Friday, February 27, 2015

The 27th

So it's time for my student loan payment for February. I was excited about making this one. I was able to pay an extra $785.20 on my loans this month in addition to my regular payment. This is how I did it:

On 1/30 I put back $75 from that paycheck.

On 2/13 I put back 75 from that paycheck. Also on 2/13, I got my quarterly bonus from work which after taxes was $439.38.

On 2/27 I put back $75 plus the 103.55 for picking up an extra shift this month.

I also subtract the total that is automatically deducted from my payment from $200 since I am still pretending that my monthly payment is $200. So the amount that was deducted was $182.73, so I was able to add an extra $17.27 to my extra payment.

Grand total= $785.20

I applied this to my 1-04 Stafford loan which as of today has a balance of $897.26. So after today (before interest is applied for the month) I will owe $112.06 on this loan before it is paid off and I get to move on to the next one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

You Shouldn't Pay For Things That Are Free (Or are already paying for)

And no, I'm not talking about stealing or shamelessly taking off with sugar packets and plates when you go out to eat.

I am talking about the things that you do have access to get for free or choose to pay extra for.

Let's start with entertainment...

Books, Magazines, Music,  Movies and Cookbooks

These are all things that you should never pay for. How many books do you own that you have only read once and have no plans to read again? Get them from the library and return them when done. How many magazines do you put aside and say that you will read one day, or say that you will make that dessert that looks like it takes a lot of effort and save the whole magazine for one page? Copy down that recipe and get them from the library and never buy another magazine again.

How many cookbooks do you have cluttering your kitchen that have maybe 5 recipes that you and your family like? Write down the recipes that you want to save and get rid of the cookbook. Same goes for cookbooks that have exotic ingredients that you know that you will never use, get rid of them. Get these books at the library and return when you are finished.

Movies at the library are not always the newest releases, but has anyone actually died because they didn't see a movie that they really wanted to see? Stalk the library website and put the movie on reserve as soon as it is loaded on the page-then enjoy not spending money on a movie that you will only watch once and never watch again.

Speaking of movies..

You shouldn't pay for premium channels either. Companies will run free previews of these channels from time to time. Use your DVR to record the movies that you want to see from these channels to watch when you don't have access to the premium channels.

I also think that no one should pay for Satellite radio. It is a premium upgrade that I feel is a waste of money when you can listen to the radio in your car for free or listen to CD's or a playlist that you already own. Even if you were to download new songs to add to your playlist, it still would be a lot cheaper than having a Satellite radio subscription.

Trash Bags

Most people end up with a ton of plastic bags when they buy items. Use these for trash bags instead of just buying trash bags that you will throw away anyway. I don't end up with too many plastic bags because I try to avoid them when possible and use reusable canvas bags to take my groceries home in.

Scrap Paper

Everyone gets junk mail. I turn mine over to see if there is a blank page on the back and turn mine into notebooks. I made a post on this about some of the crazy things that I do to save money.

Free Checks

Some banks offer free checking and free checks. The plain boring ones are free and the ones with cute pictures and backgrounds are not. Stick with the plain boring ones, no one cashing your check spends any time admiring the pictures and it's a huge waste of money.

Stamps

Sign up for online bill pay and save your stamps for Christmas and Birthday cards.

Shipping

Before you complete an online shopping order, check online to see if there are any discount codes for free shipping being offered.

Water

Don't buy a bottle when you are out. Fill up a reusable container to take with you when you run your errands. Make it special by adding lemon, cucumber, cantaloupe or limes.

Ordering Pizza the Same Day You Go Grocery Shopping

If you know that you are going to be tired when you come home after shopping and don't want to cook, pick up a premade or frozen pizza for when you come home. You will save money on delivery fees, tip and pay a lot less for pizza for the family.

Credit Report

No one should pay for this. You can gets yours free at www.annualcreditreport.com

A Company To Pay Off Your Credit Card Balance After You Die

I have one store credit card that is rarely used and when I got the new card after the old one expired, I called in to activate the card and the women tried to talk me into paying $4.99 a month for them to pay off my credit card balance in the event that I die before it is paid off. I explained to the woman that I never carry a balance and pay it off right away as soon as I charge something. She used her persuasive sales skills to try to convince me to sign up for this program. I wasn't biting. I am not paying $59.88 a year for something ridiculous that I don't need.

Ridiculous Upgrades

One of the things that I splurge on is a massage membership where I go and get a massage once a month. I went in last month and they were offering to have a Peppermint aromatherapy candle burning during the massage and you get a cup of hot chocolate after it is over for $10. This is an upgrade that I was not willing to pay for.

You are always going to be pressured to buy more or to pay for things that you don't need. You just have to know where to draw your line in the sand. Every time you say no to something that you don't need means more money in the bank to save or to pay off debt.






Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Buy Most Of My Boring Essentials at the Dollar Store

If there was a way that I could buy everything that I use at the Dollar Store, I would do it. There are things that I won't compromise on like conditioner, body lotion, deodorant and mascara and I break down and buy these for higher prices because I like to have better quality with these products.

Think about what you use around your house. Do you really need to spend $10 on trash bags that you are just going to throw away anyways? I try to avoid using trash bags if I can, but I will buy these at the Dollar Store. They are not as strong as the more expensive bags, but I am not okay with spending money on something that I plan to toss out. Do you really need a $15 calendar when you can get one for just a dollar?

This is just stuff.

Consumable, use until it's gone stuff.

I see no reason to spend a lot of money on simple items.

Cleaning products  I buy dish soap, wood cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, dish rags, towels, spray bottles for my own cleaning solutions that I make, buckets and toilet cleaning brushes. I do splurge on a little more expensive dishwasher detergent because I find that the Dollar Store Brands don't get my dishes as clean as I like. Same with the laundry detergent, I make my own laundry soap that lasts for a little over a year and it works very well.

I also like to dilute the multipurpose cleaner and put half into a an empty spray bottle and then fill both half empty bottles with water.

Beauty products I will get razors, teeth whitening pen (this shocked me, but it works and I love it). I also buy eye shadow colors that I just want to experiment with, cold cream, sunscreen, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair ties, hair clips and headbands.

Household products I will get the long lighters, cleaning wipes for the car, candles, greeting cards, gift paper, gift bags, bows and gift tags, tape, envelopes, calendars, batteries, plastic storage containers for food, hand soap, baking pans, gardening gloves and random kitchen utensils.

I have saved a lot of money by checking my local Dollar Tree first to see if they have what I need first before breaking down to buy these things somewhere else. I have found that if you do miss shopping, that looking around the Dollar Store is very helpful in fighting that urge. It helps me realize that there are a lot of things that I don't need that I don't want to waste a precious dollar on and I end up sticking to what is on my list. I also think about where I am going to put a potential impulse buy and I end up putting it back when I realize that I don't really want the impulse buy at all.

When you have people over, no one notices that you don't have top of the line trash bags or top of the line cleaning products (or if they do notice, they don't say anything.) When given the chance to buy generic anything, I go with the generic. It is a lot cheaper and I love that I can put that money somewhere else like towards a vacation or towards my student loan debt or put in into savings.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Immune to Shopping for Pleasure

Do you ever seem to notice that your weekends go by way too fast? Do you go back to work on Monday morning thinking "I didn't get anything done" or "I feel like I didn't get a day off at all"

Do you ever stop to think what you actually did over the weekend? How did you spend your time? Did you do what you really wanted to do?

Most weekends you see people out shopping for pleasure, aimlessly wandering the rows of endless stuff to clutter your home with. Some people even consider shopping a hobby. I read a lot about minimalism and the articles speak to me. Do I really need another thing to put on my shelf or another thing to add to my wall? No. Minimalism is about getting rid of all the things that you don't need to make room for what you want in life. Over the past 2 years I have been slowly downsizing to get rid of the things that I no longer have use for. These things didn't come into my house overnight, so it takes awhile to go through them to get them out of the house.

  • I have gotten rid of clothes that I not longer like or no longer fit or have to be dry cleaned.
  • I have gotten rid of things that I was just hanging onto just in case I needed them again someday.
  • I have gotten rid of gifts that I was hanging onto, just because it was a gift.
  • I have gotten rid of things that I know I would never use again.
  • I have gotten rid of old electronics that were cluttering up the drawer.
  • I have gotten rid of books that I have read only once and never plan to read again.
  • I have gotten rid of magazines, cookbooks, and phonebooks.
  • I have gotten rid of accessories that I do not like or rarely wear.
  • I have gotten rid of endless paper clutter that I don't need.
  • I have gotten rid of beauty/hygiene products that I know I will never need again.
So with all this decluttering, do you feel like you really want to spend your weekend or time off bringing things into your home that you may end up getting rid of in another 6 months? NO. So in a way, I have become immune to shopping for pleasure. I like to spend my time doing more things.

So now my weekends are filled with naps, walks, reading, writing, work outs, spending time with family and friends, playing with my dog and doing what I want to do.

So when I work on Monday, I feel recharged and refreshed and not like I'm spending all my time working, sleeping and shopping  and doing the mundane things of life that have to be done.

Some weekends, I will spend the entire day either Saturday or Sunday curled up with a good book, because that is what I want to do and I am ok with that.

You just have to figure out what you are ok with doing with your precious weekend time and make it happen.