
5 of our biggest wastes
1. Forgetting to turn things off - Nick always forgets to turn lights off (including the outside light by the front door, even during the day time). I always forget to turn the heat off in the bedroom.
2. Forgetting our reusable bags - I know $.20 here or there seems small, but it adds up. That's a free banana or two each time you shop!
3. Eating out for lunch - Nick gets sick of what we have for leftovers, I can only fit 1 meal and 2 snacks in my bag when I'm gone for 11 hours. We each eat out at least once a week (or more sometimes for Nick).
4. Using our credit card for everything - This simultaneously saves us money (because of all the points we rack up and the free swag that therefore comes with it) and doesn't (like around Christmas when we had to pay for presents, social activities at home, etc.). Honestly, if we didn't still have the debt we've been carrying from when Nick lost his job a few years ago this probably wouldn't even be a problem considering 10 months out of 12 we pay off in full every time.
5. Don't carpool to school - Now that I've been making friends with more and more people at school I'm starting to realize how many people live within a mile of me. I already barely drive to school, but I could do my part for our budget and for the environment if I found a carpool partner. As far as Nick goes, no one else in his office would be stupid enough to live that far away.
5 of our biggest savers
1. Netflix - Our social life outside of school parties. $10 a month for movie night multiple times a week.
2. Tupperware/leftovers - We save all take-out plasticware and make large meals that last us many days and therefore many more lunches and dinners. Make that box of pasta count!
3. Summer time heat/AC - In the summer we rarely turn on the AC. During the day I close all the windows and the blinds blocking the heat and sunlight out. Then at night we open everything up and let the cool air rush in and air the place out. If anything the computer room gets a fan going once in awhile. And this way we don't feel so bad on the days when it's so hot that we have the AC on 24 hours.
4. Coupons and sales - Need I say more? I can't remember the last time I paid full price for something.
5. Knowing when to cut stuff out - I'm very good at knowing when to say, "we can't do that right now" or "we can't buy that this week" or "we don't really need that." Self-control is what it's all about.