From my obvious lack of posts, life has kept us busy this
summer year. We only get 24 hrs per day to play, and I've been using my time a little differently this season... planning ahead so that playing can be a little more cost-effective...
While speaking with a friend at church, I was convicted by our discussion of finances and spending. As in many homes, the spouse that manages the home usually manages the finances as well. In this case, that's me. I'm responsible for buying our clothing, food, household and toiletry items and managing any monthly bills (car, rent, cable, etc.). We live in an extremely high-cost-of-living area (half-decent house would be $800k+) and in order to allow for more savings, we have to pinch expenses a little tighter than we would if we lived elsewhere.
My new hobby has been to follow websites like TotallyTarget and Hip2Save to learn how to save on items like toiletries and dry goods and online sales since there just aren't coupons for other necessities such as freshly grown produce. This summer I've learned how to stack coupons and TotallyTarget lists when items are on sale. So, say toothpaste is usually $2.99/tube. It's on sale for $2.49 but you have a manufacturer's coupon for $1 and a Target coupon for $1 (which you can stack together) so now instead of paying $2.99, I'm paying $0.49. It doesn't seem like a lot but for someone who can easily spent over $100 at Target per trip, but our household expenses have dropped by about 40% this summer. Yes, it does take time and effort, but it's easy to do when you're watching TV on a Sunday night:-)
I've also fallen in love with Swagbucks.com and Points.com. Both sites allow you to convert points/bucks into free merchandise. I found out about Points.com while searching for a way to use Dan's mileage points before they expired in a few weeks. Now, we finally can redeem random hotel points, etc. for useful things like Amazon.com and Starbucks gift-cards. It is easy to feel guilty spending hard-earned money on non-essentials so it certainly helps to have a few gift-cards to redeem:-)
I enjoy signing myself up for sites such as these, to follow and learn from, or just to enjoy their rewards. I know this isn't for everyone but being more conscientious of where our money is being spent has been a huge lesson for me this summer. I don't mind spending money but I'd just rather spend it on our upcoming vacation in San Diego than on household items at Target:-)