On top of having all those wonderful bills to pay, Chuck and I are attempting to put money away for this wedding that, according to my Knot.com counter, is happening in 276 days or roughly 9 months.
Do manage this, we’ve tightened our purse strings and it seems to be paying off already.
I started pouring my loose change into a Carlo Rossi wine jug about three years ago and when I left for North Carolina it was about three quarters full. It never made the trip (my mom had made an offer to roll it, which I took her up on), but we continue to put our loose change into a bank that I made for Chuck last Christmas. I don’t have hard numbers, but I’m estimating I’ve accumulated a few hundred dollars in cold hard cash.
Putting a dollar aside
I got this great idea from Self magazine. Every time I use cash and get a dollar back with my change, I take that dollar and put it aside. I started doing this about three years ago and saved about $200.
Going off the grid…sort of.
Aside from all my favorite wedding shows on WE, Chuck and I didn’t watch too much cable TV. Most of the television we watched was in the form of Netflix. When we moved, we signed up for an internet plan but went without cable. Between Netflix, Hulu and other internet-based TV watching, we get enough of the boob tube. Sure I’m WAY behind on a lot of the popular shows and need my Twitter feed to keep me in the loop of daily events, but we’re saving about $30 a month.
Hello? Can you hear me?
Who really has a home phone anymore? Most people just use their cell phones. Chuck and I would do that, but our apartment is a dead zone and I only get service when I sit outside. My mother invested in a Magic Jack for my brother while he was at college. She paid $70 for five years of service. Now that my brother is home and doesn’t have any use for it, she passed the gadget onto me. It’s not perfect and it can be annoying to keep the computer on all the time, but I can’t complain seeing as though we are phone bill free. I even bought another one to use for my freelance writing work. We save about $40 a month.
Is it cold in here?
I grew up without air conditioning. My summers were spent sitting next to multiple fans. I’ll admit, I went a little crazy with the central air when I first got here. After our last electric bill, which amounted to a whopping $103, Chuck and I have been a bit more conscious of how cold we keep the apartment. We generally keep it coolest at night and when I wake up I increase the temperature about five degrees. When Chuck goes to work he increases it even more, putting it up to 80. Since our apartment is shaded by a lot of tall trees, it never actually hits 80 degrees. I’ll have to tell you next month how much keeping the temperature up has helped our electric bill.
In a perfect world, I would buy my groceries from local farmers who grew their produce organically. I’d buy organic toilet paper and natural shampoo. Since the things that are good for you are inherently more expensive and Chuck and I struggle to pay our rent as it is, we head to Walmart to do most of our shopping. Personally, I think Walmart is one the most evil corporations in America, but it’s hard to be idealistic when you’re broke.
Anyway, last week Chuck and I bought Walmart brand everything, with the exception of bacon and my bottle of wine. We spent $66 and got almost enough groceries to last us two weeks. We had to supplement some of our food from Kroger because Walmart doesn’t carry everything. Chuck and I like the frozen mixed vegetables, which are actually Kroger brand. Between about five packages of those, some Kroger brand frozen shrimp and some frozen ravioli, another $56 completes our shopping until my next paycheck. Not bad for $60 a week.
Embracing the dollar store
When Chuck and I need aluminum foil, plastic food storage containers, paper towels or any other odd product, we head to the local dollar store. Dollar stores vary from store to store, but take a walk through one and see all the things you could buy for a fraction of the price. You’d be pleasantly surprised.
What’s the special tonight?
The few times we go out to eat, we take advantage of the specials. On Fridays I treat myself to pizza at my favorite pizza place. I get the lunch special, two slices and a drink for $5. I’m going to have to cut back on my pizza habit, but I considering all the other sacrifices I make, I try to do something that makes me happy.
Spoiled by our favorite half priced sushi place, Chuck and I are still adjusting to paying more for our favorite food. But, we always make sure we head to a place that has a buy-one-get-one offer to keep the cost down. We end up spending about $10 more than we did back on Long Island.
When we can, we also get our food to go. Getting our food to go cuts down on the tip and the drink. (I know there have been arguments about tipping if you get food to go, but sorry, you taking my order and handing me my food doesn’t make you any different than the girl at the pizza place or the guy at Wendys. Generally, I’m a great tipper, but to-go orders is where I draw the line.) Doing this saves us up to $10 on our dinner.
How did you save money for your wedding? Tell me in the comments or shoot me an email at LIBudgetBride@gmail.com.