Do you ever have these? You're happily plodding along in your everyday life and all of a sudden, you say to yourself, "Aha! I've got it!" Well, I had an aha moment today. I've been wanting to go back to a darker hair color for a while (back towards my natural light brown color) versus the blond highlights I currently have, and it dawned on me today that if I go back to my natural color, I don't have to spend money on getting my hair highlighted anymore! I know you're probably thinking, "umm, duh frugalsuz! You never thought of that before?" Well, umm...no. :)
Its funny sometimes how you (or I) spend money on things without really thinking about whether they are necessary or not. Every so often, I look at my budget with a critical eye and see where I can cut expenses and increase my savings. But this was an irregular expense I didn't really think too much about. I wonder what else is lurking out there that I could cut?
With the way things are going right now, I really want to save as much in an emergency fund as possible. Here are some things I'm currently doing to save more:
- I'm so psyched gas prices have been so low lately. I budget $150 for gas every pay period (I have a long commute) and anything leftover that I haven't spent on gas has been going into my emergency fund or lately to pay for Christmas presents (I only have one more to buy, so I'll be done really soon).
- I increased my contributions to my Roth & 401(k) at the start of the month - that felt really nice, even if it did make my monthly budget a little tighter. If I don't save now, it will only be harder down the road, right?
- I use my Discover card to pay for gas and car related stuff (oil changes, repairs, etc.). I get 5% back on auto purchases, which I can get back as cash or on gift cards -- can we say CVS people? The key is obviously to pay the balance in full every month so you don't pay any interest.
- I've been keeping all appliances unplugged when not in use. The only exceptions are my Tivo and my alarm clock. Everything else gets unplugged. I've noticed my electric bill has definitely gone down since I started doing this.
- I've been taking advantage of all the $10 off $10 coupons for JCPenney or similar coupons that I get. I used to not buy any clothes for months at a time, and then I'd binge and spend a couple hundred dollars on a massive order of clothes. Yikes! That obviously is a budget killer! I've been trying to buy clothes more regularly now using these coupons. Today I bought two pairs of Dockers pants for around $35 using two $10 coupons.
I'd love to hear some of your money saving strategies too!