One thing I resolved to do this month is be financially responsible by being “cheap” and stretching my dollar as far as possible. Now that more than half the month has passed, I think I can give an update.
- I have been using a smartphone app that gives deals at local restaurants/businesses etc. It even lets you search the surrounding area so you can find local deals close to work or home or wherever you may be. Often the deals are such that if you buy a meal, your drink and salad are free,or, buy one get one free etc., which is great when you are dining out or looking for a quick bite with the spouse or a sibling. So far, I have used this application three times for various things and saved at least 15$.
- Packing lunches to work instead of eating out as much as possible. This is an easy and healthy way to save. So far, I have been pretty consistent with bringing something from home.
- Making treats at home. Sometimes you want a fancy treat…perhaps a cupcake or square of some sort. They usually cost a lot when purchased individually (and it always feels worth it so you go ahead and spend) so I made a batch of treats at home to enjoy at tea time at work instead of being tempted to run down to the cafe downstairs. I have definitely enjoyed this task as I have also been sharing the treats and making many people very happy.
Our ski holiday at the end of the month would have cost us a fortune if we went at the weekend. However, my husband has to work Sundays in January which means we need to be back by Saturday night so we booked a trip Thursday-Saturday rather than on the weekend and saved a significant amount.
- The first few days of the new year, we were in a movie mood. We watched movies at home instead of going to the cinema-saving a ton on entertainment and popcorn!
- Cheap gas! Right now gasoline is cheap, which is great, but there is a nearby town where it is even cheaper and by filling up there when we are in the area, we tend to get an extra half tank for free. That is a big difference and definitely helps stretch my dollar further!
- All change is still going into our coin jar!
- I paid an extra hundred dollars on my credit card that I would have normally used for daily life. This “reduction” in budget forced me to be smarter with what I have left. After all, if you make funds available to yourself, you are more likely to spend them.
- Shopping at a grocery store that lets you collect points. These points can then be used to buy products later. I saved 30$ by using the points on one of my visits. (In total since this program started in 2014, we have saved $140!).
- I discovered an app called Snap by Groupon in which you get paid back a small amount when you can prove you bought some of the items on their list. I signed up and snapped a photo of my receipt from a recent shopping trip. Two-three things on their offer list were also on my receipt and I now have 2.50$ in my Snap account. The website says that once you have 20$, you can request to be mailed a cheque. I won`t believe it until I see it but maybe this is an easy way to make a few dollars back on products you already buy. Mine, for example, were the purchase of any milk, any peanuts, and spending over 50$ on one shopping trip. The only trick is that they change the products weekly and there is a limited time to get the cash-back before the deal is “sold out`.
- My husband has picked up on my frugal theme and has been, instead of going out to find entertainment, playing his Xbox at home or taking the dog for a walk. While he does this, I have been catching up on tv on the computer, reading really entertaining library books, or catching up with friends over the phone. We both do not mind taking it easy as we know we have our ski trip coming up in less than a few weeks where we would rather spend our money.
- My husband also had the option to receive health care benefits at work or be paid a bonus to opt out. Since he is covered by my work plan (which is much better since I hold a management position and have a few extras) he decided to opt out and will be paid a bonus. We are not yet sure if it is monthly or annual but we will see.
So, there are a few things I have done to save some money. I do not think I have saved a lot, per se, but being a bit more conscious about the topic is always a good thing-and hopefully will result in developing some healthy spending and saving habits.