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View Full Version : Have any budget tips you would like to share?


Eeyoreloverforever
10-22-2008, 12:35 PM
I am definitely not a "budget" person, but love to save money whenever and wherever I can.

I find it frustrating to here about the great deals in the States when we seem to never get good deals here.

What do you do to keep your budget under control?

Please share and help me learn to be more budget friendly.

drag n' fly
10-22-2008, 01:05 PM
My biggest money eater upper was food. I now plan every meal and make a grocery list for only the things I need for the week. We each have a entertainment and misc budget. I buy a lot of bulk and divide it accordingly. We limit eating out to once a paycheque now. I buy starbucks about once a month as a treat. We have one family vehicle dh takes transit. We also have a collectors car that dh only drives 6 months of the year. I buy all my kids clothers online in the clearance section of Hollister, Aeropostale, American Eagle and buy the little ones stuff at old Navy and Walmart/Superstore. It costs a lot to live in Calgary so every penny is accountable. I start Christmas shopping in September and buy things when they are on sale. I could go on and on but I don't want to put you to sleep:cloud9:

Eeyoreloverforever
10-22-2008, 03:38 PM
I find it very informative to learn how people save money and yet still live a full life.

How do you order stuff online and it not cost a small fortune in shipping and duty?

Do you plan your meals around the sales in the flyers? I don't find the sales of a great savings most times. But then again, I am not really paying that much attention to how much groceries cost. I tend to buy what I want and complain later about the price of the total bill.

DearDaisyinDurham
10-22-2008, 04:18 PM
LOVE this OP!!!

Have you ever read The Tightwad Gazette? I found a copy at the local library, think it was the 3rd edition. It was very eye opening as to HOW far a dollar can be stretched. It's from at least ten years ago, but very timely!
(BTW I think books are my #1 indulgence but I do get them from the library 99% of the time. At our library if we want a book they don't have yet, you can request it and they'll buy it, then you're first to have it.)

I LOVE sales. I love to shop but do not need to buy to have a good time. Just this past weekend had so much fun at Vaughan Mills and did not buy much but enjoyed it.

I do research items so I know what I'm looking for and the range of prices I can find it at, i.e, if looking for a digital photo frame, it will be a fantastic deal for me if I get it under $50. That way I can look all year for things that will be good gifts for extended family. Does that make sense? It works for me. I love nice brand names but agree about looking for clearance!

Food wise we do watch the prices. We're lucky to have lots of stores (Sobey's A & P no frills price chopper) so can shop the loss leader.

I totallly agree w/ drag n fly, shop the sales, shop the clearance PLAN ahead and know what you are paying vs. the value you are receiving.

HTH and hope we keep this thread alive!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

drag n' fly
10-22-2008, 04:37 PM
I find it very informative to learn how people save money and yet still live a full life.

How do you order stuff online and it not cost a small fortune in shipping and duty?

Do you plan your meals around the sales in the flyers? I don't find the sales of a great savings most times. But then again, I am not really paying that much attention to how much groceries cost. I tend to buy what I want and complain later about the price of the total bill.


Those online sites are surprisingly cheap to order from even with duty. What I recommend though is checking the sales and buying a large order to make the shipping cost worth while. The kids can get brand name clothes at a greatly reduced cost. You know I really don't plan my meals around flyers. I could save even more money if I did that and clipped coupons but I only have so much time. If their is a great deal on hamburger etc I will pick up 5 pounds and put it in freezer bags for future use. I just usually plan what we will eat each night and buy based on that and shop carefully eg: if a recipie calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts I substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs as they are way cheaper. Another fun site to try is

www.livingonadime.com

DearDaisyinDurham
10-22-2008, 06:06 PM
The Budget board has some awesome frugal and freebie ideas (although most free samples are US based) and I've gotten tips that have saved a lot

Please keep the ideas going! I think we need a Canadian Dis House Swap! I'd love to see other provinces and we're not far from Toronto! (hint hint)

bev r.
10-22-2008, 07:55 PM
In our house we started keeping track of our expenses in detail in a spreadsheet. Initially this exercise was to help with some retirement pre-planning. The spin off benefit has been that we think twice about some purchases, especially if knowing that you have to record the expense in the spreadsheet. We utilize the library for books and electronic materials, rather than buying them.

Debbie
10-23-2008, 07:18 AM
In simplest terms for ME....


Stay OUT of the stores
Use up what is in the house....be creative with what you have.
Breakfast for supper. We love eggs, pancakes, waffles. . . oh, and soup and grilled cheese, too.
Keep track of every cent you spend.
Don't use the charge card. Or, if you are like me, and like the groceries from PCMC, UsE the card, and then immediately go home and pay that balance off.
On-line banking!
Use Quicken to divvy up your money into accounts. My bottom line of what I have to spend is close to zero, even though my bank account has MUCH more in it. BUT, I have the money earmarked for taxes-property and DH income tax-, charity, savings for a new auto and gas, music lessons, Christmas savings etc.
ING account....automatic savings. When the $$ is deducted automatically, you don't even notice it. Note: the first couple of withdrawals takes some getting used to, but before you know it, you are on course.
Whenever I have any money left over from the budget, it immediately is put onto my debt. That $17.50 might reduce the interest on my LoC.
When I have paid off my CPP and EI for the year, that money is immediately directed to my ING. I don't get used to having that extra money. And I treat that as my Christmas savings. ING will let you transfer for a set period of time, so when January comes....it's back to CPP and EI.


Hope that helps! Remember, though, this is set for me, and you have to find what works for you! Not sure why my list starts at 2, so let's put #1 as Be HONEST with what you have to work with, and how you are spending!

Northstar
10-23-2008, 09:05 AM
When I have money and no time... I order online.

When I have time and no money... I use kijiji.ca to find who's got used stuff to sell in my community. The time-consuming part is arranging the get-together (usually in a Tim Horton's parking lot... I'm not telling where my home is and most people are similarly cautious), and often finding out somebody else has snapped up the items you wanted.

Now if I ever have time and money at the same moment, I won't know what to do!

My 2 princesses
10-23-2008, 09:24 AM
Did you see the Oprah show a few weeks ago about this? OMG, the coupons and deals they get in the US are just amazing.

I use coupons whenever possible - I don;t worry about the person behind me now as I used to before, cause now every penny counts. visit save.ca for coupons. Buy only when on sale. I am ahead on my Christmas shopping this year due to deals on new Store openings etc (the good thing about this is that the deals are for local stores only so not everyone knows how much you paid for the item:rotfl: ). The big one is Price Match - save gas by taking in your flyer to Walmart or Zellers. RCSS in Ontario does not price match, too bad for them as I like to shop there to get PC points which I can use later on. Buy meats etc when on sale especially if you have a freezer to stock up. Milk and half and half are big ones in this house, so we always buy when on sale. Luckily for us, half and half has been on sale for many weeks now, so we look at paying only 2 bucks. If not on sale, we go to Costco and pay 2.49, much better than 4.29 at No Frills. Milk is bought for 3.99 most times as most stores have it on sale so we rotate as we don't really stick to one brand.

This makes me thing of something else which should so totally be another thread. I am so tempted to use the 50% off that SWA is offerning until today and though I have credit for flights and the room only at Disney is great, but I the park entrance fee is holding me back. I have seen so many of us taking advantage of this deal, and believe me, I want to, but since we just went in September, I can't justify going back so soon. Can someone tell me I am NUTS and that I should book today?? Please???

drag n' fly
10-23-2008, 09:28 AM
Like my Grandma who grew up during the great depression used to say "even if it is 50% off, it is not a great deal if you really don't need it." Of couse that did not apply to the 50% off fabric tables for her:rotfl2:

drag n' fly
10-23-2008, 09:30 AM
In simplest terms for ME....


Stay OUT of the stores
Use up what is in the house....be creative with what you have.
Breakfast for supper. We love eggs, pancakes, waffles. . . oh, and soup and grilled cheese, too.
Keep track of every cent you spend.
Don't use the charge card. Or, if you are like me, and like the groceries from PCMC, UsE the card, and then immediately go home and pay that balance off.
On-line banking!
Use Quicken to divvy up your money into accounts. My bottom line of what I have to spend is close to zero, even though my bank account has MUCH more in it. BUT, I have the money earmarked for taxes-property and DH income tax-, charity, savings for a new auto and gas, music lessons, Christmas savings etc.
ING account....automatic savings. When the $$ is deducted automatically, you don't even notice it. Note: the first couple of withdrawals takes some getting used to, but before you know it, you are on course.
Whenever I have any money left over from the budget, it immediately is put onto my debt. That $17.50 might reduce the interest on my LoC.
When I have paid off my CPP and EI for the year, that money is immediately directed to my ING. I don't get used to having that extra money. And I treat that as my Christmas savings. ING will let you transfer for a set period of time, so when January comes....it's back to CPP and EI.




Hope that helps! Remember, though, this is set for me, and you have to find what works for you! Not sure why my list starts at 2, so let's put #1 as Be HONEST with what you have to work with, and how you are spending!

Excellent advice:thumbsup2

We bought Quicken too. It is very labour intensive (still setting ours up) but once you are done.....whammo every penny is accounted for!

DearDaisyinDurham
10-23-2008, 09:59 AM
Did you see the Oprah show a few weeks ago about this? OMG, the coupons and deals they get in the US are just amazing.

This makes me thing of something else which should so totally be another thread. I am so tempted to use the 50% off that SWA is offerning until today and though I have credit for flights and the room only at Disney is great, but I the park entrance fee is holding me back. I have seen so many of us taking advantage of this deal, and believe me, I want to, but since we just went in September, I can't justify going back so soon. Can someone tell me I am NUTS and that I should book today?? Please???

:yay: :yay: :yay: I know!! DH said last night if you can book really cheap airfare and get the resort room for under $100, maybe we should go in December and skip the parks!!! I do love him!!!!

Hoogy
10-23-2008, 12:22 PM
I too buy whatever meat is on sale and stock the freezer. One week it ground beef, the next it may be chicken etc. I also stock up on pantry items like pasta, sauce, cereal, drink boxes etc
Besides reading my flyers I use Save.ca for coupons. When I go to a store I also look for coupons on the shelves. I find more of these at the more "expensive" grocery stores.....but I just take a few coupons and file them (yes a file folder from the dollar store filled with coupons) and then when that item goes on sale (or if it is way cheaper at another store) I use the coupon(s).
I use ING (I have about 5 savings accounts for things like vacation, car, furniture etc) and each pay money automatically goes into the account.

Finally I use websites to help me. I've mentioned frugalshopper.ca before. On there I can look for freebies, deals online and in store, where to find coupons, Shoppers Drug mart deals and how to maximize your points, and much more. It is through this site that I've learned how to shop sales (yes their regular prices on things are crazy...but with sales, coupons etc I do well) at Shopper's and get the maximum amount of points. Last year it paid for my Wii and some games. This year I almost have enough for $400 worth of stuff on a special redemption week-end (points are worth more) and I plan to get a nintendo DS and more.

Another site to try is dealguild.ca and with this site you get cash back in your pay pal account for online purchases (Canadian and American)

HTH

c&m
10-23-2008, 01:29 PM
We have different ways of saving money in our family of 4:

1. We buy groceries for the week, and only buy whatever meat is on sale. We eat nutritious fresh foods, and avoid buying processed foods. It is cheaper to make your own tomato sauce than to buy a jar of tomato sauce that may contain more salt than you may need. Instead of buying frozen meatballs, I make our own using ground turkey and fresh ingredients. We stay out of the junk food aisle (junk food is expensive and adds to your grocery bill). We make a Costco run once a month and typically spend $150-$180 there. With the exception of Costco, our weekly grocery bill averages $125 per week.

2. I always bring a lunch to work. The kids always bring a packed lunch to school. My DH brings lunch from home about once or twice a week (he often has to go out for business lunches). That saves so much money.

3. I don't drink alcohol or caffeine. That saves $$$ on Starbucks and liquor purchases.

4. We use Quicken to organize ourselves financially. We also set up a "luxury fund" and a plan on what (i.e. trips, a new mattress, clothing allowances for each member of the family, stuff like that) we will spend on money on for the year. This allows us to stay on track and not deviate from our plan.

5. We don't impulse buy. We say "no" to the children 90% of the time when they tell us they want something. At the end of the day, the children don't miss what they wanted at that moment in time. We buy only what is relevant.

6. We eat out once a week. It's a treat at the end of a long work week.

7. We pick and choose carefully the movies we want to watch at the theatre. A family of 4 can easily spend $80 going out to see a movie. We just buy the tickets and skip the popcorn.

BTW, this is a great post, OP. It's nice to have a plan in place in these times of economic uncertainty.

snickerboo
10-23-2008, 02:11 PM
C & M you could be me! LOL I'm really careful w/ money. I'm a stay-at-home mom. Money is less tight than when my dd was a baby but, back then, just to stay home I had to really economize.

If you really want to save money here's a question to ask yourself before you open your wallet: "do I really need this or do I just want it?" If it's need, you buy it, if it's want, put it back.

Another way I save money is second-hand clothing. I don't know if I have a single item of clothing that is not name-brand anymore. I can tell you that almost all of it was under $10/item, though. Coats were $15 (I currently have three winter coats: a Far West ski jacket that was like new, an Old Navy puffy down-filled jacket, and a Gap wool pea coat. The most expensive was $15). When I tell people this, they are shocked. They say my children and I are so beautifully dressed and stylish, they can't believe it's mostly used. My mom says to me almost every visit now, "you can't have gotten that used!" but I have. Women frivolously buy clothes and never wear them or wear them a handful of times. If you can find a good consignment store, you can find all of their beautiful castoffs at cheaper than clearance prices. I find the very good bame brands, like Ralph Lauren, last quite a bit longer than new Old Navy or Walmart. I also check on facebook sale pages and kijiji.

Thirdly, my favourite word: Clearance. Once you start watching for sale items, you'll notice certain stores put things on clearance for no good reason. Things that were full price 6 weeks earlier are now super cheap, especially clothes. You can check online to see if a certain store is having a sale before you even go in (ie; Children's Place, The Gap, Sears...). In Canada, Sears has an outlet section on their website. Just look in the top tool bars and you'll find it. Hint: sometimes they'll have the same item as is on the regular website but cheaper+Sears will deliver FREE to any Sears store, even if you only have a little Sears catalogue depot or appliance store.

Some other things we do:
*instead of joining a gym, find a running buddy
*pizza? Little Caesar's hot n ready $5 for a medium pepperoni (they have other kinds now, too, for a little more)
*sell your old junk on kijiji or facebook
* store flyers:you can check them out online strating on Thursday nights or Friday mornings. Shop at the one that has the est deals of groceries that you need.
*Be careful of buy one get one half off or free, especially at the grocery store. it's not always a 'deal'. Sobeys does this with meat, then makes you buy a $50 package.
*Budget by the paycheck and do not go over or charge. If you have money leftover, transfer it to a savings or investment. If you run out of money, you'll have to wait til next pay. This really keeps you from charging and charge cards can be a wicked game. I have one, only for emergencies, that must be paid in full at the end of each month.

I have more tips, but I've taken up more than my fair share of space. I'm always interested in other people's budget ideas. Keep 'em coming.

LSmith
10-23-2008, 06:33 PM
Just wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU for all of the tips. I am hoping that one or hopefully more of these tips will rub off on me. I really need to start budgeting badly. It's not in my DNA. Please don't stop and if you have posted but have more please keep them coming. I really appreciate all of them!

My 2 princesses
10-23-2008, 11:28 PM
Check your local library for DVD's/VHS etc. You may be surprised at what they have and thus save some money on renting.

Never pay full price for anything. Chances are, it will be on sale shortly.

DearDaisyinDurham
10-24-2008, 09:59 AM
If in the GTA, shoestringshopping.com publishes in the Saturday Toronto Star, has a website and you can receive their email newsletter. For example, there is a giant Eddie Bauer warehouse sale on now and a new Nygard outlet opening in Vaughan that will have up to 90% off.

DearDaisyinDurham
10-24-2008, 10:00 AM
Just wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU for all of the tips. I am hoping that one or hopefully more of these tips will rub off on me. I really need to start budgeting badly. It's not in my DNA. Please don't stop and if you have posted but have more please keep them coming. I really appreciate all of them!

:grouphug:

disneynovic
10-25-2008, 07:37 AM
I save for vacations all year long, also in an ING account. Whenever there's extra money, it goes directly in. I also like to use any "points" I have saved up for the year towards our vacation. This year, Aeroplan is covering 4 hotel night stays, Airmiles covered Universal tickets for the 5 of us and a 3-day MYW child's ticket, Mypoints got us a $10 Pizza Hut gift card and a $25 Rainforest Cafe gift card, and I received two free Borders gift cards for $75 each, which the kids can go to the outlet and pick something new up when in Orlando.

DearDaisyinDurham
10-25-2008, 01:06 PM
I save for vacations all year long, also in an ING account. Whenever there's extra money, it goes directly in. I also like to use any "points" I have saved up for the year towards our vacation. This year, Aeroplan is covering 4 hotel night stays, Airmiles covered Universal tickets for the 5 of us and a 3-day MYW child's ticket, Mypoints got us a $10 Pizza Hut gift card and a $25 Rainforest Cafe gift card, and I received two free Borders gift cards for $75 each, which the kids can go to the outlet and pick something new up when in Orlando.

:thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

DearDaisyinDurham
10-25-2008, 05:48 PM
soft moc had an insert in the paper today w/ most styles up to 30% off
emu ugg skecher soft moc

also a 15% off for signing up at softmoc.com but don't think it's stackable

any feedback on emu? I have had uggs for 4 years that are still wonderful but need a new type and curious if emu is as good? TIA