Sheila's 2018 Savings Story

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2dogs+someCats
Posts: 688
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:46 pm

Sheila's 2018 Savings Story

Post by 2dogs+someCats » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:37 pm

I shall ramble here about what I've done so far to save and get out of debt. The "backstory" is...and yes friends, I am old enough to know better but apparently I did not - the Ex got me into some credit card debt that I am digging out of. Then I had to have a new roof just after he moved out...OUCH.

And the "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all..." scenarios kept piling up - out of pocket dental expenses, car repairs...you get the idea.

So, thus far, 2018 has been "black belt frugal" for the most part and will continue as such until I get this debt knocked down enough to have some breathing room. Stay tuned for updates if anyone cares to read.

If not, this will at least help me see some progress and what is working, what is not, etc. Here goes...

2dogs+someCats
Posts: 688
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:46 pm

Re: Sheila's 2018 Savings Story

Post by 2dogs+someCats » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:41 pm

I have always been proud of the fact that I pay my bills on time and in full. And THEN...I could not pay two credit card payments in full (full minimum payment that is) and THEN...I got a letter from the credit card company. And the letter said...

That they wanted to HELP me...because I have been a good customer for may years...

and I said ... WHAT??? Can that be true??? And I called...and my minimum payment has been reduced by HALF and my interest rate has been reduced by MORE THAN half. And yes, my account got closed and yes, perhaps my credit score took a hit but I really feel this was the right decision for me.

I am doing the debt reduction plan where you pay off the smallest bill first (done!!) then apply that to the next smallest bill (also done!!!) and so on. I am seeing progress and in the meantime I am so thankful that my visa card company was REALLY willing to help me.

I told my advisor that I have always paid my bills and that I WANT TO pay my bills. And he said "We know. That is why we are willing to extend this help to you." WOW.

2dogs+someCats
Posts: 688
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:46 pm

Re: Sheila's 2018 Savings Story

Post by 2dogs+someCats » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:59 pm

Things I have done (started new or am continuing to do) to save money so far this year:

1. Switched cell phone from Straight Talk ($40/month) to Tracfone (about $17/month).

2. Cancelled internet at home. I am taking a hit for breaking my contract but it is still cheaper than the $55 a month I was paying. The Library is around the corner and has free WiFi. Called former provider - asked to make monthly payments until my "broken contract fee" is pad off ($200) and they said yes, I can do so with no penalty.

3. Called Visa company and got on debt reduction plan - cut my minimum payment and interest rate in half!!

4. Developed a budget for all food for me and the pets and all household stuff (soap, bathroom tissue, trash bags, etc.) for $130 per month. This requires a lot of studying of flyers and various trips (walking) to several different stores but it is very doable and I am eating well by making everything from scratch. I have had to PASS UP some good coupon deals to make this work. The hardest part has been getting okay with that. I still use some coupons here and there and they help a lot - I just can't "coupon like crazy" anymore.

5. I am walking literally everywhere - to the stores, to the library, to work, to the dentist, to visit a couple of friends who live here in town, etc. My gas expense has been $10 per month - to make a visit to my parents and keep enough gas in the car so if I needed to drive it there is enough in the tank.

6. Still keeping the heat off in rooms I'm not in. I find that my small electric fireplace warms my bedroom up very well and that is the room I settle into in the evenings to do my reading, knitting, etc.

7. Since I have no television service and no internet at home, I invested $10 in a clock radio. It is nice to have music and get the national and local news while getting ready for work in the mornings.

8. Have been using Redbox codes to get free movies on DVD. I play them on my old laptop that has a DVD drive built in. These free codes are few and far between but I have gotten two so far this year.

9. All meals and snacks are at or from home. I did slip up last month and "blow" about $7 but I am moving on and not losing sleep over it. I don't expect that I will be perfect and not treat myself for the entire year.

10. Thinking outside the box when it comes to things I need or want. Here is an example: I needed yarn for my knitting group that meets here at the library this coming Monday. There is no yarn to be had in this town (unless KMart carries it which I don't think they do and IF they do it will be expen$ive). So...I went to the thrift store on half price clothing day and scored two heavy duty knitted sweaters for .50 cents each. They have been washed and are drying as we speak. I plan to take them apart for the yarn and make some knitted dish cloths. I think I can get at least 4 out of each sweater. $1.02 well spent.

Another example - I am in this book club so I have a lot of the earnings from surveys I'm doing on MTurk put on my Amazon gift card account. So each time it is time to order the next month's book, it is covered with my gift card account. I recently ordered the next book, used, for $1.40 and the shipping was $3.00 - cost me nothing out of my bank account.

2dogs+someCats
Posts: 688
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:46 pm

Re: Sheila's 2018 Savings Story

Post by 2dogs+someCats » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:08 pm

Thoughts on the topic of making more money. I have pondered this extensively and unless something that screams PERFECT to me happens along, I will not be going outside the home to work a second job. I feel like...I. Just. Can't...the time away from the dogs, less time to be seriously frugal, etc.

So...little bits of extra income are coming from:

1. Caring for my boss's dogs for 40 some days this year at $25 a day.

2. Some very occasional babysitting for a friend's grandson (maybe 8 hours every other month) but his mom pays me $25 each time.

3. MUCH increased time spent doing surveys and writing articles. I have to go to the library for this - and yes, I would rather be at home - but I find that my focus is better here - I treat it like a job and work harder and more consistently at it. I have been making between about $40 and about $55 each month. I want to take this up to $150 this month and I think I can. I have the last week of the month off from my regular job (paid vacation) and plan to put in a lot more hours doing this side gig.

The extra money is going on debt. Gift cards earned are funding grocery stock ups, clothing that I need, etc.

alliesmama4
Posts: 2759
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:10 pm
Location: Southern IL

Re: Sheila's 2018 Savings Story

Post by alliesmama4 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:47 pm

Sheila sorry to hear you are having to deal with so much but glad to hear you are keeping a positive attitude and have a good plan. I am looking forward to your progress and ideas that I might glean from your journey. You go girl!

I agree that you can stay home and not get a second job. You need your home time to recharge your battery and to spend time with your fur family. Also being home you can be more frugal.. at least I find that is helpful for me.. When I worked I was too tired to do as much as I should have.

I have one of the over the airwaves TV antennae's and it really is nice to have. I still have satellite in my great room but the air wave one I move from room to room or downstairs depending on where I am spending my time ie craft room, bedroom, basement.
Love and good wishes for a successful venture.. Your friend Janet
Janet Alliesmama

alliesmama4
Posts: 2759
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:10 pm
Location: Southern IL

Re: Sheila's 2018 Savings Story

Post by alliesmama4 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:59 pm

2dogs+someCats wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:59 pm
Things I have done (started new or am continuing to do) to save money so far this year:

1. Switched cell phone from Straight Talk ($40/month) to Tracfone (about $17/month).

2. Cancelled internet at home. I am taking a hit for breaking my contract but it is still cheaper than the $55 a month I was paying. The Library is around the corner and has free WiFi. Called former provider - asked to make monthly payments until my "broken contract fee" is pad off ($200) and they said yes, I can do so with no penalty.

3. Called Visa company and got on debt reduction plan - cut my minimum payment and interest rate in half!!

4. Developed a budget for all food for me and the pets and all household stuff (soap, bathroom tissue, trash bags, etc.) for $130 per month. This requires a lot of studying of flyers and various trips (walking) to several different stores but it is very doable and I am eating well by making everything from scratch. I have had to PASS UP some good coupon deals to make this work. The hardest part has been getting okay with that. I still use some coupons here and there and they help a lot - I just can't "coupon like crazy" anymore.

5. I am walking literally everywhere - to the stores, to the library, to work, to the dentist, to visit a couple of friends who live here in town, etc. My gas expense has been $10 per month - to make a visit to my parents and keep enough gas in the car so if I needed to drive it there is enough in the tank.

6. Still keeping the heat off in rooms I'm not in. I find that my small electric fireplace warms my bedroom up very well and that is the room I settle into in the evenings to do my reading, knitting, etc.

7. Since I have no television service and no internet at home, I invested $10 in a clock radio. It is nice to have music and get the national and local news while getting ready for work in the mornings.

8. Have been using Redbox codes to get free movies on DVD. I play them on my old laptop that has a DVD drive built in. These free codes are few and far between but I have gotten two so far this year.

9. All meals and snacks are at or from home. I did slip up last month and "blow" about $7 but I am moving on and not losing sleep over it. I don't expect that I will be perfect and not treat myself for the entire year.

10. Thinking outside the box when it comes to things I need or want. Here is an example: I needed yarn for my knitting group that meets here at the library this coming Monday. There is no yarn to be had in this town (unless KMart carries it which I don't think they do and IF they do it will be expen$ive). So...I went to the thrift store on half price clothing day and scored two heavy duty knitted sweaters for .50 cents each. They have been washed and are drying as we speak. I plan to take them apart for the yarn and make some knitted dish cloths. I think I can get at least 4 out of each sweater. $1.02 well spent.

Another example - I am in this book club so I have a lot of the earnings from surveys I'm doing on MTurk put on my Amazon gift card account. So each time it is time to order the next month's book, it is covered with my gift card account. I recently ordered the next book, used, for $1.40 and the shipping was $3.00 - cost me nothing out of my bank account.
Sheila I go to Dollar Tree and found out by accident my local Dollar Tree will accept manufactures coupons.. I know they do not have a lot of brand name foods but I have seen some..Not sure if your DT allows them or if you were already aware of it? I rarely get coupons since I no longer buy the paper but sometimes they come to me through other people or the mail Janet Alliesmama
Janet Alliesmama

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