Thursday, December 11, 2008

AHA! Moment

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, :)

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!


Melissa said...

that's awesome.. good point about your hair!! You could always get those kits that you can highlight your hair with too.. (you could probably work them into a CVS deal here or there)

frugalsuz said...

I've thought about that, but I'm a little afraid of those home hair kits. I'd be worried I'd turn my hair orange or something! lol

Pubbler said...

Great idea! I do my own highlights though. Bought a box of 4 frosting caps (Sally Beauty for $3.99) and use the free color from CVS. I will post some more ideas on my blog over the weekend (especially about saving on clothes).

frugalsuz said...

Great! I'm always on the search for money savings tips. I'll definitely keep an eye out for them. :)

Stephanie said...

I got 2 of the $10 JCP coupons too and I am excited about using them. We are going Christmas shopping on Sunday and I will be using them then I got 2 one in my maiden name and 1 in my married name but hey I am not going to complain.

frugalsuz said...

I love these $10 coupons! Prices at JCP are usually pretty low to begin with, so I can some great deals with these coupons. I occasionally get other ones too, like for Fashion Bug, but those are trickier to use. They have all these restrictions, but I've found a couple good deals there too. Maybe we'll start to see more of these kind of coupons in the future!

Stephanie said...

Yeah that would be great so far JCP is the only place I get those kind of coupons but I always love to use them.

Precious said...

Hi Suz,

I wish I got those JC Penney coupons. When I did they were fun to spend.

All of the ways you listed are terrific ways to save money. I quit coloring my hair about 5 years ago. It uis definitely cheaper; but if I decide to do it again, I have a few kits(Free of course) stockpiled and I will do it myself.

I am working on my eletric bill right now- lowering it. See the post on my blog for what I am doing!

Sarah said...

Frugal suz - the home hair kits will turn your hair orange if you try it. It happens in the salon too, but the salon chemicals are stronger so you never actually see the "orange" stage. Just do it again & the orange will lighten all the way. Its just stuck mid-process :) Got to love having a stylist for a sister!

Lisa B. said...

I color and highlight my own hair now that I get it sooooo cheap from CVS! Speaking of hair, we bought a set of hair clippers and my hubby and son cut their own hair. My hubby is pretty easy, he wears his hair buzzed off. Son does in the summer, in the winter I take him to the barber a couple times but it has really cut down on hair expense.

Shelly said...

I have been unplugging the microwave, computer, and pretty much everthing except the TV (hate to reprogram it all the time) and the VCR. This past month my electric/water/trash bill was only $72! My trash pickup was $15 of that--- $3 higher than my water or sewer costs!

frugalsuz said...

I've never tried to color my own hair (too afraid! lol) but I'll keep that in mind if I do try. I just want to go back to my natural color for a while, I've forgotten what it looked like!

That's great!

My boyfriend shaves his head, so that's not an expense for us. Well, unless you count the razors, but those are so cheap! :)

Jamie said...

Sounds like you're doing great! Keep it up!

What do I do to try and save money-
1) Our thermostat stays set @ 56 degrees. I wear pj's long socks, sweatshirt, a robe, and cuddle up under a blanket. Every once in awhile I'll let DH have a "warm house day" and turn it up to 60 degress.. lol.
2) We unplug appliances.
3)I use to time myself in the shower (we have a gas water heater) in hopes of saving money.. but with the cold weather I need those hot showers!
4) I rarely eat out (it kills me to pay outrageous prices for mediocre food and poor service!) I bring my lunch to work. DH and I have movie night on Friday's and we "splurge" on $5.99 Pizza.
5) I'm always after DH to turn off the lights when he leaves a room.
6) I usually hang my clothes (around the house) to dry. Just note that it takes longer (at least in my house) for clothes to air dry in the winter than the summer.

Laurie said...

I've been thinking of things all week to add here...

1. I have a programmable thermostat. I set it low while I sleep and go to work.
2. I open my curtains during the day to let the sunlight warm up my house.
3. I keep my closet doors shut (not sure if it makes a difference, but there's no reason that my clothing needs to be warm)
4. I've covered the ceiling fan in the bathroom with a plastic bag. I don't want all my heat getting sucked up in to the attic. It also keeps the humidity from going up there after a shower, so I don't have to run a humidifier.
5. I shut off all of the lights when they aren't in use. I've also switched to the CFL? bulbs, and have dimmer switches on everything. I use nightlights and candles to light my home when possible.
6. Unplug things when not in use.
7. Use my plastic bags from CVS etc for cat litter trash bags instead of wasting a whole garbage bag.
8. Use coupons... (duh!)
9. I do all of my own beauty stuff....pluck my eyebrows, paint my pedis for this girl
10. If I go out to eat, I always bring home the leftovers to have as a second meal.
11. I grow my own herbs.
12. Ryan (my DBF) has a coal stove that he uses to heat his home. It came with a cooktop so is able to heat up food on top of it instead of having to use the regular stove or oven.
13. Plan out all of my errands so I can conserve gas and make sure I hit all of the stores I need to go to while I'm in a certain area of town.
14. Sell stuff on ebay & craigslist --old movies, books, my old prom dresses....

That's all I can come up with for now. Great question! I love trying to come up w/new ways to save

frugalsuz said...

These are some great ideas! I save my bags from CVS and Walgreens for kitty litter too. :)