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Topic: Looking for ideas on how to put more money into savings!

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Subject: Looking for ideas on how to put more money into savings!
Date Posted: 4/7/2009 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 706
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My goal is to save $1,000 and keep it in the savings for emergencies.   Right now we have a little over $200 and I am realizing that my/our efforts to make sure we save have been pitiful.   It is April ...... and in 3 months we only got to the $200 mark.    One positive note is that this is not counting what I have saved toward this years property tax -- I finally got real hard core about putting that aside AND money for Christmas.   So those categories are outside of what I consider our emergency fund.

Yesterday I took back 2 big bags of aluminim cans but I discovered they were only paying 30 cents a pound for them so I got $2.40.   I have two other ideas -- one is saving change.   The other is that instead of trying to put a larger amount in savings once a month (like $70 or whatever) I can put in $20 or even $10 each of the paychecks.   Our budget is very tight at the moment and my work hours were cut by 5 hours a week.

So, this month I am going to immediately transfer and/or deposit smaller amounts each time and see if this month we do better that way -- I think we will.

We just had to buy a refrigerator and I felt very low because my husband had to use the credit card -- we didn't have enough money saved up.   An emergency fund is what is going to make the difference ---- and it will enable us to get off the debt cycle.    The other fear I have is being temporarily out of work since caregiving is like that -- sometimes clients go to different situations and then there is a gap between working.   Last year I had a 4 month period of unemployment and thankfully we had over $2,000 in savings but we went right thru it.  

Anyway, I am opening my mind to new ideas. What are some better ways to save and build an emergency fund?

Date Posted: 4/7/2009 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
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i been bring lunch and only take little bit money out of account to live on . because more cash i take out  more i spend on thing i dont neeed .i also want to be a better postion next year after i pay taxes and credit card im paying more on strict budget . so any suggestion i too would love to hear.



Last Edited on: 4/7/09 6:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/7/2009 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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hmm..you already stated your budget is tight so I'm assuming you've already done the stuff I did: cancelled cable about 1 1/2 years ago(saving $85/month) and Christmas I asked for a tracfone with double minutes for life and cancelled at&t wireless(saving $50/month) and lowered my dsl from the super duper to the basic (saving $20/month) all of these were totally painless. I'm not a big tv watcher, cell phone min weren't being used, and the dsl actualy crashes less much  much much less and is only a tiny bit slower and I can live with that for what I use it for.

Last month I started saving change - pennies in one container and other coins in another. a friend told me she saves enough to buy stuff at christmas for her hubby and self - jackets one year and a bike for her hubby last year and others posted in a thread about saving change their stories - very motivating.

I've also started doing coupons. I'l probably get tons of email but I finally found a site that had some for things I was planning to buy and stuff I buy sometimes if it's on sale and convenient and also for dog snacks (which we now have more than enough of! probably for the year!) I have to be careful or I'll go overboard and stock up on too much stuff when I don't need it. but I saved 8 bucks on dog snacks last week and today I saved about 12 bucks on food and a couple of dog snacks. and the food I would have bought anyways except for one item I got to try since I hd the coupon. I can see I'll have to make myself toss some if I know I wont' be able to use the item before it goes bad.

I'm cooking more at home or aiming for that. I grab the fast food and restaurants for conevenience. trying to do as Carol said on the food at work. we tend to run down the street to sonic or somewhere since these are now close to work..before we were more isolated and mcdonald's was teh closest and it wasn't in the best area..now they've built up all around us and it's like a huge buffet! but coworker and I are both trying to cut back a lot. also the vending  machine at work is terrible...70 and 80 cents for stuff...outrageous and unhealthy. I haven't found the best solution yet except to not have change and hope no one else there does either! if I stock up at walmart I eat it all before I get there..no willpower.

and carol's right on about the cash at least for me..if I have cash POOF it's gone and I don't know where! well usually breakfast tacos but I swear I'll hve 20 b ucks thennothing 2 days later and that's without recalling going to any stores! so I get 20 cashback at c heckout every so often then don't get any more til I know I need it for something.

I also go to differnt blogs - jane4girls is a neat one and Erin has one (her post is on page 2 I think a year of being frugal I think is the title..there's a link to her blog in her first post and I find it motivating..I usually read it at work..wish she'd write every day hee hee but at least 1=3 times a week she'll write and they're usally long and 'newsy' about ups and downs and slipups and bargains she finds. one really good thing she was talking about (but I've never done it) is she goes to her walmart's deli area and at the end of the day if you're early in line you can get the leftover general tso chicken and it was under $1 per pound and she freezes meals out of this and other leftovers. I've been doing that too with the leftovers and cooking ahead of time but haven't gotten lucky enough to catch somethng like general tso chicken when I'm there!

also not sure how it'lld o but I signed up for mypoints and swapbucks to see how searching iwth their toolbars and clicking on emails for 5 pts each will add up for giftcards...lots of emails but several I can open at work while wating for stuff to finish on time that would otherwise be wasted.

I'm also gonna try growing tomatoes and squash/zucchini this summer..sigh..not very frugal since I  paid for plants instead of seeds but I want ot give this another shot and see how it goes for me. Ifigure it's also a learning experiencea nd possible hobby...we'll see!

Date Posted: 4/8/2009 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I sympathize with your dilemma Chris. My hours at work were also cut a few months ago. Have you and your family set down and made a budget? That is the easiest way to see where in your budget you may be able to eliminate unnecessary spending. Another idea, have you looked into temp work? I don’t know how many hours you work now but if you could pick up something one or two evenings or a weekend day for a few months it would increase your income enough to put away some extra money. For example, right now we have greenhouses in our area looking for temp workers. The pay is above minimum wage, the hours are flexible, and the work is temporary. Do you have any friends who own a business? Maybe they have the need of a temporary worker now and then. Cake decorating is a hobby of mine and I knew a woman who owned a bakery. I used to help her out during busy times (graduation weekends, busy wedding cake time, etc), usually a few weekends a year but I made over a thousand dollars a year doing something I enjoy. We’ve since moved from the town she was located in but I loved that work.

 

Just some ideas. I wish you good luck.

Date Posted: 4/8/2009 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2006
Posts: 730
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Do you have anything you can sell? Perhaps you can have a yardsale or put some items on Craig's List or on eBay to raise some funds? I recently dropped off some collectibles that I didn't want to deal with packing, etc, but knew they were worth more than I could get for them at a yardsale, at one of those "I Sold It on eBay" places and made a couple hundred bucks, hassle-free.

I've been using an envelope system for weekly expenses and any extra cash we have at the end of the week goes into a special savings envelope. This challenges me to spend as wisely/frugally as possible.

I also recommend Swagbucks. It won't help with the emergency fund but it can add money to your Christmas savings fund. In the past few months, I've earned close to $40 of Amazon gift cards that I'm saving for Christmas. http://swagbucks.com/?cmd=sb-register&rb=330554

 



Last Edited on: 4/8/09 4:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/8/2009 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I just started doing the swagbucks and mypoints..but I only have 7 swagbucks and I do a lot of searching and figured I'd have more. and none of my friends are interested in doing it right now...one hardly has time for the internet or anything at all and the others just dont' care for it so no referral bucks :-( but I"m gonna keep doing it and see how it adds up.

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,537
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If you're looking for a way to trim your budget and see where your money's going, keep a notebook and write down EVERY SINGLE expense.  Anytime you spend money, you write it down.  Where you spent it and how much you spent.  That can really help you see where the money's going.

I second Susanna's only have $20 cash on hand.  I tend to spend it also and don't quite remember where.  So, it's $20 a week cash for me and that has to stretch for any purchase under $5 and lunch out if I want it (only once a week).  That really forces me to double think if I want something.

Putting a little aside out of every check is a good idea too.  That way, it's not that big chunk every month you're missing.  It's a smaller amount out of every check that will add up.

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 3:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/26/2009
Posts: 131
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The best way to do it if your budget is already tight is to cut expenses.

If you can find a few small things to cut out $25/ month each, then you can put $50 more per month in savings.

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I think I've discovered a way to save at least 20 bucks and sometimes more per month..just started doing this. Fixing iced tea from tea bags! I was always pretty bad with the caffeine free diet sodas...and often found myself leaving drinks unfinished. and the bottled drinks I'd pour up, esp at work, and drink those. well I started being 'good' and would buy the bottled water - usually ozarka on sale for maybe 3.99 otherwise randall's store brand I like pretty well. well my mom and dad come visit every 3 months or so and she likes to fix tea..you know the tea bag in boiling water then dilute to a gallon? I never cared much for this but I've really never tried cold tea since the growing up days when she sweetened the heck out of it. I've been doing the tea swap in the games forum and drinking hot tea...so BAM! I hd the brilliant idea of using up the Lipton decaf tea bags she left here and bought a couple bottles of sugar free syrup on sale at world market..jsut takes a tiny bit. I dont' plan on buying a lot of the syrup since it's around 6-7 bucks per bottle (though doesn't take much) at least until I see how long it lasts. what I'm trying now is one lipton tea bag and one other flavored tea bag - now I'm trying a celestial seasonings berry zinger. I already invested too much money in these to toss them otherwise not sure if I'd invest the money in them unless I figured out how much I'd be paying, etc. but I've found I really don't like these strong fruity teas when hot so thought I'd try them cold with a decaf black tea combined with them. but black tea isn't all that expensive I don't think esp if you buy a big box..my mom just happens to stick with Lipton but there are probably c heaper brands.

another thing I saw on someone's blog was 'meatless mondays'. I usually eat a lot of  meat because a dietician told me it was the easiest source of protein and I'm supposed to balance starches/protein for my blood sugar. however, I've been trying to eat some meals with the minimum amt of meat and buying it on sale. but she was fixing black bean burritos and said she was saving a lot of money and time by switching to a meatless meal and I think she says she eats about 3-4 meatless meals per week. I've been buying shredded cheese and some yogurts to help with the protein but corn tortillas are pretty cheap at least where I live. canned beans are cheap and even going the long route with dried beans prepared will save a lot. A friend of mine said her ex wouldn't eat beans..thought it was 'poor food'..well I  happen to like beans and adding other stuff to make theminto a soup or just a thick pot of beans iwth rotel tomatoes and some lean smoked sausage is a really good meal and stretches out the meat which is the most expensive.

I'm also happy that I'm using up leftovers...usually after my parents come visit she tosses the l eftovers..this time I grabbed some containers and  made meals to freeze. i had about 6 meals and 1 small meal I ate with a salad...I figure if I'd done fast food those 6 times it would've cost me 30 bucks at least and this was food that probably would've ended up in the trash. I also managed to use the chips down to the crumbs bymixing them with a ground beef/salsa/cheese dish I made. now to finish the broccoli slaw and shredded carrots...

sorry so long winded but I re-motivate myself writing! but the easiest stuff for me so far has been to cut where it didn't really  hurt. cable no biggy but I"m not a big tv fan. cell phone so long as I have one for emergencies i"m okey dokey. going to basic dsl? no sweat it actualy works better even if a tad slower. the sodas? honestly I really needed to cut those out anyways and my 'rule' isn't written in stone but right now I'd rather use up tea bags and save the money I was spending on soda! and buying the meat I like on sale(I try to buy extra lean ground beef and boneless skinless chicken breasts) saves a lot when you add it up..if the meat is usually 5.50/lb andI get it for 4.50 that's saving a dollar though I usually but the slightly less lean at wally world and save a bit more than this other's sale price. the store near me usually has the c hicken for 1.99'/lb and it's usually about twice that. so it does add up.

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 5:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 706
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There are a lot of good ideas here -- thanks!  I didn't get back here very quick -- it was a busy week!  I worked a wee bit extra which will help.   The main thing I did this week  was put $20 immediately into savings when I got my paycheck.  

I like the idea of not carrying much cash.    I know if I have it with me I'll spend it. 

I did go to a pay as you go Virgin Mobil phone and that is saving me a lot since I don't use my cell phone much but feel I need one at times.  Sprint was costing too much.

I am considering downgrading the home phone service but haven't done that yet because I call my Mom and she is on an even more fixed income than we are.    It would save $20 a month but then it might put her in a bind -- right now when she wants to call I call her right back since mine is unlimited nation wide.

Staying home and cooking at home is helping as well.   My change jar is going to go into savings too and that is adding up.  

I've been writing down all expenses in a notebook -- and/or checkbook so I'll have a complete record.

 

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/26/2009
Posts: 131
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Cooking at home is a big one. Back when I was single I ate out about 4 days per week (about 6-7 meals), spent like 40-50 per week in food for less than half of my meals. Now that I'm married the three of us can have meals for a week for about $50. We make a lot of bulk food like soups and hotdishes, take some to work for lunch, have it for a quick meal on a busy night.

I'll make a giant pot full of homeade chicken and wildrice soup from scratch (make my own stock from a leftover chicken) and we freeze it.

Heck, we buy a whole chicked every now and then when they're on sale for about $5. We eat on that for the better part of 4-5 days, then I take the leftovers and make the soup which week can eat for another 4-5 days. Total cost $5 for the chicken,$3 for the rice, an onion,some carrots, whipping cream and some spices.

Probably less than $15 for several meals.



Last Edited on: 4/10/09 5:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/10/2009 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,537
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Yes, not eating out a lot will definitely help save money.  Use your leftovers too!  If you have a roast for dinner, you can take leftovers to work the next day for lunch or even make a sandwich out of them.  I looooove spaghetti and always make extra so I can take leftovers to work for lunch.  I try and take lunch to work at least 4 days a week, usually all 5.  A pb & j sandwich is so good some days.

A good meatless meal is pancakes or waffles.  I never get up early enough to cook a big breakfast so I love having breakfast foods for dinner.  Pancakes, or some hash browns and a little ham or sausage.  Fruit or cereal.  Quick and easy and cheap.

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/26/2009
Posts: 131
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We sometimes make a large batch of pancakes and freeze them. Then in the morning you can toss them in the microwace for 30 seconds and have pancakes for breakfest.

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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yep being single and eating out adds up..I always thought it was cheaper and less waste since it was just me..but nope just what little I've tried to keep track of was adding up! hey I could get some light bisquick and make some pancakes! great idea! mornings are usually my too busy to do much time esp when I'm working day shift.

Sarah, I like sketti too! I accidentally discoverd(after 42 years duh) that it's pretty good with 2% mozarrella melted into it..not even the sauce!  I ran short on sauce the last meal and added extra cheese to the spaghetti itselfa nd was like'wow'!

Chris, I went with tracfone and since it was a christmas present saved even more! like you, I also kept the $20/month nationwide on my home phone. I've debated going the prepaid calling card route but it's more convenient and when my parents visit they enjoy calling my brother/sil and some of their friends and family without the hassle of 'using up minutes'. so far that 20 bucks is worth it to me though if I ever sat down and actually figured out if Id save or not...but my goal this year is to actually callmy parents more! we tend to email more than talk so I've been making a point of calling several times a week, esp afte they mentioned my brother would call almost daily but only for about 10 min or so..I tend to call and talk 30 min to an hour at a time.

probably gonna go visit them in a couple of weeks and stay one full day and 2 part days...thinking I might should carry some freezer containers in case she cooks something good LOL!

 

Date Posted: 4/11/2009 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 69
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One other thing to consider, aside from coupons, is the grocery store perks. For example, I use King Supers for most of my shopping, and they also have a gas station. Gas is currently 1.95/gal, but with a King Super's card, their pump is only 1.93/gal. And, if you get 100$ in groceries, you get a .10/gal discount on your next tank. So I just paid 1.83/gal for a full tank. It doesn't sound like much, but that couple of bucks adds up, especially if you have multiple cars or do lots more driving than I do.

I know that my mom has a Cosco card, and she always tries to time her grocery visits to needing gas, because she gets a discount with them too. So I would suggest seeing what your local grocery stores offer with thier cards, because you can get some pretty helpful perks. (I got 5$ off one time too, for using my Super Card, but I can't remember now exactly why:D)

 

Also, you could look up your local freecycle group. People in my area are always giving away large type apliances, as well as the small things. The next time that something large breaks, you can send out a request and see if anyone's got one sitting in the garage. There's usually someone willing to take away the old one and fix it up, too. I love Freecycle!



Last Edited on: 4/11/09 2:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/12/2009 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2005
Posts: 3,448
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Some good ideas!

I dont know how often you get paid, I just continue what you've been doing.Even if you have to put $10 a payday.Every little bit helps!

Our change jar has been helpful in emergencies several times!

One of our stores also has fuel perks.A neighbor saved her fuel perks and got gas for 21  cents a gallon!We have gotten gas for $1.65 a gallon.

Date Posted: 4/13/2009 12:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2008
Posts: 368
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If you have your paycheck direct deposited, you can automatically have a set amount  transferred to your savings account.  I also have another amount transferred to my INGdirect savings.   You won't really miss it, if you never see it.

Also when cooking, try to plan your meals to last several days. 

Example #1:  If I make a meatloaf, I use it the next day for meatballs or meatsauce.  Then later in the week, I'll make SOS (beef gravy over toast) for my husband - he really loves this stuff.   Since there is only three of us, I can get away with only 1lb of beef.   It doesn't sound like a lot, but there are always leftovers. 

Example #2:  I buy, chili start and canned chopped tomatoes and make it that way.  That's one meal.   Two days later we may have chili mac and cheese.  Then if there is anything left over I make a knock-off huevos rancheros (sp?). 

Also we don't have decent pizza where we live.  Every Friday, I make it at home.  I estimate I can make an 8-cut pizza for $3. 

I hope these ideas help.

 

Date Posted: 4/14/2009 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 69
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Tina's cooking tips reminded me. I waited until there was a sale on fresh frozen fruit and veggies and then stocked up to the point where I could barely close my freezer. :D Since they're frozen, they'll last forever, and the fruit can go into smoothies, cereal, baking, and more, and the veggies can go into salads, pasta dishes, side dishes, casseroles, and even as a healthy snack. And its actually cheaper than getting fresh not-frozen fruit and veggies.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I just stocked up a bit on boneless skinless chicken breasts - 1.77/lb is pretty cheap from what I've seen..usually I'm happy with sales for 1.99/lb. since losing my entire frozen stash due to hurricane ike whacking out the power I'm very leery of stocking a lot of stuff in the freezer but I was ready for some chicken breasts darn it! And I plan on using up these and the hamburger meat I have thawed..I think I'll cook the hamburger with onion then refreeze so it'll be ready for chili or spaghetti ina week or so when I'm tired of chicken! the chicken I usually put into sandwich bags then put those into bigger freezer bag then I can take out just 1 or however many I need for what I want to make.

Date Posted: 4/16/2009 10:29 AM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2005
Posts: 4,577
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I sell used clothing and books on ebay and any money that's made through this I transfer straight to a savings account.  I just paid off my rental arrears that way.

Also everytime I get a raise I change my direct deposit so that a portion of the extra money goes into a savings account that I don't have a PIN for.

Date Posted: 4/16/2009 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2005
Posts: 4,577
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And the governemtn's giving free cell phones to the low income now through safelink so that you can get an hour or so of minutes free

 

Date Posted: 4/16/2009 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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LOL - I l ike the don't know the PIN! I started using my Discover card mor ethan my debit(and have to keep close track too!) to get the cashback bonus...well now I don't remember my PIN on the atm so that's kinda  helpful...but gonna have to wrack my brain because I do need cash every so often!

Date Posted: 4/16/2009 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 1,051
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I have an online backing account with ING. There is no minimum for the automatic savings plan. Every Friday, $10 from my Washington Mutal checking accounts gets sent to my ING savings account. I set it up that way so I know WHEN money is leaving my hot little hands and HOW MUCH I can plan for.

Plus we have an old fashioned ceramic piggy bank in the living room. Coins go in, but can't jump out! Loose coins from my jacket pocket and the bottom of my purse really add up!

Date Posted: 4/16/2009 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I've even started putting single dollar bills in my 'piggy bank'(it' snot a piggy but it works!) I love my ING account! I also have an automatic deposit set up for right after my middle of the month check - think it comes out tomorrow come to think of it..I also try to put my overtime in there as well but I have to actually go to their website and type it in LOL so I try to do that the day I get the deposit in my checking account. I can  always get the money out but it takes about 3 days to transfer and another 3 days or so to transfer it back so I have to think twice before doing it! Since I haven't been carrying much cash my piggy bank isn't getting fed so much lately!

ETA" forgot, I'm trying to keep track of what I've saved with coupons and transfer that amount to a savings account that's linked to my checking account. I actually have that one about where I planned so may start transferring some of that to ING or think about bringing it up to another amount then keeping it there since I know when summer hits the electric bill will be higher for sure.



Last Edited on: 4/16/09 10:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/17/2009 10:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,404
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Maybe find a consignment shop in your area and clean out the closets?  Our local consignment shop accepts 12 items of clothing per week (per person)  and issues checks once a month.  I've been raiding the closets for things we haven't worn for a long time or for those things that we thought were a good idea, but later decided "why the heck did I purchase this?"  ( You know... the dress that makes you look like an overgrown flower garden or those pants that make your butt look even bigger, LOL).  I use the extra money for postage for troop care packages, but you could add it to your savings, maybe?

Saving change is a great idea.  We both save our change until we have enough to fill an empty coffee can and then deposit it into the savings account.  It adds up a lot quicker than you might think!

 



Last Edited on: 4/17/09 10:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
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