Tag Archives: Saving

Setting up a Clothing Budget

girl's skinny jeansOMG! I was just going to buy these Vigoss Skinny Jeans for my daughter at JCPenny’s for $19.99 (org. $34.99). But found them on Amazon for $12.99! It pays to shop online (sometimes). They come in 3 cheery colors for this price: Paradise, Emerald Green, and Carribean. It’s all the rage with my 9 year old. 🙂

Lately, I have been feeling unbalanced in the war against debt. And I put the reason on school starting again. The high costs of clothing, bus passes, yearbooks, school pictures, fundraisers… you name it! And I wasn’t prepared this year. I was reading one of Brad’s (Enemy of Debt) many wonderful posts and asked him how he found the balance while becoming debt free.

I wrote:

[…] I am more amazed at the discipline you and your family put forth in not borrowing since January 2008!

I find it hard when raising teenage kids. Especially when it comes to buying school clothes. How do you find that balance of spending vs. savings? My kids need jeans and by no means do I buy expensive brands. Well, I guess that is why they call it a journey. Have any tips on finding that balance?

Brad wrote:

[…]The biggest obstacle to the things we want is often ourselves, which is why credit cards have become a crutch for almost everyone. I would say that the biggest, most important habit that must be changed is becoming an aggressive saver. Not in regard to just the emergency fund or nest egg, but for everyday needs with what is called sinking funds. I have not had to go through the teenage years yet with regard to buying clothing but I would suggest that you start now in establishing a “school clothes fund”, to help make your journey easier. Take what you spend each year on clothes for your kids and divide that amount by 11. Each month set aside that amount in a special savings account, and when next year comes you will already have the money needed to buy their clothes, and without the use of credit and interest. We use this method and it has made not using credit very easy.[…]

It was an upside kick in the head for me (in a totally good way). I already have that ‘summer’ savings fund through my credit union! It’s the one I have set up to automatically put $35 biweekly into the account. Which comes out to roughly $900 + for the year.

The original use of that summer savings fund was to pay for increase day care costs through the summer and back to school items. Now the current use is to fund increased day care costs and summer excursions. Which is completely fine with me (doesn’t hurt to have a bit of fun during the summer), but I threw out the notion that I need money for the kid’s back to school costs (embarrased to say that they are being charged on the Kohl’s credit card)!

Here is my solution

I am going to set up an additional $35 biweekly “school” fund in a savings account that is accesible throughout the year. Since kids grow out of their clothes every 3 months I need to beable to reach the account in need. This is a perfect solution to stay off the credit card path but take care of the needs of my children.

Thanks, Brad! (And congrats to the new bundle of joy on the way!)

Do you think $35 biweekly ($900+ a year) is a good amount for a school fund (clothing, year book, etc…) for a tween girl and a teen boy? Or should I increase it to $50 biweekly?

Computer Virus – Ach!!! Online Coupon Codes saves Millions!

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Okay, maybe not millions, but $40! Sweet!

My children stayed home sick today. I thought the house would be a conundrum, but instead it was the computer. Yes, my virus protection expired a while back and I had yet to renew. So, I come home today… and I got the BLUE SCREEN! Ach!!!! Daughter says ‘don’t know what happened’ and then proceeded to blame her brother. I don’t know who it was…

Anyhow, lucky me, I was able to restore the computer, but now have this nasty virus protection demo program popping repeatedly on my screen. Along with new shortcuts on my desktop, ‘win $1,200 today’. It was a gentle reminder that I needed to reinvest in McAfee.

So, the program was $89 dollars on the McAfee site with a $10 instant savings = $79.00. Filling the form out, it says ‘enter promotional code’. So, I decided to look online. Low and Behold… I found a link (to the same McAfee site) for the same program at $79.00 with an instant $30 off = $49.00!

Moral of the story: be sure to google for those online codes! 😉
Happy me. Now I can get off the stupid crap from my computer. Ah me, glad I have a bit of good sense.

Cut your Grocery Bill in Half!

Happy Tuesday, fellow bloggers.

I was viewing articles in CNN Money and came across a valuable article I wanted to share with you called, “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half“. Of course, my curiosity was naturally peaked.

The article directs you to Couponmom.com (I am sending you directly to the coupon page). It’s great! CouponMom saves you money and time by offering virtual coupons. There was a lot of coupons on products that I use every week, like kid’s lunch snack, sandwich meat, Cereal! We all know Cereal’s prices are climbing each and everyday (If you live near an Albertson’s, they always have awesome deals on cereal). In fact it was on CNN Money’s PF front page that I found cereal content is getting smaller, but they are charging you the same price. I was wondering why the cereal was diminishing faster than usual!

Check it out!

I printed $8.50 worth of coupons on products I use everyweek. So, its a start. I hope that you will all save, too.

Small Changes, Big Savings

My household recently took part in a small change that will incur big savings (and help the environment, too)! Yup, we switched from using many 16.9 oz water bottles to one 5 gallon bottle with sporty spout & stand. It fits nicely in my kitchen, too.

So, this morning I wanted to figure the savings to see if its really worth it. I will show you the savings difference between Arrowhead vs. 5 gallon refillable bottle. Then, I will show the saving difference between our grocer’s brand water bottles vs. 5 gallon refillable bottle.

5 gallon bottle = 640 ounces
640 ounces / 20 ounce Arrowhead bottles = 32 20oz-bottles
$0.29 cost per bottle * 32 20oz-bottles = $9.28

I got the 0.29 cost per bottle by dividing the cost 1 case (24 bottles per case)$6.99 by 24 = 0.29125 costs per bottle

Grocer’s Brand:
5 gallon bottle = 640 ounces
640 ounces / 16.9 ounce grocer’s brand bottles = 38 16.9 oz-bottles
$0.125 cost per bottle * 38 16.9oz- bottles = 4.75

I got 0.125 cost per bottle by dividing the cost 1 case (24 bottles per case) $3 by 24 = 0.125 costs per bottle

We buy anywhere between 1-3 cases (24 bottles per case) biweekly – depending how hot the weather is outside. So, we will assume 32 20oz-bottles being consumed biweekly by my family (my son is a water bottle addict).

Potential savings (Arrowhead):
Costs $9.32 for 32 20oz-bottles biweekly. It only costs $1.00 to fill my 5-gallon bottle.
9.32-1.00 = 8.32
8.32 * 26 weeks per year (biweekly) = $216.32 savings per year

Potential saving (grocer’s brand):
Costs $4.75 for 38 16.9oz-bottles biweekly. It only costs $1.00 to fill my 5-gallon bottle.
4.75 – 1.00 = 3.75
3.75 * 26 weeks per year (biweekly) = $97.50 savings per year

So, you decide if its worth it. What are your thoughts on it?

My thoughts: I agree with my change. We were consuming the grocer’s brand of bottled water. It actually tasted better than any of the named brand water. Funny, huh?
But, I believe that I am also installing in my kids the importance of helping the environment. Perhaps, they will not realize the importance right now, but will be helpful in their future.
Plus, I am one finding small ways to help the environment. Sometimes, I think about all the small products that are making mass waste in the world. It drives me crazy! Like dental floss pics, plastic cups, kid’s super meal toys, food packaging, water bottles, etc… I constantly think of how I could do without all of consumer America’s products. How can I cut back. Are their companies who purposely reduce their packaging to be eco-friendly? Well, I am getting into a different subject. Another time. 😉

$97 per year savings may not be much.

But, let me tell you why this is a big savings. If I take this $100 and invest in with a return of 8%. Then, continually add $100 to it annually. In 25 years, I will have $8,580.29! Now tell me if it’s worth it? 😉

ps – or that is $18, 560.88 dollars if you drink Arrowhead!

You can calculate your own compounding interest at http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm

Is my family adapting: Yup, they each got to splurge on their own spiffy water bottle. 1 bottle and lots of water!

Fellow bloggers, have a wonderful weekend!