Thursday, July 7, 2011

Operation Debt-Free

You know what drives me nuts? We need to save money, I want to pay off debt - yet we fail to do it over and over again. The other night, Derek and I were talking and I made a statement to him that I really need to find the willpower to live up to: "By the time you are done with school (next July), we can probably pay down enough debt to afford your student loans and let you stay home with the kids at least until I'm done with my MBA (March 2013)." 

My biggest problem is that it's so convenient and nice to pick things up, grab a frappuccino at Starbucks, buy fountain soda a few times a week, eat out for lunch... it's like my weight loss struggle: I know what I need to do and how I need to do it, yet I fail to put the plan into action. 

My goal is to really tighten my budget and get us to a point where we are snowballing our debt and paying things off so that next December when my husband's student loans go into repayment, we can afford them without having to send him back to a full-time job.  He loves staying home with the kids and I would love for him to be able to stay home at least until I finish school - for my sanity. 

For the month of June, I gave up frappuccinos, which cost around $5 each. That was, until June 24th when I just needed one. BUT- prior to that one, my last was on May 27th.  This may not seem like a huge feat by any means, but considering that I would average 2-3 Starbucks beverages per week (sometimes more), this was huge. Yes, I still stopped at DD for iced coffee, but even stopping twice per week for an iced coffee saved us money since 2 medium iced coffees were still a few cents LESS than ONE frappuccino. Yikes.  I did that as a challenge to myself. I knew it would save money, and I knew it would save some calories too. 

But... fountain sodas have become my absolute downfall. We love them. They are sooooo much better than a can/bottle of soda. But, they add up - especially when my husband and I both get them a few times a week.  That's one area that I really need to work on... we can easily save about $10/week on sodas. That's $120 a year on average.  My plan is to start limiting myself (us) to once per week, which totals $2.53  - instead of about 4 times per week, totalling $10.12. It's a start, right?

We just dropped our home phone and switched to FiOS, which will save us $16/month or $192 per year and once we renew our cell phone contracts, I think we will be downgrading to just messaging phones (Goodbye Smartphones ... you will be missed!) and that should save us around $40/month or $480/year.

BUT, I feel like it just won't be enough. We have events ALL.THE.TIME... Parties, showers, weddings...such is life I guess.  I've decided that for birthday parties there is a limit of $25 per gift. I'm trying to stick with it, sometimes even coming it at around $20. And, factor in the fact that we have kids - they are truly the wildcard. For example, in February/March we went out and got new jeans for Victoria. Apparently, she hit a growth spurt in May and none of her new jeans fit anymore. Sigh.

I know we can do it... it just takes willpower.  I feel like we've already given up a lot of extras to make it work out for Derek to primarily stay home with the kids. His part-time job definitely helps. Lately he's been getting a crazy amount of hours (averaging 27/week) so that also helps pay for the extras that pop up...

So- what are your best savings tips?!

1 comment:

  1. Some of the things we do around here to save money is craft our own gifts. There are alot of ideas and instructions to be found via the internet. There are some great one to make your own laundry and dishwasher powders. Checking grocery store ads, stocking up and planning meals are another great way to save.

    If we took my husbands smart phone I think he would be in mourning for months :)