Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Monday (dah dahhh dah dah dah dah)

Oh the joys of Monday! Let me list them here.

...

Okay! Great list!

Why DOES Monday always take the crap end of the stick? Sure, it's the end of the weekend, but it's also the beginning of a week. I think Monday should talk to its union reps and get more recognition as a decent day. 

Today's Topic: Money (and saving it)
As a dad, I have no money. Ok that's a lie, I have LESS money then I want. It probably has something to do with the little Niamonster running around and pooping in all of it. Then there is the daycare or the lack of income from a stay at home spouse and baby sitting expenses. 

If having a kid were a business opportunity the world would die off very quickly because no one in their right mind would invest. 

But holy crap, here we are investing our time, our lives, and our money into the little monsters that we love more then life itself. And holy crap, we're happy!

Worry Wart

But if you're anything like me, it doesn't stop you from worrying about your financial well being. If anything, it makes you worry about it more. Think back to the days when you made a stupid overly expensive purchase and then had to live off ramen for the next week. That was ok back then. Make a stupid purchase now and your child suffers... and that's just not allowed.

Save more. Spend less.

It's no joke that our economy blows hard chunks right now. I don't care whether it was the previous president blowing tons of money overseas or whether it's the current president spending 2 trillion in 30 days, I only care about the now... and the now sucks.

So, as a parent, what do you do? Isabella and I have come up with some money saving ideas, and surprisingly enough they mostly revolve around educating and informing yourself, and common freaking sense. (yes. freaking. not the regular kind.)

I love lists.
  1. Keep track of all of your bills.
    - Use Excel or Open Office Calc (it's free.  http://www.openoffice.org ) and write up a list of your bills that you have to pay each month. Then for each month create a new spread sheet with the same bills and their updated costs. This gives you a good idea of where your money goes each month.
    - When you pay off bills, change the text to Italics. 
    - If you want to get real fancy, write up some equations to calculate total money spent on bills and subtract it from your monthly income.
    - In a different column, write up your "budgeted items" Food, gas, etc. and subtract that from your total income as well.
    - Finally, in yet another column, list your "one time expenses". Date night, destist office, that toy at Best Buy you had to have. Obviously subtract that from your income column too.
    -Find a centralized location where you can save this file. Whether on your favorite web host or on a personal server, make this file available to every decision maker in your family.
  2. Check your bank account balance daily.
    - If you aren't online banking yet, you need to get into the 2009s. I don't want to hear about online security and how everyone is sniffing your paketz and haxing your systmz. I work in the business and if someone if fast enough, smart enough, and wise enough to crack the encryption surrounding your bank account, the I doubt they'd be wasting their time going after YOUR account. (Unless you are a multi-millionaire which in that case you're probably worried more about Obama taking your money then a hacker. bah-zing!)
    - The point of this is to make sure you know where all of your money is going and that there is no authorized or unauthorized person spending your money stupidly. 
    - Make sure both you and your spouse of equal access and visibility to the account and that you are both checking it daily. You BOTH need to be informed. (if applicable)
  3. Clip Coupons
    - Buy the Sunday paper. (it's $1.00 a paper here)
    - Clip the coupons.
    - Use the coupons.
    - Save money! 
    (Could saving money get any easier then clipping up paper?)
  4. Buy Smart Bulk
    - "Smart Bulk" meaning use your silly head! Don't buy bologna in bulk, it'll probably go bad before you can eat it all. Then you aren't saving money, you're wasting. However, if you are paper towel whores (as our family is), then it is WAY cheaper to buy a bazillion pack from Sams Club then it is to buy them individually. Plus it wont rot!
  5. Don't! Eat! Out!
    - (No, not that. Keep going on that... she likes it.) I'm talking about going out to eat at restaurants. Yes, they are convenient. Yes, they do your dishes. Yes, it's nice to get waited on. But it is as expensive as two donkey nuts. (not even sure how much that would cost, actually)
    - Food + Drink + Tip = You're broke.
    - Special occasions excluded (date night, anniversary, etc.)
  6. Less meat. More Filler.
    - Instead of 1 portion of meat, a veg, and some starch for each person, try a half portion of meat with some extra starch. It fills more and costs less. 

These are just a few things that Isabella and I do to make sure we stay on top of our finances so that we have plenty of money to Niamonster. She's our cash-hoover now and that's what we gladly live for. 

What little things do you do to save money?



3 comments:

Liz said...

Membership pays. The true money saving would be to skip it altogether. But our family loves going to the zoo, the Children's Museum, and the living history museum nearby. Membership pays. Because to pay for all of us to get in becomes astronomical. But a basic membership usually pays for itself within 2 visits, maybe 3.

I also buy bulk- but we do buy meat and fish and such bulk and then repack it and freeze it in our chest freezer in the garage.

Get a chest freezer. Take advantage of sales. We've been stocking up like crazy on the meat and frozen veggie sales the past few months and can probably live off that food for the next 3 months without reshopping. Ha!

Hit the sales. Buy things that you can store when they are on a great sale. We definitely overbuy (see above).

Look for free samples online. I hardly ever pay for deoderant or toothpaste anymore. Check manufacturer's websites for samples.

Otter Thomas said...

We pretty much do everything on your list. I am an excel budgeting freak. We have started using coupons. We limit eating out which is difficult for me. A sam's club is under construction in our town right now so we can buy in bulk. Hooray!

ShankRabbit said...

@Liz
Holy crap! Free samples online? That's a genius, awesome idea.

We also do the freezy meat thing. I was thinking more like lunch meats or cheese or stuff that would more then likely spoil before you ate it all. Unless of course you have more then 4 kids.

@Otter
Excel spreadsheets, for as simple as the equations are comparative to the code I normally write, are such a techy/financial turn on to me.

I hear you on the dining out. I miss being all fancy and decadent. Oh well, sacrifices for the greater awesome!