I’ve decided to join Precious’ money saving challenge on her blog Frugal Makes Cents. I had done this on my old blog in years past and it definitely helped to keep me accountable. Precious has some ingenious money saving tips, I’ve learned so much from reading her posts over the years.
Without further ado, here are the goals and challenges I’m going to try to meet during 2012.
1. Try to have several (at least 3) “no spend days” each week. This will help me in a number of ways. First, I’ll be more likely to run all of my errands on one or two days rather than a few each day, helping conserve fuel. I’m also hoping this will help with impulse purchases.
I pay my bills online and have them all scheduled to be paid the day before the payment is actually due. I’m not going to include my bills toward these “no spend days.” I figure if I start messing with payment due dates I may end up paying something late and getting whacked with a late fee.
I will consider it a “no spend day” if I have refrained from whipping out cash, my debit or credit card to pay for anything.
Not sure how I’ll handle using a gift card or rewards coupon to pay for something…guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
2. Get my emergency fund up to $10,000. I’m so close to being there, I can smell it. However, on Christmas Eve, my furnace broke. I had to borrow $550 from my emergency fund to pay for the repair. Luckily, I had the money so there was no need to borrow it from anyone or put the repair on a credit card. I plan to repay that $550 back to that account with part of my next paycheck. At that point I’ll be about $1300 away from my goal.
I’ll be putting in 10% of my net income into this account each week until it is fully funded. Also, any additional money I make goes into this account also, such as rebate money or money earned from selling unwanted items.
3. Once my emergency fund is funded, I need to pay off my mother a little bit of money I owe her. It’s around $1700.
4. Once 2 & 3 are complete, I’d like to establish a short term emergency fund of $1000. This is what I would like to use for emergencies that pop up, like the unexpected furnace repair, while reserving the other account for if I were to ever lose my job.
5. Should I accomplish 2, 3 &4 this year, I’ll start saving for either a new car or new kitchen cabinets and countertops.
6. Last year, right after Christmas I decided to start working out. I had said I was going to do it many times before, but had never followed through. I went from being able to run/jog for maybe a minute or so and worked my way up to being able to run 2 miles. I also did about 15 personal training sessions and learned how to do arm, leg and ab workouts. Between the running and the weight training, I was working out 4 or 5 times a week. I’d like to keep that up. It shouldn’t be too hard, but I do hate running outside in the cold.
7. Lastly, I’m challenging myself to do a better job of eating healthier, drinking more water and less soda, and remembering to bring a lunch to work instead of buying one.
a. Eating healthier: It’s tough to do. I’m one of those extremely lucky people that can eat whatever I want and not have to worry about it. That’s why I think I always had a tough time sticking to any kind of exercise routine. I used to think that if I didn’t have any weight to lose, what was the point? That and when I would exercise I’d actually gain weight. Bummer. Let’s face it, I’m never going to be one of those people that loves veggies and enjoys fruit as a snack. But if I can cut out a lot of processed foods, fast food and make more of my own meals, not only will I save myself some money, I think I’ll be a bit healthier. At least I hope so.
b. More water, less soda: I love soda. Love love love it. But I know it isn’t good for me. I have two 2 liters in the house, and once those are gone, I won’t be buying any more. I’m in the market for a Brita water pitcher, so I’m hoping that will make it easy to drink lots more water…even if I have to start off with Crystal Lite packets, it’s better than soda.
c. Bringing a lunch to work: Easier said than done. I go on kicks where I’ll do this every day for a week or so, but then I get bored with sandwiches and fall back into my old habits. Ordering out is so expensive and the places we go are usually not healthy.
I will definitely need to treat myself once in a while so I don’t go off the deep end. I think for now my rule will be any time I work an overtime shift I can order a meal out either that night or the next. An overtime shift brings in so much extra money, that splurging on a burrito or something isn’t a big deal. Plus, after working 16 hours and having 8 hours to get back home, sleep, shower and return to work doesn’t leave me much time to make myself a lunch.
8. One more thing…I need to get some sort of storage solution for the alcove in my dining room. The dimensions are odd, and I’ve been scouring craigslist and tons of online stores looking for a buffet that will fit in there without much luck. My goal is to find one that doesn’t cost me a fortune.