Catchin’ up to saving $1,000 in 30 days

As promised, here’s a list of five more tips to save money this month.

Tip #19: Save money, eat well and look hot in less than an hour. This tip is quite similar to Ramit Sethi’s tip #11, to never pay full retail price for clothes again. It’s all about discount shopping websites. This tip entry however, was a guest post written by Susan Su. She prefaces her entry by stating that she’s a “snob” that eats organic, loves designer clothes, buys premium pet food and hates Old Navy. If this sounds like you, then this entry is definitely a must read. If not, you should still read it.

Su lists off a bunch of her favorite discount shopping websites. Personally, I’m not obsessed with designer clothes, so if I find something cute at Target or Forever 21, I’ll buy it. I am not going to going buy a $400 outfit that’s on sale for $200. Sure, a 50% savings looks like a steal, but for $200?! I can buy three or four outfits from Forever 21 for that price! A couple of my favorite listings she did write about though were Etsy, Amazon, and a newly discovered CSA (community/consumer supported agriculture). I was unsure of exactly what this was. When I did a Google search for local CSAs in Temecula though, Inland Valley CSA, I immediately fell in love. I bought a trial membership/pledge for $130, which is $30 per box plus a $10 one-time membership fee. I figure I am saving about $5 to $10 a week on the organic fruits and vegetables I purchase from the store. I am also saving time from rummaging around the grocery store produce aisles.

The CSA is a mutual commitment between a farm and a community. You pledge to pay your farm for a portion of the season’s harvest. That pledge helps to pay for the farms equipment, seeds, fertilizer, equipment, and labor. In return, you get a box delivered to a convenient pick-up location every week full of that week’s harvest. Last week, member’s harvest boxes were full of beet greens, broccoli rapinni, collard greens, dandelion greens, lemons, oranges, kale, and a salad mix. If you’re unsure of what some of the fruits or vegetables are, their website offers a produce ID page along with various different recipes that incorporate that particular fruit or vegetable. The trial membership is only for four weeks. I am going to test it out, and if I like it and use it well, I might bump my pledge up to eight weeks. I think it’s a great way to get fresh organic produce and know where it’s coming from and cook healthy dishes. It saves time visiting the grocery store and allows you to try out a bunch of different things you wouldn’t normally purchase when you do go to the grocery store. Not to mention, it’s great for the planet as well. And who doesn’t feel better about doing something for our planet?

What websites do you shop on to save money?

Total savings: $20 to $40 per month.

 

Tip #20: Change the date of Christmas. This posted tip is also a guest post from author Erica Douglass. She says that it was cheaper to fly out to see family one week before Christmas. She saved over $1,000 by doing this. She also says that you can do this for any holiday or even birthdays. Luckily for me, my family lives within driving distance. So getting there for the holidays isn’t a problem for me at all.

Total savings: $0

 

Tip #21: Save thousands by pre-paying your debt. This post is mainly about paying of loans, not credit cards. I have only one loan, my car. But I got a great deal and pay 0% interest on it, so this tip doesn’t necessarily apply to my loan. The point of this tip is to pay off as much or as little as extra as you possibly can towards your loans. That extra $100 each month could save you thousands of dollars in interest in the long-run. The same concept applies to credit cards though. It could take you years and thousands and thousands of dollars to pay off a credit card with a high interest by just paying the minimum amount due. If you put an extra $100 towards that payment each month, it’ll knock off a lot of money.

How much more could you save by paying more for your loans? How much would that save you? Calculate your savings using this loan calculator.

Total savings: $0 since I don’t have any loans that I am paying interest on (not including credit cards).

 

Tip #22: Analyze your progress on the 30 day challenge. This tip asks you to take a step back and really look at how much you’ve saved so far.

Here’s how I am doing:
• Packing my lunch: $10 to $20 per week. About $75 for the month
• Turn thermostat down: $0. I did it, but I don’t see the bill. My rent is a flat $560.
• Sell something on eBay (Etsy in my case): $0. I posted items, but nothing has sold yet.
• Involve your friends: $20. Involving my friends/family has resulted in me just telling them I can’t afford things. I tried to get them to actually save with me, but no one really followed through.
• Optimize cell phone bill: $0. I already did this a year ago, which doesn’t really save me anything this month that I can add to my goal.
• Fuel hedge fund: $24. I have set up my savings account to take out $6 every week.
• No spending day: $20. I wanted so badly to go shopping last week. But I didn’t.
• Cancel subscriptions: $10. I let my Hulu Plus account expire.
• Buy new to replace old: $0. I haven’t bought anything new for me this month.
• Use credit card rewards: $25. I used my cash rewards points on one of my credit cards to be credited back to my card.
• Never pay retail for clothes: $0. I haven’t purchased any clothes this month.
• Use coupons/discounts when going out: $5. I used a coupon at Sprouts.
• Negotiate car insurance: $0/TBA. I haven’t heard back from my insurance broker yet. Grr!
• Share how much you’ve saved: $0. Still not sure how this tip is helping me actually keep money in my bank.
• Dinner party: $100. I am eating in more often with my boyfriend rather than going out and spending money on food, drinks and tip.
• Cancel large purchases: $0. Fail. I bought plane tickets to Vegas for my birthday next month.
• Buy generic: $10. Bought generic laundry detergent and bulk produce from Costco.
• No Christmas gifts: $5. Taking small percentage of money out of my checking into my savings to prep for December.
• Buy online: $5. Joined a CSA and am saving money on fresh, organic produce.
• Change date of Christmas: $0. No need to travel. I live close to my family.
• Prepay debt: $0. No loans with interest to pay off.

Grand total: $239

Not quite what I was hoping for, but it’ll do. I’ll have to work harder. It will go up once I find cheaper car insurance too, which is my highest bill other than rent.

 

Tip #23: Go cash only for 15 to 30 days. Using cash cuts your spending because you are consciously spending the money in your wallet. You have to watch the limited amount of money you withdraw dwindle. Starting next week, I decided I am going to take out $200 maximum and use that for the next two weeks. No credit card or debit card purchases. I am pretty confident right now that I will actually have money left over, but I guess we’ll see. Ramit Sethi suggests using the “Envelope System” (shown below).

Total savings: To be determined…

 

Tip #24: Cut your commute expenses by 40 percent. This post may have helped me four months ago when I was still in school, but now…not so much. Sethi suggests that you either carpool to work or work from home. I mean, as much as I would love to become a cocktail server and bartender from home, I don’t see that happening. As for carpooling, I don’t necessarily have a set schedule at the restaurant to carpool. I could have done so if my roommate still worked with me, but she doesn’t, so we can’t carpool. I only work 15 minutes away too. If I were still having to drive 65 miles away to school every week, then I could see the point. If I find a job in San Diego, Los Angeles, or Orange County…ok, I’ll look into a carpool (or a new place to live).

Total savings: $0

I am officially all caught up on my savings posts. I will post savings tip #25 tomorrow. Check back soon.

Carina Jaynes

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