December’s meeting was full of good food, Christmas carols, scotch, lots of laughter and random savings tips: [Read more...]
Throughout the course of our Women’s Saving Club meetings, we have many random resources that get brought to the table. Here’s a recap of all the things that are inspiring us, teaching us, or are just plain fun — whether they have to do with money or not.
Liz’s has borrowed Amanda’s book, How to Train a Wild Elephant: And other Adventures in Mindfulness, and has started a weekly practice of becoming more mindful in her life. Her awesome idea was to put a little one-word reminder of the mindfulness exercise on her vanity mirror to help keep her focused.
Another suggested resource: The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms. From Amazon.com: “Life balance is a myth, and the pursuit of it is causing us more stress than the craving for balance itself.”
A side discussion on “what caused the mortgage crisis again?” led us to this book, which we’ll now be passing around. The Big Short by Michael Lewis.
Which makes us need a drink. Our favorite libation of the evening? Lobster Reef Sauvignon Blanc.
Helping keep each other accountable to the goals we set is one of the benefits of Women’s Saving Club. While each individual is responsible for tracking their own progress, it’s good to have an overview of everyone’s goals. That way, at the end of the year, we can look at it and say, “Wow! Look at all the great things Women’s Saving Club has helped us accomplish.”
A simple spreadsheet seems to do the trick.
If you have any other ideas on how to track individual and club goals, let us know!
This month, one of the Women’s Saving Club gals put forth “sell something” as our monthly challenge.
To date, all our challenges have previously revolved around saving money here and there, not buying this or that, tucking away your wallet. But what if we simply earned more? Ok, scratch the “simply.” I know it’s hard. But if we all earned more, we could save AND spend more. (Obviously.) So there has to be a way to make it easier, right? [Read more...]
After more than a year of doing killer money management, us Women’s Saving Club ladies have fallen into what appears to be a money funk.
At our April club meeting earlier this week, many of us had confessions along the lines of a late credit card payment, tucking away unread refinancing statements, using the credit card that didn’t have the maximum reward points…
Are we reverting to our old habits? Slacking off from being so vigilant? Simply taking a break? [Read more...]
In honor of tax day, we thought we’d share with you our club members’ musings on this year’s tax process… [Read more...]
- Breakfast/coffee from home – 5 days = $15 (I usually would only get something maybe a couple times a week, so I’m putting it at a $15 savings.)
- Lunch from home (no daily visit to Cafe Options) - 5 days = $42.50
- No donation to Moveon.org in spite of repeated emails throughout the week = $5.00
- No lunchtime shopping trips = $25
- Made dinner at home x 5 nights = $100
- Dinner and margaritas at Benny’s (mooched off hubby) = $25
- Water instead of late-night drink (and had to convince my in-laws of non-pregnancy) = $8.00
- Planned purchase of new toothbrush holder, but did NOT get matching soap dispenser = $13 (P.S. Why are soap holders so expensive?)
- No dinner with friends = $13
- Gas but NO car wash = $8.00
- Brunch with friends at their house (instead of eating out): $40
- No lunch out with Mom = $8.00
- Lunches/Dinners – I recently started Door to Door Organics, which delivers a box of fresh produce and vegggies every other week. This really encouraged me to make dinner and lunch, resulting not only in some serious cost savings but also much healthier meals. Even the days when I thought I had nothing to bring for lunch, the meals I scrounged up did the trick just fine! (For example, PBJ, carrots, random cheese from the fridge and leftover Valentine’s day candy. Haha). Need to get over the “I have nothing to bring” mental block and save $$ on lunch more often.
- Lunch time shopping. This varies week to week, but I definitely drop some dough on random purchases during lunch. I need a new hobby…or at least a committment to peruse but not purchase.
- Certain people trigger shopping…like hanging out with my Mom. We also need a new hobby that doesn’t involve shopping.
- Mooching (as I did at various restaurants throughout the week) or accepting freebies because I’m on No Spend Week is probably not a sustainable habit. At least not if I want to stay married/keep my friends. But it is good to be aware of how often I eat out, and think carefully before ordering or try harder to share.
The Club’s taking it up a notch!
Following the success of the no-spend challenge week and the habits that it revealed, our next challenge is No-Restaurant Month.
Simple premise: No eating out.
But…given the realities of daily life, we’re setting forth these exemptions:
- If you have a breakfast/lunch/dinner already planned before March, those are okay.
- Work breakfast/lunches/dinners are okay.
- There’s also something to be said about dining with friends and family as a priceless experience. Not that this is an excuse to break the no-restaurant pledge, but we certainly wouldn’t you want to miss a truly special occasion such as a birthday dinner or relatives that visit.
There’s no doubt this will be tough, but as we discovered that eating out can be not only a large source of spending, but of caloric intake. A month of no restaurants may help break that habit of going out to eat so much, increase your savings, help your diet and also serve to build willpower.
Who knew that what started as a money-saving exercise is also a path to well being!
Inspired by Elizabeth’s No-Spend Month, the rest of us gals decided we give it a try. We were a little daunted by not spending for a WHOLE MONTH, so we decided to baby step it and at least commit to a week.
Here’s Christy’s story (Ash, mentioned below, is her hubby):
I finished up my no spend week last week (2/3-2/9) and wanted to report back with the savings! Full disclosure, I had stocked up on groceries on Thursday (2/2) before we got all the snow and already had a couple bottles of wine in the fridge. Here’s the savings run down:
$2 – really wanted snack from marketplace at work, but resisted
$25 – Ash wanted Larkburger for lunch, but remembered no spending
$30 – we already had friend’s birthday dinner planned, but I didn’t order any drinks in the spirit of savings and I saved money on a second entree by convincing Ash to split one
$1 – Red Box movie urge, didn’t even register at first that it’s spending since it’s only a buck
$35 - we didn’t partake in our weekly Sunday brunch after the gym
$10 – offered to bring desserts to super bowl party and resisted bakery urge, instead scrounged around kitchen for ingredients to bake cookies
no spending urges
$12 - no tex mex lunch with coworker
$130+tax – I’ve really been wanting a soda maker and all of a sudden “needed” one after using my friend’s at a super bowl party. I got all the way to checking store availabilities on crateandbarrel.com, but then convinced myself to wait a week and get it for myself when my ’11 bonus check comes (rather than buying something else with it).
$7 – declined Chick-fil-A lunch with coworkers (that was a tough one)
*$45 – Ash called me at work asking if I wanted to go to dinner, but reminded no spending and said I would cook chicken stir fry instead
*And now here’s the slip-up… when we got home from work, the power at our condo was out along with all the buildings/restaurants around us. After sitting in the dark eating chips and salsa for 45 min waiting for the power to come on to stir fry chicken, I gave in and we went to Paquini’s (selected because we had a coupon). Power came back on around 8 pm and I felt a little guilty after the fact, but sitting in the cold and dark just waiting is really over-rated (except maybe for camping when you’re making smores).
no spending urges
In total, I saved $207 (including $45 deduction for Pasquini’s). As for the soda maker, I got a 10% off coupon in the mail on Thursday and an email saying I had $36 in crate and barrel points! So, it’s $88 with tax, rather than the $130+tax - it paid to wait!