Monday, January 10, 2011

Money-Saving Monday: How to Save!

Howdy friends!  It's been a crazy week in my household; I travel a lot for work at the moment, and haven't been staying in one place for too long. Hence, not many regular updates. Since my busy schedule is not going away, I am going to work out a plan (this is a new concept for me), and have my posts on automatic update for these situations.  But, until then, let's talk about some savings!

As part of her Saved Quarter Challenge, Penny Saver wants to know about how we save money.  Not how I find little ways to save money (although I will talk about that), but how people budget, stick to the budget, and put money away so that it is not touched.

My budget is pretty bare bones.  Rent. Cable. Electricity. Gas. Food. Leftover (hobbies, new clothes, savings, etc. This one isn't very big). I put savings from my salary in the leftover category for a few reasons: a) I'm only counting my main salary here, so I have some other income that goes directly into savings, and b) For the most part, I pay myself first, so I don't see that initial savings money.  At the end of the month, everything I have left over is transferred into savings.  I like to remind myself that I might have enough money to get that coffee or eat at that restaurant, but if I do, I won't have that money to save.

I should also mention, that typically, my yearly and unexpected expenses come from my emergency fund or savings, both of which have been depleted to pay some tuition and car repairs (hence, my goals from last week!).

And, speaking about savings, in no particular order, here is how I saved money this week by adding to my savings:

1. Pay myself first.  During the school year, this amount is usually very small, around $25-$50.  Sometimes, if I have an unexpected small expense, it doesn't happen at all.  Keep in mind, though, that this comes from my main salary, and so, I have other sources of savings revenue that makes this money not as critical.

2. Secondary Pay goes directly to savings.  I have several part-time jobs in addition to my main one. All of that money, as well as money from babysitting and odd jobs goes directly to savings.

3. Sold Items goes to savings. I sold some books this weekend. Add $15 to may savings plan.

4. Rebates goes to savings. Tax refunds, trip rebates, deposits back, and reimbursements all go directly to savings.

5. Overestimation. I've been doing a really good job (so far) of tracking every penny. I use my debit card because I receive rewards for doing so (can you say $100 holiday!?). This works for me because I am keeping track of my expenses and know exactly how much is in my account and what I need to pay. For example, if I'm going to have an expense at the end of the month, I subtract that from the beginning of the month so that I don't accidentally spend it.  I also write down how much I spend, and then round up to the nearest dollar for each transaction.  That way, I have a very small cushion, and at the end of the month, I can transfer the leftover change to savings.

I hope that provided some ideas for all of you!  Happy Monday!


  1. It's a good thing that you're building up your emergency fund to cover yearly and unexpected expenses! Those can so easily throw off a budget!

    I love that you're putting all of your secondary pay, sold things, rebates, and overestimation to saving along with paying yourself first. That should add up!

  2. I do the rebates into savings as well, even if it's just a $1, it's something!

    Overestimation as well, especially with bills. I know our cell phones are $136.70 every month... but I put down $140 and that difference will go into savings at the end of the month. It's an easily way to add a little more to savings.

  3. Good for you! I think I might steal your rounding up might just give me that extra little push that I need. Have a good week!

  4. I had money automatically deducted from my paycheck which went right into savings. I loved doing that because I never missed the money. Great idea!

  5. Right now all of my "extra" money from secondary sources gets kind of mixed in with the rest of my money. I like your way of putting everything directly into savings, even if you have to dip into it later on for something like car repairs. I should probably think of doing something similar. Thanks.

  6. I like your plan. The small amount of $50 a month will be $600 by the end of the year, and that's not small change! Adding overestimation, secondary pay, and sold stuff will be great for getting your savings padded in no time.

  7. Hi Lauren,

    You sound like you have a good grasp on your budgeting needs.

  8. All my income right now comes from student loans. The less I spend from that, the better!

    Instead of paying for cable, I've got Netflix. Helps with the expenses and also helps my hw habits (it's hard to mindlessly surf and ignore my hw when I don't HAVE channels to surf).

    I have restricted myself on coffee expenses. You know how coffee crazy I am. :/ I allow myself an unlimited budget with the 45cent coffee vending machine at school but ban myself from coffee houses.

    A while ago I have invested in a very simple cappuccino machine (>$50), a one person percolator (>$30), and a coffee grinder (>$60). Coffee at the supermarket is more often then not, cheaper in whole bean form. I grind it myself and then make myself really good flavorful coffee at home (which turns out a helluva lot better than coffeehouse brewed coffee).

    It's been about 6 months, and at $5 for a cup of Starbucks coffee, which I would get more than once a week, I've pretty much paid off my investment.

  9. Go you for having such a well-thought out budget and sticking to it!
    E-funds are definitely life savers! We're in the process of rebuilding ours right now, thanks to some serious depletion courtesy of my month without income (thanks again, disability) and my car breaking down. Silly cars and their propensity to need expensive repairs!
    Thanks for your comment :-D.

  10. P.S. I've passed along the Versatile Blogger Award to you! To accept, go to my link!