Monday, January 28, 2013

Buy This, Not That. Frugal Budget Living

On a frugal budget we all have to live without a lot of the things that we thought we needed some much. In some cases we know some things just pop up that have to be bought. These things may not be a super emergency, but they are needed in our everyday life. You know, like when your headed to work, your phone starts to die and you haven't replaced the car charger that broke three weeks ago. More like three month for me. How about when you leave the house and forget to brush your teeth. I know some of us may have that travel pack ready, but that's not me. I am just not that organized. When your living on a frugal budget, you don't always have a 50 dollar bill in your pocket. Let's be honest. You would be lucky to have anything in your pocket or you wouldn't be reading frugal living posts. Anyway, in these cases sometimes we have to come up with a cheap fix. We all know the poorer you get, the more crap that happens and we have to pinch penny's even with the little things.Lets see were we could save a buck with a buy this, not that comparison.

                                    Buy this, not that

Dollar Tree $1                                                                   Walmart $3.19

 Lets start with the simple things like forgetting to brush your teeth and your meeting the boss today. You might think to run over to the local Walmart real quick and freshen up. If you cant find the travel pack you could spend $4 to $6 just grabbing toothpaste and a toothbrush. Add in some floss and you might spend up to $9. Hope you packed, but if not there goes lunch. The same products you would buy would only cost $3 with floss at the Dollar Tree. I am sure just about all of us have a everything for a dollar store now days. You just saved $6 and have a stash in the glove box for the next time this happens. Also you now know were to save on these products in the future.

                                       Buy this, not that 

                          Dollar General $8                                                    Walmart $15
 How about the sell charger that we all need. They all break. Nothing last these days. I think its a conspiracy to make us all spend more money. My problem is, I'm to cheap to spend $25 at my local wireless provider on one. So, I go for the generic brands. Which most of us do. I get mine from Dollar General for $8 and sometimes even less. Walmart carries some for $15 and up. If its going to break anyway in a year, I think I would like to pay less for it. Plus the $8 one is cheaper in a pinch. You just saved $7.

We've all been here right?

Wow, can stuff happen at the worst times. How embarrassing for that guy. It happens to the best of us. The problem is. It seems like we are always far from home when it does. Those were probably his favorite pants.  A lot of us wear top brand clothing and replacing it can be costly. Levis $40-$60, Nike workout shorts $25-$35, Docker $35-$55, Express $55-$80 and some more or less. Stop shopping at those stores that sell you   clothes from a commercial. Its like their sign out front says Took-By-Us. Stores like Marshall's and T.J. Maxx have all the same clothes and more for half the price. These stores will save you tons of money all year long. So the next time you have a split or a spill, try to make it over to one of these stores and don't get took.

Having a flat tire is the worst. This can really bring down a good day. Especially when you are on a frugal budget. More then 60% of all drivers are driving around with no spare. Why? Because they used it the last time they got a flat. First off, learn to change a tire. Even if you need to practice at home. Secondly, don't call a tow truck to take you to the nearest tire shop. I'm sure you have a friend that could come pick you up and they might even help with the tire changing. A tow could cost $150 on average. Which you don't have to throw away. You could give your friend $10 for gas and I'm sure they will be happy.  Now, the tire cost. We are trying to live frugal right? Tire cost can range from $100 to $300 and more. Depending on what you drive. When you get to the tire shop, ask the sales person if they have a good used one that will fit your car or truck. Don't take no for an answer. They change good tires all day. They have something that will work. A good used tire is less then $25 to $60 mount on your rim. Change all four of your tires for new ones when its time. But, Today you just got away from spending a few hundred dollars. After paying for the tire and giving your friend gas money, you have spent $70 or less getting rid of this headache.

The point is to pay attention to what you spend your money on. Even in a pinch. If it wasn't for pinches then we would all have more money anyway. If it works the same, it is the same. Don't throw your money away.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spend Less Money On Household Goods, Save Money This Month

     Any of these look familiar? Sure they do. This is a small part of the many things that take money from your checking account each and every week, day or month. Now it may not seem like much,  but how many of us are struggling to pay bills each month or when is the last time we had a date night. My wife and I had to do something to start cutting back on the amount of money we spent each month. I'm sure you know what I mean. Like I'm the only one that's broke, Right? So, we sat down, and thought about this thing annually. Now the problem was, we didn't know how much we spent in household goods. That would mean that we would have to go through the whole house and write down every thing we need day to day. Also, how much would we need for a month, what brand did we use and how much did it cost. The whole thing took about two hours. Plus I was in denial and so was my wife.

Now let me tell you. This is shocking to a man. When a wife needs it, she needs it. I know a lot of guys can get by with a stick of deodorant, bottle of shampoo (which to us is multipurpose to guys) and one razor. We don't think about what it takes to run the house each month. The kids don't either. Our daughter is 16 and son is 11. Fun stuff, Right? Anyway, that means laundry, showers, shaving, dishes, personal hygiene, cleaning up spills and the list goes on. Now we are a family of four, with two dogs, and we are just average people trust me. Would you believe that it was over $200 a month. We didn't think of this as a bill, but it is as much as one. That is $2400 a year. If you are in the average income range this could be 8% of your income and for single moms and dads this could be 16% of your income. Now you know why you never get a date night or watch that new movie you want to see. OK.  Let me break down for you how I came up with these numbers so you can be in denial also.

These are the basic items give or take that everyone buys each month in a family of four.
        ITEMS                                              BRAND                                              COST PER MONTH
Dog Food(two large dogs)                Pedigree  40 lb. Bag                                               $20
Razors for him (4)                                   Guillette Fusion                                                 $14
Razors for her (4)                                       Venus                                                           $12
Shampoo for him (1)                           Gillette Sport 3 in 1                                               $4
Shampoo for her  (2)                             Pantene Blonde                                                  $14    
Conditioner for her (2)                           Pantene Blonde                                                  $14
Body Wash (2)                                     Sometimes varies                               (around)    $8
Hair Spray                                             Pantene Pro V                                                   $6
Hair Gel                                                Garnier Fructis                                                   $4
Hair Mouse                                            Pantene Pro V                                                  $4
Deodorant for him(2)                               Gillette Sport                                                   $8
Deodorant for her(2)                          Dove Clean and Fresh                                           $8
Tooth Paste                                        Colgate with whiting                                              $4  
Toilet Paper (18 rolls)                        Angel Soft Double Rolls                                         $11
Paper Towels (4 rolls)                                 Scott                                                            $6
Dish Liquid                                          Ultra Palmolive Fresh                                           $3
Two Sided Dish Sponge                          Scotch Brite                                                     $2
Laundry Detergent                               Tide Liquid 150 oz.                                              $16
Bleach                                                       Clorox 3 qt.                                                   $2
Fabric Softener                                      Downy 60 lds.                                                   $6
Window Cleaner                                       Windex                                                          $3
Disinfectant                                                 Lysol                                                            $4
Floor Cleaner                                      Mop & Glo 30 oz.                                               $5
Multipurpose Cleaner                                  Ajax                                                             $2
Bathroom Cleaner                                 Soft Scub with bleach                                         $4
Air Freshener                                        Frebreze 2 pack                                                 $5
Trash Bags                                             Hefty 20 pack                                                   $8
Sandwich Bags                                       Ziploc 100 cnt.                                                  $3
Cotton Swabs                                        Q-Tip 375 pack                                                $3
                                                                                                Total Monthly Cost =      $203
                                                                                                           Annual Cost =      $2436

I know this may sound like a ridiculous amount of products, but this what most families are buying every month. Yes. Some of these products will last a little more the a month, but not many. Don't be in denial, look around, you buy them too. Are there things on this list you can live without, sure. Do we live without them. Not most of us. Some even buy more then this and I'm sure I left a few things out. Don't let me get into the makeup. We'll save that for another post. So, you can see that my wife and I, like you, had to do something to spend less money on household goods.

What if we were to only allow ourselves $75 a month to buy all these products. Could we sacrifice brand and is there so thing we can do without. I mean whats more important. Having a home and a life or glowing hair and the smoothest razor ever. Did we have to have the softest toilet paper. Were our spills so big that our paper towels had to soak up 8 oz.s with one towel. Could we find a all in one product that could multitask to buy fewer cleaning products. The challenge is on. We will spend $75 at the beginning of every month and save money  this month. But could we do it.

At first we thought it would take a lot of time and effort to work this out. Also the whole family would have to be together on this and everyone would have to sacrifice a little. The family sat down, had a talk, and we all knew it would benefit all of us making these sacrifices. We had our list, a cell phone for a calculator , $75 and we headed out. My problem was I didn't want to travel every local store in a 10 mile radius to make this happen. So we thought it would be best to start at the everything for less stores like Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree. Then after we would head over to Walmart for the left overs.

I think our first stop was Family Dollar. Where we find some great all in one cleaners for the bathroom and the rest of the house, Paper towels, toothpaste, and much more. We started paying attention to things like the square ft. of a paper towel roll or how many square ft are on a roll of toilet paper. We ask people in the store for their opinion on the cleaning product and if they had used them. We soon found out that we had sold out to the commercials.  All of us know there are cheaper products, but do they work. Yes they do and some even better and more versatile then the big name brands. So the calculator was adding up, but we had a lot of stuff. Now we would head over to Walmart to wrap up the rest.  After getting everything on our list we could not believe the savings. We had not even done our homework on this. Lets see how we did.

        ITEMS                                              BRAND                                              COST PER MONTH
Dog Food(two large dogs)                Pedigree  40 lb. Bag  ($5 off coupon online)           $15
Razors for him (4)                                   Wilkinson (these are great)                                $1
Razors for her (4)                                    Wilkinson                                                         $1
Shampoo for him (1)                           Suave Sport 3 in 1                                                $2
Shampoo for her  (2)                             Suave Silk                                                          $2    
Conditioner for her (2)                           Suave Silk                                                          $2
Body Wash (1)                                     Suave  Large Bottle                                             $2
Hair Spray                                             Suave Ultra                                                        $1
Hair Gel                                                  L.A. Looks                                                       $1
Deodorant for him(2)                              Degree                                                               $3
Deodorant for her(2)                         Suave Fresh Scent                                                  $2
Tooth Paste                                        Aim with whiting                                                     $1  
Toilet Paper (6 rolls)                       1000 Sheet Family Dollar                                           $3
Paper Towels (4 rolls)                         Family Dollar Brand                                               $2
Dish Liquid                                          Ultra Palmolive Fresh                                            $3
Two Sided Dish Sponge                          F/D Brand                                                         $1
Laundry Detergent                               Sun Liquid 150 oz.                                                $5
Bleach                                                   F/D Brand 3 qt.                                                   $1
Fabric Softener                              Downy 60 lds. (at family dollar)                                   $4

Window Cleaner                                    
Disinfectant                                   Every Thing in one very large bottle
Multipurpose Cleaner                          Mr. Clean  at F/D                                                   $3
Floor Cleaner
Bathroom Cleaner                                 The Works with bleach                                         $1
Air Freshener                                        F/D Brand 2 pack                                                $2
Trash Bags                                             Ruffies 24 pack                                                   $2
Sandwich Bags                                       F/D Brand 100 cnt.                                             $1
Cotton Swabs                                        F/D 300 pack                                                      $1
                                                                                                Total Monthly Cost =        $62
                                                                                                           Annual Cost =        $744

We had done it. For less then what we thought. I was amazed and so was my wife. I think she even threw in an eye liner and some lotion. We had enough products to last the whole month and that bill was done. Using the products over the next month proved to us that this is the way to go. Our saving for the month were $141 plus the gas going back and forth to the store every time we run out of something. That is $1700 a year back in our pockets. Now we stick to it like clock work. When the first of the month comes around we repeat the same thing and sometimes we have enough of one or two items that we don't have to bye that month. We get better at it each month. Some things you cant substitute. I like the brand of dog food my dogs eat and it is healthy for the price.You can spend less money on household good and save money this month. Ladies I know you love your hair products. Almost all hair products are create equal. It doesn't matter the brand as long as its for the same thing. My wife found this out after telling me over and over that she had to have this and that type. Bite down and do what we did. It's so worth it. Now we have a $50 date night once a month away from the kids and can still put $100 back for bills or hard times. You need time to yourself, you need to take a little stress off you and enjoy life. This is my challenge to you. Put your needs before your wants and you will profit from it.