Monday, January 10, 2011

Dave Ramsey Update

Our great financial makeover took place about this time last year when we signed up to take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace course.  While we don't follow absolutely everything he has to say on the subject, we have taken to heart quite a bit of his advice and combined it with the things that were already working for us.

We kept to our allotted monthly budgets for entertainment and eating out and even then, we only ate out if we had a coupon.  We only went over our grocery budget one month and that was just by a few dollars.  The category that was the most challenging to keep in line was the gifts category.  Birthday presents add up, that's for sure!

Total nerd that I am, I started keeping track of every single penny that we saved.  I tallied up our monthly savings at the grocery store using coupons and sales ads.  I kept track of how many times we did things ourselves that we used to pay others to do.  And, we gave up our satellite dish, which for us is huge.  (Yes, we watch much more television than we should.)

Grocery coupons:  $131.75
Grocery store sales:  $277.72
Haircuts for the boys:  $120 (nine haircuts at $15 each)
Car washes:  $135 (nine carwashes at $12 each)
Oil changes:  $120 (four oil changes at $30 each)
Installing a water heater:  $400
Fixing the stove:  $200
Dropping satellite:  $225

Total Saved:  $1609.47

I know that if I played the official Grocery Game we could save a heck of a lot more using coupons, but we try to avoid processed foods and name brands and let's face it, coupons are for processed foods and name brands.  Plus, I don't have time to go to more than one grocery store a week to use coupons at various stores to take advantage of the sales.

When you add it all up, we paid for our trip to Disney this summer (we're driving, not flying and my parents gave us a week of a timeshare so we don't have to pay for lodging).

This year's goal is to save even more, although Ryan has declared that he is done giving the boys their haircuts.

I guess I'll just have to find some more places to pinch some pennies.  Any suggestions?


  1. Congratulations! Sounds like you are doing great! We also follow a self-modified Dave Ramsey plan. Last year's medical expenses (just over $12,000 in total) set us back some on our goals but we have paid those off almost (still about $1300 on Jayme's). When I think of how big an emergency fund we could have had without those bills!
    I"m with you on the no time for store hopping. Then again there are only two choices here. The one thing I just can't make myself do from your list is drop the tv! I'm just a junky that way, and we don't have a game console that can get Netflix.
    Way to go Lozado family :)

  2. sounds great Jana! I cant drop our cable, I think we would die! HA! but we, like you, have been doing a modified Jackson Ramsey version and its hard. But one idea is to make sure you stock up when the stuff does go on sale, call or email the organic companies and ask for coupons. we stopped renting movies off the tv at $5 a pop and switched to Netflix and learned to be patient. we are eating at home more and enjoying our life together. I need to step it up this year.

  3. People think I'm crazy when I say that D.R. changed our lives and marriage, but it's true. The next wedding we go to, I'm giving one of his books as a gift (won't the happy couple be so excited about that? I do intend to enclose a gift card or something too). It sounds like you're doing a great job of pinching pennies already. If your family eats a lot of bread, I've recently heard about the Mrs Bairds outlet stores. If you've got a place to store it, you can get a stupid amount of bread for next-to-nothing. And, this includes the good, no HFCS stuff too. I hear ya about how frustrating coupons are. I hate that they're usually only for processed junk foods. I watched that show, "Extreme Couponers" (oh, you don't have cable--it's a reality show on TLC about crazy couponers) and was not surprised to see that many of them were obese. One lady, in particular, prided herself on walking 7 miles a day, collecting coupons from neighbors--she was way chunkier than you'd expect from someone walking that much a day. I think it's from eating the junk that she has coupons for.

    Sorry about the novella!

  4. Tien said...

    Woo hoo! Congratulations!!

    Sorry, no ideas here on how else you could possibly save money. Sounds like you have everything covered already!