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how do you save money?

Anyone have any tips and tricks for saving money? 

H and I recently got rid of our debit cards.  Hoping that's going to help us save A LOT.  We had gotten really bad about our spending - we would just buy, buy, buy whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  Reality finally hit us and we are desperately trying to turn over a new leaf and start seriously saving money.  We keep saying we are going to put $50 per paycheck into our savings account too, but that hasn't happened yet - we've been saying it for three years :/

Anyone save change, obsessively turn off lights and appliances, etc?  Walk instead of drive when possible?  What do you all do to save money?
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Re: how do you save money?

  • I go on spending freezes where I only buy what is absolutely necessary. I avoid the malls, so I'm not tempted to go into stores and I even stop myself from going on shopping websites. We did this all summer so that we could save for Italy. We're back on a spending freeze now so that we can save for moving expenses. Also we're not going crazy with spending a lot this Christmas.

  • Sit down and budget.  Write out all your fixed bills, subtract that from your bring home pay.  Then figure out your variables (groceries, gas, house supplies, health and beauy, hair cuts, eating out).  Subtract that.  Then see what's left over.  Then set up an automatic transfer into savings.  We have 2 savings, one attached to our checking that we tap into quickly for emergencies, and one in Capital one 360 that takes 2-3 days to transfer, but a higher interest rate. 

    We found our 2 biggest spenders by tracking on mint.com and focused on those.  Our two - groceries and eating out. 

    Groceries - I started meal planning everything.  Sunday we go to the grocery store with a list and stick to it.  Now somethings there's a good deal on something that lasts and we will get it.  I plan breakfast lunches and dinners.  If our pantry/freezer gets too full I will go a month where all my meals need to use something we already have.  We rarely throw away food.

    Eating out - I'm fine not going out, H LOVES IT. We sat down and decided on an amount.  It was hard to keep that in check, so last summer I decided we get 4 dinners, 4 bfast/lunches.  So H has to decide if he wants a midweek dinner, he forfeits a weekend meal.  It worked out GREAT!

    Also, we were paying $115/month for gas for the house on a budget plan.  It was only for heat... I decided instead up having it go up (68) and down (60 at night), we set it to 65 all the time.  If you were cold you put clothes on/blankets.  Our monthly bill is now down to $65.

    We also budget for me getting paid twice a month, and H 4 times, so on the extra pay months, we put that towards debt (or for you savings).  I love those months... it's like YAY we don't need to *need* this money!

    Eliza Mae - September 16th, 2014

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  • The best tip I can give you is to treat your savings account like a bill.  If you get it in your head paying X amount per month is just as important as rent/mortgage, it will help a lot. 

    Also, do you get paid direct deposit or do you get a physical check?  You can set it up, with direct deposit, that $X a check goes directly into a savings account and the remainder in your checking.  Then you don't ever see it, and you don't have to even think about it.

  • Mana's got a lot covered, but for your goal of setting aside money into savings, make the transfers automatic. If you have to do them manual, you won't do them. We have a couple hundred that transfers into our ING (or capital one 360) savings account twice a month. We actually have 3 ING accounts: pure savings, yearly bills (we capture the costs of property tax, insurances, HOA fees and divide by 12 so it's not a huge bill once a year), and travel (we split up say $7 into monthly payments and once we hit that goal, we can plan a trip). It works well because then there aren't big surprise costs that deplete our checking. We also have money being automatically pulled out for investments. Once you have a budget set, figure out what you can live on realistically, give a little cushion and then put the rest in those different savings locations.

    Also getting rid of debit cards may work for you, but my initial thought is if your funds are more budget, it's better to have your money coming from an actually account you can see deplete (if you balance your checkbook) than putting things in CCs and risking a big bill you can't pay off every month. But if you guys are figuring out your budget and carrying only the cash you can spend that week, that system would also be really effective. Want that latte at Starbucks but you look in your wallet and only have $20 to last two more days for the week, I bet you'll just drink the coffee at work! Ha

    Good luck!

  • A lot of good advice has already been given.  Like Mana said, just figure out where your money is going and cut back there.  And set up a budget, either online or in excel.  Ours is set up in excel and shows all of next year.  We have all of our set expenses and pay periods in there so we can see how much money we will have in our accounts tomorrow, three weeks, six months, or a year from now.  We mainly use our Amex to pay for groceries, gas, eating out, etc because we want to take advantage of their reward points.  But we set up a budget for that as well and know that we have X amount to spend per week, so even if we have to spend money on a last minute doctors appt, that get's taken out of the budget and we just skip a meal out or something.  
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  • We don't use our credit card for anything except EZ Pass and big purchases, like a vacation.  We pay it off every month and we don't charge more than we can afford to pay.  Neither of us carry a balance on a credit card.  If you have store cards, get rid of them. 

    We pay insurance in full when it's due.  My insurance would be about $300 more/year if we made payments.

    Set a budget and stick to it.  Like Nic said, I avoid shopping and stores.  I barely read my email to avoid all of the sale emails and no matter how bored I get, I stay away from shopping websites.

    If you take away all indulgences, you won't be successful.  Budget in 1 meal out a week or a month or something else that you and H enjoy.

    My school district has a credit union with a decent interest rate.  I have a large chunk of my check deducted for the credit union.  I never see it.  I have a savings account at my bank.  We put money in there for bills, like insurance and and extra money we may have.  Overtime also goes in there. 

  • went into payroll today and signed up to have a portion of every check go into savings :) as someone said, if you say you will manually set $$ aside for savings, it will never happen (so true).  H and I also decided to budget out groceries so that will help :)
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