Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Single Mom Recessionary Cost Saving Tips

Since I was laid off, I have had to pare down my expenses. Here is my list of achievements so far and yes, I have more to do.

Any cost saving tips are most welcome. 

1. Created a budget and signed onto Mint.com- Mint.com is a site that you enter in all your banking/credit cards/assets/create a budget. It tracks all of it so at the minimum you can see how your doing versus your budget. Do I stick to the budget? No,  but hey it's a start, right. Work with me, people. 

2. Got rid of my storage facility - savings $900/ year. I wish I had done this sooner. Just think if I had done this 3 years ago,  I would have saved $2,700. Of course, I would have invested in the stock market and still lost money. 

3. Reduced credit card debt (but still leave a balance) - In recent months, credit card companies are cutting customers credit lines regardless if you are a good customer or not. So instead of paying off my debt, I am pretty much pay more than the minimum payments  so I don't lose the credit line as I might need to really use it. Let's face it, my priority is paying my mortgage and keeping a roof over my head.

4. Shopping at Trader Joe's - There is some debate here with friends who shop at Whole Foods but I still think Trader Joe's has the best prices especially for staples like milk, cereal, produce, snack foods and my fave, appetizers. 

5. Coupons - I do use them but unlike supermarket in the suburbs, I am pretty sure you can't save a ton of money the way suburbanites do. In New York City, I have yet to see double coupons.  

6. Collect loose change - I heard this idea a few  months ago and thought what a ridiculous idea but it works. Sure I may be unemployed  but it doesn't hurt to save up all that change. On average, I save about $30 a month. I pretty much bank it in an account for my daughter. It may not be much but it's something. I need to feel as though I am saving for the future. 
7. Cut back on magazines subscriptions - My friends know this about me, I am just a constant reader of magazines. This is a holdover from when I worked in advertising and I was comped on a gazillion magazines. I am pretty sure I was the only planner who read every magazine every month. Not renewing People magazine was a huge savings of $100/year. That was tough habit to break. Now if I just go to Barnes and Noble and read magazines for free. Full disclosure here, I still subscribe to Vanity Fair (why, that magazine has really gone down hill and my all time favorite and never giving up Entertainment Weekly.)

8. Combined Phone/Cable/Internet - I saved about $100 a month by combining everything. Lots of financial advisors will tell you to get rid of your land line and go with just a cell phone. I just refuse to go down that path and why you ask?  For the most important reason, I have lived through 9/11 and a blackout both of which the landlines were up and running first and cell phones were blocked. 

9.  Canceled Wall Street Journal - Saved $120/year.  

10. Cut back on take out and eating out - Big savings here. I went from take out 2-3 week to maybe 1-2x month which is for me pretty good. 


This Real Mommy said...

Those are all really great ideas. Thanks for sharing them. :)

Anonymous said...

I have a few too:

-I took the credit cards out of my wallet and carry cash when i shop
-I eat vegetarian 2-3 times a week
-I go to matinee movies
-I got a library card
- I held a clothes swap with a few friends--new clothes cost me nothing more than my old clothes

Buffyfan said...

to anonymous,
going vegetarian had not even ocurred to me. That is not a bad idea for myself but I like my daughter to get a little protein at dinner. I think that I will try to going veggie this week.

Library card is also a good idea. I just need to force myself to build into our weekly routine.

Swap meet - I will have to suggest that again.
Thanks so much for your contributing.

Nicole said...

Wonderful Post, and thanks for the tips! I too have cut back on Magazinne sub. It's an addiction, and even now, I find myself droolong over Life&Style, Us, and the like at newsstands, but I've been very disciplined!

Buffyfan said...

Magazines are hard. I find that I have to really think hard when I see one, whats a couple of dollars, right. Although the one thing about the gossip mags is if you read enough of them, you realize that a lot of the photos are being used by most of them because whomever the photographer is, seems to get the one great shot so they all need to get it.

Barnes and Noble or Duane Read is my friend. I really do wander in just to look at the magazines for quick moment to get my fix.

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