Fun and More Fun! Another $15 Saved

“If we would look at the food that goes into the trash as money, we would never throw it away again.” – FlyLady

A few points before we start…

Several of you mention reading Suze Orman’s books, especially the “Nine Steps to Financial Freedom” and “The Courage to be Rich”. Yes! These are among FlyLady’s favorite books. Now, do you need to run out and buy one? No, most libraries have these books. Go there first. We try to only buy books that we have previewed at the library, and then want permanently on our bookshelf.

Many of you have provided tips about combining credit cards, moving balances from one card to the next, using credit bureaus, credit councillors, etc. Please tread cautiously and do your homework first! Suze Orman has information about this in her books. Also, call your bank or credit card company if you need to learn more. That fine print on some of those “deals” can get you in deeper than you expected!

There are lots of credit cards being cut up this month! Wahoo! But remember, you may need to call the store, bank, etc. and find out how to completely close the account. Some institutions will require this in writing. Set your timer — it will only take you minutes to call the store, bank, or credit card company, and find out exactly what you need to do to close the account. The peace of mind is worth those few minutes on the phone! Never be afraid to call someone and ask the simple questions. FACE your finances. You can do it!

Canceling Unnecessary Things

This month we paid at least $16 more than usual, plus about $3,000 more! First, the $16. I was trying to find an extra $16, so I looked first at everything I was spending. I cancelled all of the automatic payments so I would have to consciously write a check for each thing I bought. The first thing I was able to eliminate was all of the automatic and unwanted shipments from mail-order book and CD clubs. Since they no longer had my credit card to charge them too, I was easily able to return the unwanted, unopened packages without worrying about getting them credited back to my account. I fufilled my membership requirements and cancelled the accounts. Now I have over 30 dollars more in my account each month, and don’t even miss the books and CDs I no longer get or wanted in the first place. Now the $3,000. I followed flylady’s advice about getting my income taxes done early. So early in fact, I had them in the mail the first week of Feb. I kept each W-2 as it came in the mail, and as soon as I knew we had all the docs we needed (they all get mailed by Jan 31 anyway, why do we wait so long?) I did the taxes. 30 minutes of paper work revealed we had a $3,700 refund coming! Another bonus for filing early is they take much less time returning your check. I sat down with DH to decide what to spend it on. We had a lists of wants a mile long, everything from trips to relocating, and of course, lots of stuff. Finally, we decided to pay off all of our credit cards instead. We set aside a little for a trip across the country to DH’s family so our toddler DD could finally meet her relatives, but everything else is going straight to the collectors! We are able to pay off all of our credit cards, computer finace loans, and dept store cards. This has saved us $200+ each month in payments, plus unknown hundreds in intrest payments over the years it would take us to pay off the debts individually. We still have a car loan and some student loans to pay off, but this is a huge leap forward, thanks in part to motivation from FlyLady! Thank you! – Flying higher without credit card debt in Utah

Because I have spent the last few months getting my routines in order and working on my zones, I decided to cancel our cleaning service that I’ve had for six years. That’s $200 a month saved which we can apply to our credit cards and the house never looked this good with the service. Thanks! – Flybaby in Iowa

We took our cable service down to the bare minimum…just the main channels. It only costs us $10 a month. We were paying $50 a month. DS & DD still have PBS to watch. I love that there are not cartoons on 24 hours a day, and they don’t ask me for all the things the used to see on the commercials. Our huge collection of children’s videos are actually being used now, and it’s easier to get them to turn off the TV. DH sometimes misses the sports channels, but overall no one in the house has complained. Both of us have gone back to reading books most evenings, something we hadn’t done in years. And now I don’t get sucked in to those Lifetime movies and Soap Net, which always left me neglecting my family and home! – FLYing

I canceled my cable subscription! Now I’ll have more time to spend playing board games and reading to my kids because I’ll be wasting less time watching TV, AND I’ll be saving about $30 per month which I can put against my outstanding credit card debts. – Flying (with 3 stations) in Barrie, ON

Babysitting Co-Op

I wasn’t sure where to send this, but I wanted to share an idea. I got together with two other couples from church who have children my DD & DS’s ages and formed a babysitting co-op. To keep it as simple as possible, we are just going to just use the co-op on 3 Saturday nights a month, from 5:30-8:30. Two Saturdays a month I will get to have a date with DH and my children will play with friends, and one Saturday a month we will have the kids at our home for three hours. This will save us $30 a month by not paying for a babysitter, and will lock in some quality time for just my hubby and me while my children are developing social skills and friendships.

Talk to your Banker

I paid my mortgage in two chunks this month. 1/2 of it 2 weeks early and 1/2 of it on time. After talking to the banker, I understand this will save me much money in interest if I keep it up. AND it doesn’t cost me extra, I only have to plan better.

Leave the Purse in the Car

I did two things yesterday to help save $16. First, when I went into the scrapbook store, I put $15 in my pocket and left my purse in the car. I had to put something back when I got to the register, but I only spent my planned amount. If I’d had my checkbook, I would have gotten the extra item and told myself it’s only $2.17 over your budget. Secondly, last night I didn’t stop for a pizza on my way home (a frequent Monday habit). I knew that I had bought everything I needed at the grocery to make meals for seven days, so I drove right by the pizzeria and saved $6.53. That’s $8.70 in one day that I would have spent without thinking about it before. I have decided to give up financial irresponsibility for Lent this year, but I started early thanks to you! – A TN Flybaby

Quit Smoking

Largely due to FLYingFreeSupport on Yahoo! Groups, I have quit smoking — for good this time!! In the 31 days from March 3 to April 3, I will save AUD$279.00. I’ll be on top of my credit debt in not time! Thanks, FLYTeam. I couldn’t have done it without your support! Great Big Purple Hugs, FLYBaby in Melbourne, Australia

Refinancing

18 months ago, when we refinanced our house, I divided our new monthly mortgage payment (principle and interest + taxes, insurance etc… the WHOLE payment) by 12. This equaled $56. By adding this extra $56 to the total mortgage payment each month (right from the beginning of our new 30-year mortgage… its painless!), we are applying an ENTIRE month’s mortgage payment to PRINCIPLE every year! By spending this $56 every month, we will pay off our 30-year mortgage in 14 years! Less than HALF the time! Truly amazing… and empowering! – FLYing in Kennewick, Washington

Called up my credit union today and was able to refinance my car from 8% to 4.7%!! And it was so easy!!! They approved everything over the phone, faxed me the form to fill out (all I had to do was sign and date), and I will turn it in to the bank on the way home from work. They will tell me then how much I save by refinancing. The money saved each month from that will go toward my credit card debt — which I have been dilegently paying down since I graduated from college as an engineer last year at age 38!! I am also brown bagging lunch and grocery shopping from a list. – FlyBaby Engineer in Utah

I hadn’t paid attention to the interest rate of our home equity loan. Then I remembered Suze Orman saying to treat your money like your children. Be aware of where they are at all times. In July we refinanced our equity line. In November, I looked at the statement and found the rate to be 3/4% more than we applied for. It took closing and reopening the account to stop the bleeding, then another two months to get someone to agree with me that we had indeed been paying too much. The bank has just deposited $496.51 into our checking account. I was tenacious, and it paid off. We’re applying that towards credit card debt! Yeah! – Fluttering in St. Paul

Conserve Energy

I turned down the temperature on my hot water tank. It came set at 140 degrees (which can burn you in 5 seconds) to 125 degrees, so now it’s safe for my triplet toddlers and (singleton) preschooler, and believe me, you don’t need the water that hot anyway. I don’t know how much it’s saving, but I think it’s more than $16.00 per month. I also am planning to purchase a temperature regulator that makes sure the thermostat goes down to 61 degrees when we are out of the house or sleeping and puts it back up to 68 degrees when we are at home and awake. The month that I changed the thermostat myself, every time we left the house and went to sleep, the hydro bill was about $50 less. – Flybaby in Canada.

Using “Extra” Money to Pay Debt

I’ve been doing this for the last year or two, and God-willing, we will be credit card debt-free in June! I have set a weekly limit on the amount I can spend on groceries, gas, eating out, clothes, gifts, medical, vet, savings, and “miscellaneous.” (Obviously, this is separate from mortgage/utility/insurance costs which are fixed, the same every month, and not much I can do to change) I purposely include fun things I want to do, like eating out once a week and being able to buy gifts. Any income above those set amounts goes to paying off the credit card. I often write more than one check per month to the credit card, because if I leave the funds in the checkbook, I’m tempted to spend it! I use a cash system for the weekly expenses, and one of those inexpensive coupon holders to keep it straight. If there is no money in the “clothes” section, then I know not to go to the mall! I haven’t used a rigid or overly restrictive budget, but this helps me avoid impulse buying while still giving me freedom. I expect to be able to put close to $400 over the minimum on my credit card this month, and my husband is on unemployment! I’m still fluttering in my housework, but I’m FLYING financially, and the load gets lighter every month!

We just made the last payment on our car!!!! Since we have been used to not having that $240 to spend each month, we’ve decided to apply that amount (in addition to the minimum payment) to our credit cards. We also decided to put our entire tax refund on the credit card bills instead of going on vacation this year. Look out, debt — we’re leaving you! 2003 is the year we become fiscally fit. – Ohio FlyBaby

When one credit card or loan is paid off (we have one that’s done in two more payments), don’t roll that amount back into your available spending money — take it instead and apply to another credit card or debt. It will probably be a lot more than $16, and it will pay it down quicker. – FlyBaby in MA

Use What You Have

I am going to use up what I have before I buy anything new in two specific areas — home schooling and books. As a home schooling parent of four, I find it very easy to justify purchases of curriculum materials. Every time I hear about a new program or curriculum product, I often manage to convince myself that I need to get it to give my kids the best education I can. Well, no more! We can probably keep busy for at least two years with what I already have. My other high spending area is books – on personal finance, exercise and fitness, weight loss, parenting, education and so on. I hear a book recommended on TV or an e-mail list that sounds interesting and decide I just have to read it. I do check the library first, but if I can’t get it there, I often buy it. Most of these I have not even had a chance to read yet. So I am going to make my way through every book in my house before I buy more. Eliminating spending in these two areas will save at least $1000 this year. This idea came from the member who is a quilter and can’t resist new quilting fabric and accessories. I will make this a challenge for anyone else who has a hobby/spending vice and has accumulated extra materials to use up what you have before buying anything new. – An Ontario flybaby.

I’m going to spend two weeks eating from the freezer and pantry, only buying milk and fresh fruit and try baking our own bread (I already have all the supplies on hand, and if that doesn’t work out, I’ll try getting bread at the surplus store, since it runs between 39 and 79 cents a loaf). But to make the most of the extra money, I’m going to look at my credit card balances and interest rates and pick the one that is the highest in both and add all my extra money there to make the most of my savings by reducing the interest I would have had to pay. (Except for a small part, which will go towards paying off another card in full so I can close it at the end of March — one less bill to worry with.)

Cut Down Extraneous Spending

I am emptying the change jar, all the extra change from my purse (forgot last week’s purse challenge). Next week I’m doing a “No Spend” week. I won’t buy anything except gas to get to work. I will do weekly food shopping this weekend so that I only go once and avoid the impulse buying of multiple trips. Kids can have their allowance. I will have to pay bills, but they are scheduled and known payments. I’m just stopping the discretionary spending. – Flytoddler from Mass.

I was a QVC-aholic. January I had a $300 bill. This month, $24. I am working to get it down to nothing. The flings have helped me see how much money I was wasting. I’m keeping my money. I don’t need to give it to them.

I will save around $50 *plus* a couple hundred calories a day *plus* about ten minutes every morning by foregoing my morning commute latte from an espresso shop in favor of a cup of home-brewed plain coffee!

Wow! What a wonderful theme for a SUPER FLING BOOGIE!!! I have sent in my taxes and I’m getting a HUGE refund! That will help me get rid of one card completely! But I thought, why not look at the van loan or the home equity we took out to add on to our home? Sixteen extra dollars a month on at least one of these payments? Well… if I FLING my soda habit, that’s sure to add up to more than sixteen dollars a month! Plus the health benefits! Here goes… I have a HUGE sweet tooth… wish me luck! LOL! Thank you for all you do!

By cutting out my morning run through McDonald’s drive-thru for a biscuit & Coke, I’ll save $2.84 per day & $59.64 this month!! Also, if I cut out my daily Coke from the vending machine at work, that’s another $21. Instead, I have a water bottle that I’ll refill from the water cooler (no cost!).  I also bought a water filter for my kitchen sink. It cost me $40, but I’ll save about $3.50 each week from buying a six-pack of bottled water (not to mention the number of bottles I pick up somewhere when I’m out). Total savings, probably around $25 a month…. which is half the cost of the filter right there! Without even trying, I’ll save about $100 this month!! FlyBaby in MS

I am saving $3 per day on NOT getting coffee at the train station. When I’m thristy it’s really water I want, anyway, so I’ve started filling my 16 oz bottle before I leave the house/office, and water’s free!

Planning Your Budget

I’m very fortunate that I learned early from my parents about budgets and finances. I have no credit card debt although I do use my credit cards extensively. I earn frequent flyer miles, so my husband and I charge nearly all our purchases, but we also pay them off each and every month. If we need a major item (and I’m defining that as anything not in our normal monthly budget), we save the money first before we purchase it. To be sure we’ll on target, we write down each charge on a pad on the kitchen desk and keep a running total. Since we live by a budget, we know right away if we are doing okay. We can then judge if we can afford that meal out or that concert ticket or that extra DVD. To facilitate budgeting, our checks are direct deposited among our checking and savings accounts. The money in our savings account accumulates and we use that to pay those quarterly or annual bills and any items we’ve been saving for. We try to keep expenses to a minimum by not subscribing to magazines, having only basic cable service and telephone services (no caller ID or other extras that can really run up the cost.), shopping twice monthly, and trying to eliminate unnecessary billls. We are blessed to have two incomes, our children are grown, and we can spend out money on our priorites like traveling and saving for our retirement. It’s a struggle, but living without debt and having money in your savings account is so freeing!

File Taxes Early

Yahoo! We did it! We finished filling out our tax form on the computer and sent it this weekend! No more worries about that — and we found out we owe the taxman a little LESS than we had in our heads — and our savings account. We won’t be much help in the Financial Fling Boogie when it comes to paying extra on our credit card bills; we use our cards so little, we always pay them in full. I’m still saving money left and right.

We just filed our income tax return today, and most of it is going to pay off two HUGE debts! We are freeing up over $350 A MONTH just by paying off these two bills! :) Nice raise! :) FLyBaby in Roy, Utah

Stick to the list!

For the past two weeks, I have checked my pantry and my husband’s schedule, made a grocery list before going shopping — and stuck to the list! This will bring me more than up-to-date with our grocery budget (I usually “borrowed” a couple $$$s from next month’s budget), and I have so much space in my kitchen cupboards! We’re also eating much more fruit, while I used to not buy so much fruit because it’s expensive. When you stop wasting money on junk, you have plenty to take care of your health!

Freezing leftovers

Instead of chucking leftovers in the bin or in my stomach, I put them in the freezer, for those nights when dh gets home late. Saves me frustration over chucking food or binging, and money on pizzas.

Sell Your Old Clutter

Dear Flylady and Friends: I clicked on that sell your stuff button on Amazon.com. Sold my reference books for work and made $132.00. (I’m a SAHM now and couldn’t bring myself to fling them because they were so expensive and would have sat on a shelf at the thrift shop.) It’s all going to the credit card where it got charged! – Fluttering in Minnesota (Note from FlyCrew: If you are going to sell excess clutter, make sure you have it packaged up and ready to ship to a customer BEFORE you put it up for sale. We are SHEs, after all — we get sidetracked on the follow up!)

Shopping Co-Op

I have been able to plan ahead with a girlfriend before going to Costco (or any other warehouse food store) to buy large food purchases together that I wouldn’t normally buy there for my family (e.g., some of the larger frozen food items or fresh vegies or fruit, etc.). Since we’re a family of three and we don’t own a large freezer for storage, I usually wouldn’t be able to buy these items in bulk and so would pay higher prices for the smaller size at the grocery store. However, when I split the purchase and the cost with a friend, we each save our families $3-$20 per visit, depending on how much we buy. – Stepping Out in Seattle

Sharing is Caring

Swap videos with family or friends instead of renting them. This does add up. Cut your guys’ hair instead of going to the barber/beauty shop. 27 fling boogie. You get into the habit of tossing instead of buying. Go to the grocery store once a week. You save on gas, especially if you have to drive a ways to go to the store.

Avoid Late Fees

Thank you FlyCrew and Flylady. I found my $16 by paying my property tax yesterday-almost a month early! At Christmas (we pay twice a year, December and March) I paid late and by credit card (electronic fund transfers are just to complicated the way my city does them). $15 for the credit card and $40 for late fee. Not this time. It was on my calendar, I saw it when I did my check ahead, and I wrote and mailed the payment a few weeks early!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Flying and flinging here in the San Fernando Valley.

OK this may sound crazy, but I found almost $20 this month I could have saved in late fees alone! (electric, water, phone, house payment, school tuition) A dollar here and there doesn’t sound like much until you add them all up. Next month I will try to pay them on time. Since I don’t have any credit cards, the money may get to go towards… ME! No one will notice the extra, and I won’t feel guilty about buying something for me.

Prevention is Key

My hint falls into the “ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” category. Having been there, done that with credit card debt I went for 10 years without using any credit cards. I now have a credit card. My commitment to myself is ongoing: I will not purchase anything that I cannot put the cash aside that very day to pay the entire ballance off when the statement comes in. This means that either I have saved for something or I have the money available to make the purchase. I have had the card for three years now and have kept my commitment. – A FlyBaby in San Antonio, Tx.

Break Bad Habits

Thanks so much for all you do. I hope sharing these ideas will help another flybaby along the road to peace — financial and otherwise. I’m a FlyBaby who can, and does, pay off credit card balances every month. But, simply being able to pay those bills doesn’t mean that the money was spent wisely.A number of years ago, I looked carefully at a year’s worth of credit card statements and discovered that I had spent about $2400 at a particular discount drug store. (That would probably be worth twice as much in today’s dollars!) I went to this store every week ON MY WAY to do the regular grocery shopping. I thought I was “consolidating” my shopping trips and considered my purchases “bargains.” But the stack of credit card statements told another tale — I was stopping there out of habit, and it was costing plenty! I decided to eliminate that “stop,” and I didn’t miss a thing by doing so.

Also, Flylady is urging us to grocery shop only once a week AND to create a well-stocked pantry. In fact, with a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator, I have been able make the intervals between shopping trips even longer than a week. I realized that I was being conditioned to shop weekly by those advertised “loss leader” items, and my desire to use the coupons I had clipped. I have been able to extend the time between grocery store trips from seven days to ten days, thus eliminating one weekly shopping trip a month. This has turned out to be a big money-saver. Sometimes I am even able to extend this interval to fourteen days and only shop twice a month. But, accomplishing this depends on that good old “pantry organization!” – Best wishes, Flybaby in Utah

Brown Bag It

Hi FlyCrew! I’ve already started doing this a few weeks ago since my kitchen, shopping trips, and time management in the morning have started to come together. However, I just now figured out the minimum of how much money this is saving me. I’m a payroll SHE, and I almost NEVER brought my lunch to work. Instead when I had cash, I would go to a fast food place and buy items off the $.99 menu, usually spending $3.21 per day. Sometimes I would get sick of the same old things and splurge on their special sandwich combo meal, which comes to over $5. And this one really makes me cringe… when I had no cash, I would go to a nearby diner and use my credit card! With a tip, lunch is typically $7 or $8! Since my shopping trips are more effective now, and I have time in the morning to make a lunch (the clutter in my home had me depressed, although I didn’t realize it, so that I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning until the last possible moment), I have been regularly bringing my lunch to work. Not only is it cheaper, it is SO much healthier. I bring a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat, nine-grain bread, a yogurt, two bananas, and an orange, with water to drink. Estimated cost per day $1.96. The difference between that and the cheapest fast food lunch is $1.25 per day, $6.25 for 5 days, and $25 a month minimum! WOW! It’s another one of those things that you know logically, it is cheaper and healthier to bring a lunch, but I never had the POWER to do it. Hee, hee, and I can actually feel my ribs now when I cross my arms in front of me and tuck my hands under my arms! Thanks, FlyLady! – FLYbaby, Rochester, NY

One way that our family saves money is to pack lunches. If we are going to be in the car going anywhere, even shopping at the mall, during the lunch hour, I make each person a sandwich, pack each one a piece of fruit and a drink and take along napkins and a bag of cookies. It’s convenient, cheaper than eating fast food, and much, much healthier. It also gives children something to do for awhile in the car and doesn’t waste travel time in drive-through lines. We almost always pack lunches for work and school instead of buying cafeteria or fast food. On week-long car-based vacations, we keep a cooler with drinks and lunch fixings in the car all the time. With many motels now offering free continental breakfasts, we’re only eating restaurant food at dinnertime.The other way to save LOTS of money every week is to eat what is on sale at the grocery store. When I sit down to make out my weekly menus, I keep the store newspaper ads next to me along with my box of coupons. Using my mental catalog of family favorite recipes, I try to base my meals on featured in-season produce and meats that are on sale. My favorite items are ones that are on half-price sale that I also have a coupon for. It really helps if your family is does not have strong brand loyalties so that you can buy whatever spaghetti sauce, bread, cereal, syrup, laundry detergent, etc. is featured. Other than a few basic items (bagels, bananas, apples, broccoli) that I buy every week regardless of price, I try very hard not to buy anything at the store that is not on sale. I compare prices at the store and buy store brands if they are a better value than a name brand on sale. I also try not to use very many pre-prepared whole meals. Those are really budget-busters! Since we have pretty large family and a not-very-big refrigerator, I have to shop twice a week to have enough fresh fruit and milk. I go to one grocery store on Tuesday and a different one on Friday. The list for each store consists mostly of what’s on sale at that store. Between the two stores, I rarely pay regular price for anything. And the lists keep me on track so I don’t pick up items on impulse. Non-perishable items that we eat often, I stock up on (slightly!) to have them on hand until the next time they go on sale. But since we don’t have a very big pantry either, I try not to buy more than we would eat up in three or fourweeks. I’ve never calculated how much I save each week, I’m sure it is at least $40. –A Frugal FLYbaby in Maryland

Cut Out Quick Stops

Some ways to find $16 to save: Well, one can of soda (at 60 cents a can) every workday (Mon-Fri) equals $12 a month. By changing over to water, I am saving the $12 a month (wow! that’s $144 a year, just to have a can of soda at work!), not to mention 44,200 calories (that’s equivalent to more than 12 pounds to lose in a year!) Wow!! I am REALLY looking forward to this! Wow — usually I get a soda and a danish — just figured the math on that one, too! $455 bucks a year! (and another 23 pounds worth of annual calories!) This is just mind-blowing!! For the first time in my life, I am actually looking forward to Financial Awareness! Thanks for all ya’ll do! – Flygirl in Pfafftown

I’m a payroll SHE and am going to eat breakfast at home three mornings a week instead of buying my $2.25 egg and bagel breakfast at work. Total savings $27 and I still get to “treat myself” two days a week. – Fla. Flybaby

“Lose” $20

Thank God, over a year ago, I eliminated credit card debt. It was never big, but I would let the balance go from month to month and would pay the finance charges. But somewhat over a year ago, I decided to make sure I paid the balance in full every month and I have stuck to that. It is especially important because DH is self-employed and his income varies. We could all too easily get into an unmanageable situation if we didn’t pay it off each month and watch how we use it. So, I will be sending an extra $20 on the principle of the mortgage in honor of the financial fling. Here is my suggestion on finding that extra money: I figure that if I had a $20 bill in my pocket and I lost it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. So I’m going to “lose it” on the mortgage. –  Flying in Ohio

Keep the Change

My husband is a savvy saver and a frugal spender and has taught me to be the same. Fortunately we are able to pay our credit card balance off each month. One way we get “extra” money is by saving spare change. I have an empty peanut jar, which I cleaned, on my dresser. When we pay cash for something, we put the change in our pocket. At the end of the day, my husband and I clean out our pockets and put the change in the jar. You’d be surprised how quickly the pennies, nickels, and dimes add up. When the jar gets full, we count up the change and take it to the bank. This could easily add up to extra money to pay off debt. Last year I used the money to buy Christmas presents! – A FlyBaby in Virginia

I’m unemployed, and though my husband’s income is keeping us afloat, I have dropped my own spending drastically. I’m *so* glad I didn’t buy the socks I “needed” before the Laundry Challenge! Well, I just pulled over $7 in change out of my purse, pockets, a little pile that came out of my husband’s pockets, and a bunch of our favorite hot spots… without leaving this room. Oh, look, I can see another penny on another flat surface I hadn’t checked. Well, that got me inspired, so I walked into the guest room next door, and in a “catch-all” thing (SHEs shouldn’t!), I had a $2 roll of nickels, drowning in dust. So I’m more than halfway to that $16! (This wouldn’t work for those FLYkids who’ve gotten a little farther down the decluttering path, but for those of us who are “working at our own pace,” so to speak, this can be more rewarding than you’d think.) Not quite to blastoff, but so grateful to be in motion…

Plan Ahead

My mother-in-law is always wanting to spend time with our kids, but our schedules always seem to clash. So whenever we need a babysitter (which we ALWAYS wait until the last minute to find!), my mother-in-law is unable to watch the kids and we then have to hire a pricey babysitter. So, in order to be able to have a set date night with my husband, I sat down with my mother-in-law and asked her what night of the week she is free and if she’d be willing to watch the kids for us for FOUR hours on the same night every week. She was thrilled, and we now have a guaranteed date night every Wednesday! The kids love it, grandma loves it, and my husband and I definitely love it! Babysitter SAVINGS=$20 There you go! Just like that we have saved $56 in one week! And we do this every week and ACTUALLY set aside that extra money, because we were spending it before needlessly!

I am going to stick to my evening routine of setting up the coffee pot before I go to bed. That way, coffee is ready in the morning, and I’m not stopping to buy it on the way to work!

I’m so excited for the Financial Boogie! I’m currently on my way to financial freedom… yay! Here’s what I plan to do to make the extra money for my credit cards (as I have been doing every week for 2 months now!). Our special treat for our family is watching New Release movies everyone is talking about. Our movie rental place has $.99 movie day (Monday) on ALL movies, and they can be kept until Friday morning. We treat ourselves every Monday to four movies and pay $4! We used to rent movies at the last minute on a chaotic Friday night and end up paying $16 for those same movies! Savings=$12

Give Generics a Chance

With my shopping list along, I buy all of my pantry items needed at Wal-Mart and buy as many of the “Sam’s Choice” or other generics as I can! The savings our TRULY unbelievable, and the food is just as good. I mean, a loaf of bread is $.50 there! And it’s good! Once I discovered Wal-Mart and MADE myself set aside the extra money that I normally would’ve spent on the same items at our grocery store, our debt is slowly coming off!

Sacrifices

Hi FlyCrew. I wanted to share how I will be finding the money to fling some of my credit card debt. One day a week is going to be “sacrifice for financial freedom” day in my house. We will all drink only water, eat peanut butter & jelly and pasta, and stay home (except for my hubby going to work). Between the lower cost of food & drinks and saving gas, we will save at least $8 by my calculations. That’s $32 a month to put on our credit card debt… and it’s really not much of a sacrifice we’re making! Before FlyLady I would have never given an $8-a-week savings a second thought. My attitude would have been that $8 was not very much, so why bother? But, with a BabySteps mentality, I now realize that it adds up. $8 a week is $416 a year off my debt, and I’m that much closer at the end of the year to paying it off entirely — not to mention the interest charges I’ll save!! Thanks for the motivation. – FlyBaby in MD

Keeping Yourself Honest

Since the beginning of the year (around the time I joined FLYlady), I have been writing down every penny that I spend. Not only does this “keep me honest” as far as what I’m spending where, it also makes me think twice before spending “small” amounts of money on stupid stuff. Like, I am just too ashamed to write down “$7 — latte and brownie,” so I don’t buy it! I mean, $7 is a lot of money, especially when you don’t spend it! Because of this, and because I’ve been planning meals, eating out less, and only going to the grocery store once a week, I have finally got an idea of how much money I have at any given moment, and I’m able to make better decisions on what to do with it. For my craft business, I was just able to buy a piece of equipment that will shave half an hour off the time it takes me to make each item I sell. This will pay for itself within a month or two. AND because I’m not shopping like a maniac, drowning myself in more bad debt, and feeling guilty all the time, I was able to use my tax return to pay off my last credit card bill instead of blowing it on fancy shoes, bath stuff, and clothes as I’ve done in years past.This is an enormous relief to me, and I am *so* proud, because I come from a family where no one knows how to manage money. So I just never thought about it; I just spent whatever was in my account. But now that I have been putting some thought into my finances, I realize what I’m making is more than enough for me to do what I really want to do… which is go to New Zealand and tour around all the places where they made the Lord of the Rings movies! :D I’ve started saving up to do this already. Yay me! Yay FLYlady.net for helping me get on the path to living with attention to all the details, without freaking out about them. Love, Pittsburgh FLYgirl

Menu Planning

I took to heart the essay about menu planning, and went through all my kitchen cupboards taking stock. I made a list of all the ingredients I had that I need to use up — things that were getting close to their use-by date and things I had that aren’t part of my usual recipes. For example, I bought some polenta ages ago for a particular recipe I tried, but I haven’t used up the rest of the packet. Then I planned a menu using all those things up. My food shopping bill this week is much lower than usual because we already have most of the ingredients, so that money saved could be put towards our credit card payment. Another benefit is that by the end of this week, my kitchen cupboards should have some extra space. And finally, we are having an interesting week eating things that aren’t the same old usual favourites.

Pay In Full

Although I use my credit card frequently, each time I charge a purchase I immediately enter and deduct the amount from my checking account balance. That way I have the funds available to pay the full balance each month when the bill arrives and never pay any interest or finance charges.You don’t have to be wealthy to do this; you just have to make prudent economic decisions when shopping by prioritizing your needs and “wants.” I am retired and living on Social Security, but can still enjoy the convenience of using my credit card, knowing the balance will be paid in full when my bill arrives. – Flying in Minneapolis

Check for Errors

I already found my $16. Early yesterday morning, 2/27/03, thanks to FlyLady, I took care of a couple of phone calls related to some unpaid bills that I had received in the mail. One of them was from a mail-order prescription pharmacy associated with my health insurance. On the back of the bill (in the notes section), it showed that in addition to the charge for my medication, there was a $16 debit to my account on 2/11/03. I questioned the debit and was informed immediately that it must have been an error, because the debit had been reversed on 2/26/03. My check to pay for my medication is going out in the mail today without the $16 debit amount. Yippee!

Clean Out Your Purse

To find $16, go to all your old purses and hiding spots and coat pockets. I did a hot spot the other day. In a purse where I keep the budget and my system there surprise was $100 bill.

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