Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby steps to resolutions

New Years Resolution number one is to cut costs and handle our accounts better. Its always a tough task when, honestly there's more money going out than coming in. And of course we've only ourselves to blame, I've never been great about controlling my spending. I've had my ups and downs, learned my lesson in college, paid my debts off after college and was doing great. Met my hubby and out came the downward spiral again. And to hubby's benefit, I don't think he was ever taught financial responsibility either. So entering a relationship with a spender enabled my "spender" habits and now here we both stand. And here are the things that I have done to work towards our 1st goal.

  1. I have made sure that I am contributing the percentage amount to my 401k to ensure that my company is matching. This has never been an issue, so instead I just increased it to match half of what my salary increase was. This was it'll be like I got a smaller raise than in actuality and I'll never miss the "extra" money I would have gotten each paycheck. I increased the hubby's contribution to ensure he recieved his company match, because that's free money and we'll need it in the future!
  2. I have gone back to the days before online banking and debit cards. I have a duplicate checkbook and use my register! For items that I pay online at their website, I still assign a check to and log it in my register. For gas and other expenses I use cash. I've chosen a bank that only has 3 locations in proximity and of which take 30 minutes of my time to get cash from. This has really helped in curbing my spending, I know I've only got so much cash and that I should save it should an emergency arise.
  3. I closed my Napster account. Yes I love music and it's what helps me get through the work day but alas I could just listen to the radio. And that $15 a month could be used for gas or my ever increasing toll fees.
  4. I drive close to 100 miles a day for work. Yup it sucks but that's life, and my job pays me good money. Much more money than could be found closer to home. And don't get me started on the benefits, I've looked around, been offered other jobs but when it came down to it I stayed because of the benefits. But I digress, so I spend enormous amounts of money in gas and because of where I live I have to drive a toll road. Driving this toll road daily equates to a weekly average of $40 spent in tolls. That's a ton of money just to use a road! I have determined that if I skip 2 toll booths and drive the side road for part of my to and from work each day I could save about $3 to $4 a day. What a savings! Now I just have to tell my brain that that money is really worth the extra 20 minutes in the car. :)
  5. Cable isn't all that it's cracked up to be, really. I mean what channels do you usually end up watching most of the time anyways? If you're like me its the standard Fox, ABC, NBC and PBS so why shell out the extra money for shows you occasionally watch but really won't miss. Now the hubby is obsessed with football so each fall we end up having to upgrade to at least have ESPN but I'm working on him for this one. But for now we're back down to basic cable.

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