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?
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