Sunday, October 16, 2011

What's In Your Piggy Bank?...Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

Cutting the budget doesn't mean cutting out the fun in your life. A slimmed-down household budget helps you save money and move towards bigger financial goals. Cutting your household budget can help you pad your savings account, pay down debt, or give yourself breathing room in the budget! You might even end up with enough money for a relaxing beach vacation (or a fishing trip...ha). It just takes planning and good judgement.  And some common sense (cents) haha. 
Cut Down On Dining Out

After a long day of work, your favorite restaurant is calling your name. Before you give in to your craving,  consider the effects of the decision. The amount you spend on a dinner for two at a restaurant could buy the ingredients for several meals for the week at the grocery store. You don't need to completely forgo date night with your mate at your favorite hot spot, but try reducing your nights out by half. Watch your lunches out as well. Your bank account will thank you for enjoying leftovers in the office break room instead of hitting the deli. 

Ask For A Lower Rate

A simple phone call to all of your service providers and lenders could mean more money in your bank account. Many companies work with customers by offering lower rates or special deals to avoid losing a customer. Call your cable company, phone service provider, cell phone provider, Internet company and other service providers asking for reduced rates.  Let them know you are looking around at other companies that provide the same services.  You can always turn off the land line if you have cell phones!  Calling your credit card companies or lenders might get you a lower interest rate on your debt. The lower the interest, the lower your overall payment, which leaves more room in the budget. Shopping around for more affordable insurance is also an option for cutting back costs.  Equal payment plans for utilities really help out!

          Become a "Free Entertainment" Guru

Entertainment expenses are likely a large portion of your budget. Free or cheap entertainment options give you a chance to hang out with friends or enjoy an evening at home without draining the budget. Instead of paying $100 or more for a big-time concert, check out a local band playing at a bar or club or a festival type of outside venue. Take advantage of free services at the library, such as movie rentals, CD rentals, or join a book club. Invite your friends or family over for a movie marathon instead of joining them at the theater.  I personally love Red Box.  It's saves the day many a time and doesn't drain the pocket book. 


Set Spending Limits

Giving yourself an allowance for your extra spending helps keep you on track while avoiding a drain on your budget. Withdraw the set amount of money each week so you know exactly how much is available for extra expenses. When you want to eat out for lunch or join friends for a pedicure, that cash goes toward the cost.  The extra funds can be your "Funny Money" or your savings for the month of December when it's time for holiday shopping!  I set aside $25. a week for several months and that paid for my trip out to the RMF in Colorado!  It can be done.

Knowledge is power!  A budget lets you know how much money you have coming in and how much you will need to cover your lifestyle. More than anything else, a budget gives you more information about your own lifestyle and how to manage it. Even though budgets are easy to create and follow, the reality is that very few Americans actually take the time to make and use them. Ask anyone who does live by a budget though, and you’ll hear that his or her financial life got a whole lot simpler after taking a little time to figure out how much was coming in, what needed to be paid for and how much extra there was for savings and fun.  : )


  1. "What's in Your Piggy Bank?"


    I have officially given up on any chance of ever having anything in it.

    I don't eat out, no loans or credit cards, I'm an expert at free entertainment and my spending limits are set by the fact that, after paying for necessities, there's nothing around to spend.

    My retirement plan at the moment is to work till I die.

    None of this is a bad thing by the way.

  2. Nice post RD. It's all about priorities and what works for you (and your family, if you have one).

    Your tips definitely make a ton of sense, and of them all, I'm definitely guilty of eating out too much.

    Two of the largest monthly expenses anyone will have are their mortgage/rent and car payment/lease. It's amazing how many of my friends are "house poor" or "car poor" because they felt they needed that huge house or fancy new car. Our family doesn't have the biggest house or most expensive car, but we like to the trade off works for us!

  3. Great shout out for libraries! And great points. Key is, just figure out what's important to you. Not, what society tells you is.

  4. Ken ~ Well, for what it is worth...I will be working probably past my retirement age too...

    T! ~ Travel is put over a few things in our household too. (As you may notice!) It is a matter of priorities and what is most important to you and yours.

  5. Excellent advice. I save through the year so I can buy myself a nice Christmas present. This year it's a camera, last was two TFO fly rods.

  6. E.M.B. ~ Social pressure can certainly be a challenge for some. It makes it so much easier to live within your means and make those priorities!

    Phillip ~ There you go. Just takes a little bit of determination and sacrifice.

  7. Great advice Suzie, er.... Damsel!
    I liked your summation. "Knowledge is power!" Too many people have too little knowledge for the power they think they deserve.
    Oh, but eating out means I don't have to cook! Tip (this is kind of like an investment), Invite all your friends (the ones that will reciprocate) over for dinner. You cook once and will probably have some luscious leftovers. Then, you will get 3, 4, 5 or more invites to their place. You cook once, you eat many times.
    Another must (and possibly the biggest)... PAY OFF your credit cards! Don't use them until they are payed off! That accomplished, instead of using cash, I pay for almost everything with my credit cards that pay ME back. Always be aware of what you are spending. Never use your credit cards for large ticket items without having the money in the bank to pay the credit card bill, IN FULL, as soon as it's due. Shop around for 1 or 2 cards (never more) that will pay you the biggest percentage on purchases. I use my COSTCO American Express the pays 3% on gas, 2% on travel and dinning out and 1% on everything else. That is more than my savings account pays. KEY?.... ALWAYS pay it off without having to pay them interest. If you do this correctly they are no longer CREDIT cards they are interest bearing account.

  8. RD
    Great information especially during these bad economic times. I agree cooking out is a great way to save, being retired I usually check out the local eating establishment once a week in our local paper. This week Subway is doing the footlong for five bucks with your choice of two meats. I can't eat at home for that price.I eat half one day and the next day I have the the other half, not bad for 2.50 a meal. Thanks for sharing

  9. Larry (FFC) ~ I believe that you have said it all. : )

  10. All good advice. I think we pretty much follow all these rules.


  11. Great advice! I just revised my budget yesterday and I always find it takes the pressure off to know exactly how much money is spoken for and what is left over. There may even be enough for an ice fishing trip this winter :)

  12. You gots to have money to have a budget...we'll try it with peanuts first and see how it goes.

  13. Mark ~ Thanks!

    Argosgirl ~ Putting aside the funds for those fishing trips is high priority...heehee! Hope your budgeting results in less stress...

  14. Cofisher ~ Just remember to put aside one peanut out of ten and you will have quite the stash!! See, you just learned budgeting.

  15. Good info,,, whats in mine... dubbing fibers and an old nickle... Just enough to make it happen...