Home > Category: Saving Advice Contest Entries

Viewing the 'Saving Advice Contest Entries' Category

Goals for 2010

February 5th, 2010 at 01:32 am

Well, I am well on my way to meeting my 2010 goals. My hospital bill #1 is now $529.58. I paid off $120.00 of it with $100.00 from my tax refund plus my regular $20.00 payment. I will be getting some survey money and other found money soon that I will also funnel towards that bill. I get paid tomorrow and my savings will increase by $40.00 to $598.91.

Ten Things That Helped Me to Survive Financially

July 27th, 2008 at 08:37 pm

1. Short Term Savings Account
This one was particularly true when my husband and I were making payments on a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. We were over $50,000 in debt when we started and were required to make payments of $550.00 a month or risk being taken into court and sued for amount due. Having a short term savings account helped us to weather numerous emergencies, like flat tires, being sick and needing money for co-pays, etc.

2. Doing Surveys
Of course, doing surveys does not net a lot of money like an extra job, but it does give you an occasional $5.00 or $10.00 here and there. I even got $50.00 a couple of times. Another time, I got a really nice case for my laptop computer.

3. Online payment for credit card
Doing online payments for the credit card means I pay less in interest. It also allows me to make several small payments each money when I get survey money, rebate money, etc.

4. Shopping at Discount Stores
Shopping at stores like Dollar General has allowed me to keep more money in my pocket where it belongs. This is especially the case lately when the prices for groceries have been going sky high. For example, in the last year, Hellmann's Canola Oil Mayo has gone from $3.19 to $5.91 in my local grocery store. Ouch. Unfortunately, this brand in not available in Dollar General, but a lot of other things, like Heinz Ketchup, Jiffy Peanut Butter, white vinegar, raisins, pork and beans, Manwich, etc. are available there. What floors me is that the only people I buy food for are me, my husband, and our 2 cats. Yet, there are some weeks, even when shopping at Dollar General, I wind up spending $100.00 on us. Don't get me wrong. I make a list and get what is on the list. I use coupons when the item I need is cheaper with a coupon than any other brand is without a coupon. I also bring my own shopping bags, for which I get a discount. In other words, I don't buy junk food, ice cream, cookies, a lot of red meat, etc., all things which tend to be expensive.

5. Taking My Lunch to Work
Taking my lunch to work saves me at least $30.00 per week easy. I work at a college campus and if I eat in one of the campus eateries, I pay around $6.30 to eat lunch. If I make my own lunch and bring it, I can usually do so for around $1.50. Big savings and less headache for me. In addition, I can also make my own iced tea and take it in a thermos, saving me around $15.00 per week. Wow.

6. Realizing That I am Not Alone.
Regarding finances, it seems that no matter the pay scale, my friends, family, and co-workers are all feeling the pinch in their finances. Most people point the price of gas as the cause, but it is more complicated than that. The value of the dollar is going down - a lot. That impacts the price of food, airline tickets, gas, and anything else you can think of. The support I receive my friends, family, and co-workers is phenomenal because we all seem to be in the same boat. No one pressures anyone else to "go to lunch because we deserve it."

7. Keeping a penny jar.
It probably sounds silly, but I keep a penny jar. Okay, so it's actually a can that my mother used to keep buttons in. But, I keep coins in it. Whenever my purse starts to get a little heavy from the coins in it, I empty them into the can. Once in a awhile I have to raid it for something - like right before payday when my checking account is running on fumes. But for the most part, I am able to accumulate coins in it and then cash them in and deposit them to my checking. I use that to make an extra payment to the cc.

8. Having my retirement deducted from my paycheck.
I admit it. I am weak. If I had to make direct payments to my retirement every month, I probably would not do it. Having it directly taken out of my pay by my employer has disciplined me. I love it. And I love the idea of retirement.

9. The feeling I get when I successfully make a debt payment.
I love the feeling I get when I successfully make a debt payment. It's even better when I pay off a debt in full. Wow. The freedom that paid-off debt gives you is better than... well, a lot of things.

10. Living Close Enough to Work to Walk.
I have not been doing this long enough to realize all of the financial benefits. However, I have not had to buy gas in a week and a half. I am also more physically fit from all the walking. I will do a review of spending after about 2 months to see how it is all going, but I do expect to benefit from it in several ways, including have more financial freedom to pay off debt and increase savings.

Another Payday

June 1st, 2008 at 09:43 pm

Well, last Friday was another payday. I have more debt paid off, more savings accumulated, and more retirement money invested.

We bought a lottery ticket about 2 weeks ago. My dh finally got around to checking it and it is a $3 winner. He gave it to me to do something with it. I cashed it in and promptly deposited it for sending to the cc. I guess $3 is not much, but it is something.

Another payday and I am more prosperous!

10 Things I Wish I Had Know Before Trading a 2000 Honda in for a Classic Car

April 19th, 2008 at 06:44 pm

My hubby and I moved to our current home in late April 2005. In July that year, we spotted a 1968 Mustang sitting in a parking lot of a grocery store. We bought it from the owner, who was a college student. In order to pay for it, we sold our Honda to a nearby car dealer. Here are 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Trading a 2000 Honda for a a Classic Car.

1. I wish I had known how much "skill" my husband had in working on cars. While my husband professed to be a decent mechanic and could do much of the work the car, I discovered after we bought the Mustang that he is not really that good at it.

2. I wish I had known to be a little tougher and stand up to my husband and "no, we will not sell the Honda for a non-working automobile." This mistake alone has cost me more aggravation and money that I accurately calculate.

3. I wish I had known that you need space like a garage and equipment to work on cars. We also did not have the space or equipment needed to work on cars. Tools are expensive and we could not afford to buy them.

4. I wish I had known what poor gas mileage old classic cars get. My 5-year-old Honda was not the greatest car in the world. However, it got excellent gas mileage. We used to joke that the Mustang got about 19 gallons to the mile.

5. Except for a bent wheel which needed to be replaced, our 2005 Honda was in excellent condition. We had never had any major problems with it. Our Mustang was in the shop for over 3 1/2 months getting major work (replacing the engine, front end, brakes, power steering, fuel pump, gas gauge, and gas tank) completed. In the meantime, we had no other car and I had to take the bus to work and ride my bike to do errands and shopping.

6. I wish I had realized the stupidity of getting a $500 cash advance for getting repairs done on the Mustang. Mind you, this was not all the repairs that had to be done, only a small portion. Oh, my lord, the enormous interest rates! Because of charging many things to the cc, including the car repairs, I have a cc balance and practically no savings.

7. The cost of repairs for an old classic car can be enormous when compared to a car that is in good, running order and needs only minor maintenance and the rare major repair. In other words, old classic cars are like the house in the movie, "The Money Pit," starring Tom Hanks.

8. Old classic cars that are not in good condition are probably not good for long distance travel.

9. The hubby convinced me that we could fix up the Mustang, sell it, and then buy two in much better condition that even the first one. I learned as a result of this experience that unless you sell to a collector and the car is in excellent condition, getting any money of the deal is not likely.

10. I wish I had known that I have be more responsible for myself and to keep some money separate and hidden from my husband. I am not trying to be secretive and I am not doing anything illegal, but when he finds out I have money, it just vanishes to buy stuff we don't need. He does not even know how much I have in my retirement and I will not tell him. He does not even agree with me having a retirement account, but I am doing it anyway, as I don't want to be standing in the Salvation Army soup line and clipping coupons when I retire. Statistically, because he is older than I am, he will likely die first. Should it happen otherwise, though, his name is on the POD part of all of my accounts.

It took 2 1/2 years to truly convince my husband we had to get rid of the Mustang. We were able to trade it to for a 1995 Pontiac Grand Am that is in good working order. (This is an interesting story in itself, because the guy wanted the Mustang, a car that does not even run, for the car we got. It was a straight trade.) The Grand Am is not perfect, but it is very good. His desire to get rid of the Mustang arose out of us trying to get custody of his granddaughter. In his words, we need something more reliable and family-like to drive the baby around in. I don't car about the reason he finally agreed to do it. I am just glad to have that albatross off my back. I will never again allow him to convince me to trade a good working automobile for one that is in questionable condition.

What Being in Debt Can Teach You About Money

March 16th, 2008 at 08:21 pm

1. When you are in debt, you learn to put what's most important (rent, food, utilities, healthcare, debt) first.

2. Rather than focus hopelessly to make our debt decrease, I simply make the payments and don't focus on the debts with any negative emotion. If you focus on these things with negative emotion, you will simply get more of what you don't want.

3. Don't beat yourself up if you make a mistake.

4. If there something that you want or need, but have no idea how to get it, place your order with the universe. Tell the universe what you need, but don't try to figure it out. Let the universe decide how it will happen.

5. There's no such thing as a free lunch. If I go to a department store to buy a specific thing and the associate offers me a store card with a discount on purchases that day, I turn it down. Those cards have an outrageous rate and are not worth it.

Things That I Wish I Had Know When I Was Younger

January 1st, 2008 at 10:38 pm

These are just a few of the things I wish I had known when I was younger.

1. Credit cards are not like coupons. You have to pay them back.

2. To appreciate those early years in your life when the biggest decision you have to make is chocolate or vanilla ice cream. I wanted freedom to make my own choices. Little did I know with freedom comes responsibility. (That almost sounds like a line from the Spiderman movie.)

3. To tone down my wide-eyed ambition enough to stop and smell the roses. My mother told me from the time I was born, I was like I was on a mission to do something and had to do it now. She used to call me "bulldog."

4. To pay attention more to what my Dad had to say. He died when I was 10 years old, so I did not get much of a chance to absorb his wisdom.

Oh, to be as calm and without a care as these cats.