How To Slash Your Bills and Get Your Expenses Under Control

money1

In January, many people are looking to take care of their new year resolutions, be it losing weight, eating well and saving money. I have goals that I want to achieve in 2013, I have given up making resolutions as I have failed in a few months to keep those up. So I create mini goals that I break down from a one big goals so it makes it easier to me to achieve it and stay focused.

One of the thing I am passionate about or should I say, I am forced upon is to save money. When I decided to not go back to my six figure salary work and be home with kids, something had to give so I started reading and learning new ways to cut down on expenses. Some of my early favorite personal finance blogs were Simple Dollar, Get Rich Slowly and Zen Habits. Trent from Simple Dollars still writes his money tips with passion after so many years so do check out his blog. J D Roth has sold his “Get Rich Slowly” blog and I admit I do not read regularly anymore but there are some great articles out there still. Leo from Zen Habits has achieved his financial freedom so he does not write about money tips much but I still read his blog for changing habits and inspiration.

I have done No Spend Money experiment and written about saving money tips before, as 2013 is starting, I am looking back to find more ways to save money so that I can continue to follow my passion of being home, work at home part time and homeschooling mom to my kids.

One of the most expense that people now a days have is phone related that is to say, phone, cable, cell phones and internet bills that keeps growing. Ten years ago or so family needed only single land line phone and television was simple choice enough choosing whatever came in local handful channels that came mostly free. But now there are thousands of channels and programs for television are there. For phone there are multiple lines, data plan, test plans, apps, ringtones and what not. I am not even sure I am all updated with what is available technology wise currently.

If you add this for spouse and kids, bill can run higher and higher. Although, television program says “Must See TV”, there is no such a thing as I and many others have given up or reduced watching Television for good. If you still decide to watch it, you can let go of many overlapping services to save money on bills.

How To Slash Your Phone Bills:

There are a few ways to slash your phone bills and most of these tips will not cause to feel deprived either.

  1. Reconsider Land Line Phone: For long time, we kept up our land line phone just in case there was internet or cell phone outage, mostly in case for emergency. We have given up land line phone for using Vonage service (internet based) for 7 months and could not complain about it. Monthly savings can be $30-$75 depending on services you were using, not bad for saving $360 to $ 900 savings for year.
  2. Drop Extra Services: This tip seems so simple and obvious however, many of us are having so many overlapping services with cell phone and land line phone combine. This also works if you want to keep your land line phone service without costing you big in monthly spending. Example of these extra services can be, You can let go of voice mail and buy answering machine phone, you can let go of your long distance services and use cell phone for calling long distance instead.
  3. Talk Free Via Computer: I am not tech savvy, despite having an electrical engineering but Zenguy is master geek and tech guy so we save money through talking to relatives and friends far away via Skype, Google chat. These services are free and can be downloaded free to your computer. What I like about this plan is it is free, you can chat and also use video chat so grandparents or friends can kids and vice versa. Also, thing to note is that grandparent or any person you call does not need to have Skype or Google chat program, you can call cell phone, land lines on other side.
  4. Buy For Busy Talk Month: I learned this the hard way, as phone carriers have hefty fees and charge if you go over minutes. It might be better to pay some extra every month to cover your busiest talk month to not get these charges during high usage month. If you do not plan this, just be careful to stay within your allowed minutes to not get charge ridiculous amount of fees.
  5. Shop around: I like being loyal to my family, friends but I have learned hard way to remain loyal to a company. I used AT&T for 8 years as I really liked them and what they did for that loyalty? They charged me crazy amount, so reluctantly I left, only to be offered same deal that I was asking them while being a customer.  Since that incidents, I always shop around to see best deals and choose phone company that works for my budget and customer services.
  6. Ignore Texting: In US texting is not free, unlike a few Asian countries. A relative from India sent us text messages and only to read those it ended up costing us $35. So, if you have teenagers or relatives who get free texting, be careful and avoid these texting charges either by ignoring those or reading text messages through some free reading services.
  7. Be careful for Roaming Charges: If you travel out of town or country, be very very careful of using your cell phone. It is almost always a good idea to get local cell phone or have roaming service plan added (if you travel a lot). Otherwise you will be billed $1-$5 per minutes, I have once read a news regarding someone getting a roaming charges for $12,100. (I am unable to find that news link now, but I am sure you may see those once in awhile too) So don’t be one of those statistics and save money by using local phone services instead.

Slash Your Cable and Movies Bills:

I love watching movies and a few Television series such as from BBC, A&E and Master Piece Theater. So, one does not have to give up watching their favorite TV shows or movies just to cut down on expenses. There are many ways to save and cut the bill in half or even more.

  1. Let Go of Premium Channels: Having premium channels such as HBO, Showtime, AMC can cost about $10-$15 each monthly. In most cases you can watch these movies through Netflix, or DVD rental. Now netflix gets DVD released movie much faster so you will still get to see it early.
  2. Track Your Watching: If you really note down how you or family tend to watch, such as which channels, how often you may cut down on other unwatched and UN-necessary channels from your services. Sometimes you may even find that you’re not watching as much cable as you thought, and in that case you can let go of cable services.
  3. Ask For Discounts: If you like to keep some favorite channels or services, ask the provider for discount or better offer. In some cases the company want to keep you as a customer and will negotiate a better deals and other case some stone- hearted company may ask you to cancel and in such case you can choose other provider or wait for a few months to really see before you sign up for new plan.
  4. Day has only 24 hours: Remember, having so many channels and movies choices may be futile as even if we watched one movie a day (2-3 hours each), we will not finish all movies produced and released and same thing with television series. So pick what you truly like that is best for your time. Watching TV and Movie all day no matter how much you like would not be a good thing for anyone.
  5. Buy HDMI Cable: I learned this from Zenguy as I would not know what it was. Thing is this HDMI cable costs like $5 or so and you can connect your computer to television. That allows us to watch free shows from network downloaded. Do not ask me how it works yet but I know it is time and big money saver for little cost. (I will update it once I find out how it works here)
  6. Skip Subscription Plans: Netflix, itunes and Amazon video on demand subscription plan varies and can be useful if you watch lot of movies or occasional movies here and there. In some cases, skipping the subscription plans and getting movies from red box or local store may be a better deal. If you do not mind getting new movies later, and somewhat less choices local library is also a good place to get movies and television series rentals.
  7. Watch it Free on Internet: There are many places such as you tube, hulu and other video sites where you can watch movies and television series for free. Remember, you tube have free and cost movie rental both. You can just view free movies there. The one problem I see is sometimes movies can be removed by copyright violation so it might be gone. I have watched a few movies on you tube movie section and I buy only movies that I like to see it again and again from amazon when deals comes in.

How to Save Money On Internet:

It has been said that over 70% of household have an internet access. That means many of us can find ways to slash our internet bills so we can still save money and still read best blogs, deals and news online.

  1. Group Services Together: Sometimes going with same company and grouping services can reduce your bills significantly. Many company nowadays offer bundle on land line, cell phone and internet services. In some cases doing individual service and billing may work however in most cases grouping services together works the best.
  2. Use library or free Wifi Cafe: Unless you’re buying unlimited internet data usage, you can save money by occasionally using library or free WiFI-cafe for internet for supplementing using internet.
  3. Get a Tablet: Many tablet users who use tablet and watch movies together, so why just use tablet for everything. There are so many apps for iphone and android that can help as free channel guide can be helpful. According to CNN post, replacing your cable with tablet can pay off in 7 months or so and with tablet one can do many things
  4. Know Competing Offers: In many cases most great offers are for new customers and not current customers, so know your offers from your internet providers as well as from competition every 6 months or so. Then call your provider and ask to match the deal, if they do great if not, switch to another company.
  5. Check for Overlap In services: If  you are using smart phone data plan and broadband internet services both, you have overlap in service plans. If you only play occasional games at home, 3G wireless service is not needed. Checking this overlap and how you use smart phone, internet and cell phone can save you $30 per month or more. That is over $240 a year savings on things you do not use anyways.

Enjoy using phones, internet and watching movies, Television series without breaking your wallet this year!

No Spend Month Update

In past couple of years I have done “No Spend Month” Challenge where my family of 4 spent about $300 on daily expenses, not counting mortgage/rent, utility and phone bills. One year I did great and another I did not. This time, I am going to be out of town traveling during month of July, hence decided not to do “no spend month challenge” this time.

If you are curious about it check out past few years post to see weekly updates and how I fared below; If you decide to go through this challenge, let me know if you have any questions or concerns. It is always easy to do this with a friend or online friend support.

Learning from No Spend Month Challenge and Experiment:

I have learnt a few things from being stay at home, Zenguy being out of work for 22 months and doing this experiments for a few years;

  1. Using cash made me aware what I was spending
  2. Credit card usage made me spent more and did not realize where money went, until bill came
  3. Writing down daily expenses, including small 50 cents expenses made me more frugal
  4. Cooking at home is always cheaper, faster and healthier
  5. Kids did not even know anything was a miss, they simply enjoyed it.
  6. Money does not make life better, there are lot of simple things that makes us happy
  7. Library has great resources for entertainment such as new books, movies and even music CDs to enjoy
  8. Paying down bills made me more happy then spending it on luxury item at the end
  9. It is not money but how we feel about money makes difference in our life
  10. Knowing I spent less and was able to control my “I deserve it”, made me learn patience in life
  11. Reading  how to save money books surely gave me ideas on ways to save in my daily life without feeling the pinch.
  12. Finding new ways to make money from home or start blogging to supplement income also helps.

No Spend Month Challenge (2011)

No Spend Month Challenge Take Away and Lessons
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 4
No Spend Month -July 2011: Update 3
Upgrading Inexpensive Food In to Gourmet Meal: Ramen Noodle Hacks
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 2 and Savings Tips
  No Spend Month Challenge: July 2011- Update 1
No Spend Month Challenge: July 2011

No Spend Month Challenge (2010)

No Spend Month Challenge: Update and Take away from the experiment
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 4
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 3
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 2
  No Spend Month Challenge: Update 1
No Spend Month challenge: July

Question for you:

How are you saving money now?

5 Money Savings Tips

Everyday Money Savings

Source: Free Digital Images

Right now with economy being down and jobs are far and few to find, life has been tough.  While economy seems to be improving, I see many good and hard working people are struggling and hard to keep paying bills for mortgages, medical treatment and worst of all credit card payments.

While we can not help some bills such as medical and emergency situation but we can take precautions to make sure we are never in this uncomfortable situation where we may have to lose a house or lose credit ratings. Saving money has been practiced since early days of our great great grandparents to our parents.

There are easy and simple ways we can save money for everyday savings. Once saving habits are ingrain in our mind, saving money or being frugal comes as easy as breathing and it will have so many benefits that your quality of life will be improved.

Start today, do not wait for special occasion or a new year to start a new habits on our personal finance. We can save money on everyday expenses such as phone services, insurance, groceries and travel and more. When we are starting, every penny will count. Do not think, what you will do with saving a few pennies here and there. Just imagine, saving a few pennies will make a dollar and few dollars savings will makes hundreds of dollar. Just imagine you putting this saving towards debt or in saving account, how much money you can save in interests.

Grocery tips for Saving Money

Good Money Savings Articles

11 Steps for Money Management

No Spend Month Money Challenge

How They Calculate Your Credit score

5 Tips to Save Money

Top 5 Money Saving Ideas and Tips

There are many ways to save money in our everyday life. Here are my to ways to save money for everyday expenses. Some tips may need getting used to in the beginning but, it is doable for any of us. Why wait, read on and start saving now.

1. Spend Less Then you Earn

Spend Less, period. This seems simple enough but sometimes hard to achieve, at first. This step is really important if you are serious about saving money for long term effect. Best way to do this is to write it down, each day what you spend money on; it could be gas for your car, or cookies from vending machine, a dollar for homeless guy, no matter what it is, write it down. Can you do without any of this expenses? When I looked at my expenses, I was spending on Latte a day, that saved me $4.50 a day and $135 a month when I stopped buying. And you know what is great about it? I had extra $1620 money which can be used towards traveling or paying off debt. See how every little things adds up?

Cooking at home also helps spending less money. One way you can start doing is by starting no spend money challenge to set a budget and spend only within that budget for the month.

2. Create a Budget and Stick to it

Budget is dreaded word. At least it was for me a few years ago. Now, I have have a budget and I like to call it as a spending plan instead. It sounds better but it is actually budget plan so I know how much money I am spending in various categories such as phone services, groceries, eating out and more. Establishing a personal budget and sticking to has helped me and it can help you too, whether you are a single student or large family with kids.

Just think of this way, if you do not know where your money is going, how can you know if you enough money coming in and going out? In order to know your own finance on piece of paper or a software spreadsheet, it will be much easier to stay motivated and stay on course.

3. Shopping Habits for Savvy Shoppers:

Many times buying bulk saves us bunch of money. Think of buying groceries such as dry staple, soap, and other necessities of daily expenses. If you plan you meals in advance you can do bulk buying and buy necessary ingredients when in sale and not at last minute. Sometimes buying food item in season and freezing or canning them for later also helps. You can buy not only food items but other needed items in bulk to save money, for example, printer paper, soaps, dish washing and laundry detergent, shampoo, diapers and so on in bulk when using a coupons or when in sale. If you are buying gifts for friends and family in advance, it will help you look out for sales and discount and can make you save money and plan things, so you are not buying things at last minute at retail price.

4. Do research before buying:

Before you buy an item, do a research online, ask friends and family before making a purchase, specially if it is a large ticket item such as flat screen Television or camera. Make sure the sale price is really a sale before making any large expense that cost $100 or more. What do I mean by that? Some product may it is 40% off retail price, while that many sounds good, not many product companies pay retail price, so check to see where is the best price comparisons such as similar stores, ebay or other online shops to make sure you are getting a best deal on item you want to buy.

Many time, “Buy one get one free”, “50% off”, and “Huge Discount” will make you think you are saving money, double check to make sure it is really a huge discount as they say as it is our hard earned money we are spending.

5. Buy used or generic when possible:

I have made a rule except a few items, everything can be bought used. I personally am fan of used items as it saves me tons of money. I have 2 years old car that is running fine and has saved money. I just make sure with a mechanic to make sure there are no hidden repairs and check car fax report before buying it. Cars loses 33% of value in its 1st year so if you wait a couple of years you can save a lot. You can buy used and good quality furniture, toys and so on. Other than diapers, medicines, food items, many of us can buy quality items from garage sale, craigslist and ebay.
How do you save money?

How do you save money with Budgeting or Spending Plan?

See part 2 of the series: 5 more tips to save money

No Spend Month Challenge Take Away and Lessons

This month’s no spend month challenge plan of spending $300 for 31 days for 4 people, failed miserably. I went over budget 5 days before the month ended. Some of the reasons were unexpected and out of my control and others were in my control but I did not handle it well. So, I have failed in sense, but like in every situation in life, there is a lesson to learn in each one of them.

If we never make a mistake, the learning does not happen. There are very few of us who are lucky enough to know what they are doing and doing it right all the time. I on other hand need some more learning and I have given an opportunity to look back at the No month challenge and see positives in this failed attempt. After all, I know I was able to do it successfully last year, why it did not work this time?

See my past year’s challenge:

Last Month’s recap:

There are a few ways to rationalize it this time;

  • Things are much more expensive then last year (basic food, gas prices, basic necessities)
  • Kids are growing up
  • I am bit sick and tired, eating a few take outs or convenient food, last year I cooked at home.
  • A few doctors visit, unexpected long driving trips to meet someone far away
  • My Van’s smog test has to be done this month
  • I simply did not have motivation as last year
  • Could I have done better? Yes, some things I had control over it, yet I blew it. I guess to err is human.

My Take Away For this Challenge This time:

  1. Prepare for Emergency: There is a reason why, all finance experts recommend keeping a healthy amount for emergency fund. This time, it became true for us. When it rained, it poured. We had all sort of unexpected expenses this month. A couple of doctor’s visit for me, extra driving, our water heater braking (we tried to self fix it, but it needed be replaced and it is expensive), our computer router stopped working and we use internet a lot for blogging, reading, kids school and educational stuff and that needs to be replaced, our 1 fan in summer is making noise and other one is giving burning smell to replace it. Our fence has fallen off in one area. Since I was not feeling well, we had take out a few times, adding to our expenses.
  2. Pick and Choose: When we have lot of expenses and limited funds, we can not fix and do everything. So, if you are in similar situation, pick and choose what is important and fix only that. In our case router, water heater is more important then let’s say fixing the fence for now.
  3. Take care of your health: I am reminded again and again that without proper health, rich and poor alike are vulnerable. If we are feeling better, positive and energetic, it will be easier to tackle new challenges and form a better habits. So take care of your health.
  4. Thought counts: Sometimes with all of our good intention, things does not go as plan. When that happens, take responsibility but move on and see positive. I am bit bummed out about busting my $300.00 budget but I am not going to let that keep me from other challenges my life and I am crazy enough to do it publicly again. 🙂
  5. It is easier to spend: And harder to save. If it was other way around, many of us would not be in debt or situation. While we are lucky not have major debt, still it can be harder sometimes when we live in society where money spending and credit cards are norm. Many have almost become unsocial people because being social with friends meant always going out to eat, movies and doing things that cost money. No one needs to be friendless, there are always people like us out there, we just need to find them and get supported by like minded people.
  6. Learned lesson: Life is constant learning journey, and there is something to learn at every mode. I am taking a note to see what could I have done to do better and I know some of the answers as I shared above. If you are in similar situation, do not beat on yourself, find reasons and learn lesson so we can improve upon it. Like The story goes that “Thomas Edison failed more than 1,000 times when trying to create the light bulb”. (The story is often told as 5,000 or 10,000 times depending on the version.) When asked about it, Edison allegedly said, “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.” We can always find ways to spin it positively.

My positive spin is; even though I went over budget, luckily I had savings to cover my unexpected expenses or manage it until next month.

I am glad to fail as I might have gotten over confident, if I successfully complete the 2 challenges in row. This has made me humble for all of those blogger and real life people, who go on saving challenges and work hard.

Thank you to all who supported me online and offline on my no spend month journey! I have some great ideas for next blog posts which I need to work on; while musing over my this month’s challenge. Hope you’ll had a great July.

Image source: thejourneyfortruth.wordpress.com

No Spend Month Challenge: Update 4

I am going to make small update this time. I am doing no spend month challenge for the month of July. Actually it should be called “little spend month”, as we have a budget of $300.

4 people

31 days

$300.00

We are in California, Where gas prices and some things are expensive compared to other places. Last year, the challenge was tough and we barely made it under $300. This time it seemed hard but I was ready for it.

Now, I am honest enough to update that I have busted our budget already and there are still 6 more days left in the month. Since last month I had little over $30 left for the rest of the month: See update 3.

We had to buy some perishable groceries such as yogurt, vegetables and things it came over $32 and we had to buy some soap and shampoo as we were out, (last time we bought was months ago, it just happened that we ran out in time of no spend month challenge. While we could have managed somehow but with about 2 weeks still left and with kids, we went and bought cheapest thing.)

We usually do not fill our cars with gas or stock up groceries before the challenge, otherwise it would just defeat the purpose. Like’s murphy’s law, anything can go wrong will go wrong, has happened a bit this time.

So now we are already over $300 budget and there are still about a week left. So, I have failed at this month’s challenge. There are just a few unexpected expenses such as car smog and extra driving, and some other reasons. I can justify in my mind all the reasons, we went over budget, but the fact remains that we did over spent of our $300 budget. I feel bit let down but I wanted to write honestly as I can.

Things happens and that is why we all should have emergency fund to cover those unexpected things in life. One thing is there, being aware of why we spend money and what things, keeps me accountable here, when I write and share here, even my triumphs or failures.

Hope all of you are spending less and saving up for emergency fund. Take care.

See final Take Away Update on No Spend Month Challenge

 

No Spend Month -July 2011: Update 3

I am half way through the No Spend Month challenge and I could tell so far that is going to be much more challenging. We have lot of things going on, including guests, driving more and so on. But, since I took up the challenge, I am going to report and make a best out of it.

A Few Problems:

There were some unexpected expenses and unforeseen travel (driving) that occurred, so obviously there are some expenses that are out of ordinary. One of them was having my car smog that I had to get it done this month only and I had to find the cheapest place to get it done. While luckily, my van did not need any repair, smog test had to be done and paid for it.

Money We Spent This Week:

I also had some health issues and blood work done but medical expenses and educational expense are not part of $300 budget. I am seeing how easy it is to spend money vs. saving or making money.

Smog test: $50.20

Gas: 97.25 (we had to travel far distance due to visiting a sick friend, so we used up more gas)

Snacks and coffee: $15.73 (We usually carry snacks with us but while we were out we had to buy some hot snacks for kids and coffee for us in day outing)

Making total of $163.18 for this week.  Luckily, we did not had to buy groceries this week, as we are using up what we have in fridge and pantry so far. Soon, we will need to buy milk, yogurt and other perishable items coming week.

I have total spent $268.21 from July 1st-July 17th.  That only means that I have only $31.79 left for 2 weeks, which seems very tough to do but I am sure going to try to make it.

Possible Reasons: Justification for Myself:

There are a few things that are coming in obstacle for my well meaning no spend experience since last time.

  • I feel bit alone in this time around somehow.
  • Prices of food and gas have increased much more since last year.
  • I have been sick (feeling tired, dizzy and so on) to leave much energy to put on life as I did last year.
  • There are unexpected expenses as always beyond my control.
  • I am lacking motivation myself right now.
  • I have been saving money all my life, and when zenguy was without job for 22 months until recently, I did even more drastic savings to survive. I might be all frugaled out!
  • Kids are growing and keeping me busy to rest, and my health does not help. I am blogging, commenting less because of that and it has effect on my blog comments as well.

One of the big reason is I lack energy to keep struggling to save, to be better. I am tired as I have 2 busy little boys and I hardly get much time to do anything proper for me. Even though Zenguy has a project/job now, we are still feeling the effect of the no income for so long, we are still paying off late payments, installments now that I feel like, I am taking small buckets of water out of water of ocean, it seems futile.

Not Giving Up: Looking for Positives

I guess I need to read up a few of my own post on overwhelming and find my groove back. I think even if I do not make this challenge, I want to be honest with myself here and try making it without giving up. As giving up would be much easier right now but I am bit stubborn to choose path that is not the easiest.

Your Turn:

How about you? How are you doing on your financial goal regardless of no spend month challenge, we all have some money goals for kids, future right?

If you want to know more about No Spend month and how badly I am doing, check out past articles;

No Spend Month Challenge: Update 2 and Savings Tips

This month I am doing an No Spend Month challenge, where our family of 4 will try to fit budget under $300 for the 31 days for daily expenses.

To see Past update click on links below:

No Month Spend Challenge

No Month Spend Challenge: Update 1

Our family usually lives pretty much every month like this, living on less and spending less but this month I am making a public account of our expenses. Only difference is this month I have to make sure and remind myself to stay under budget to make sure, as some other months, some unexpected expenses and emergency situations makes our expenditure higher. For example, we had to replace water heater last month and so on. Sometimes there might be an other situation such as health and family situation that might cause to spend more than our budget.

Last week, we spend about $80 or so, on gas, and groceries for home, everything we needed. We did NOT pre-fill gas in cars or stock up on groceries to make it easy.

This time we did much better, we spent total of $24.65 for following items, food, sand toys and 2 used books.

Week 1 Spending: $80.38

Week 2 Spending: $24.65

Total for Jul1-July10th =$105. 03

That leave us about $195 (little less) for remainder of the month.

One of the major expenses that many of us have is eating (groceries, eating out) and gas for cars. Here are a few ways to save money for those who want to save. There are a few people who have plenty, than you can spend and save you like.

Ways to save money in Gas

1. Drive less

2. Carpool with others

3. Combine errands together

4. Walk to nearby places, instead of driving

5. Fill gas at costco or cheaper gas station

6. Fill gas in morning

Ways to Save Money Buying Groceries

1. Check your pantry, stocks before going shopping

2. Never shop hungry

3. Use coupons (double or matching coupons will even help better)

4. Make a list before you go and stick to the grocery list

5. Buy generic brands

6. Watch cash register for any possible price mistakes (it happens)

7. Use in store coupons with manufacture coupons (see #3)

8. Do not buy non grocery items at grocery store.

How do you save money in Groceries? Are you saving money towards retirement, emergency?

No Spend Month Challenge: July 2011- Update 1

I am doing No Spend Month Challenge for Month of July or I should say an No Spend Month Experience as I have no idea how it is going to go. Last year I have done this challenge and I was fun challenge but it was not easy.

We are living in Northern California, where many things have gone up in prices, such as rice, milk, gas prices and all. Kids are one year older, while Zenguy has a project, I still do not make money. I was making little money (like few bucks on book sales via amazon, that is gone now, thanks to new California Tax law and amazon’s decision).

Anyways, I am up for challenge; Here it is in nut shell;

4 People

31 days

$300.00

If you want to see what is included in budget and what is not and to see previous year’s recap, you can see here by clicking: No Spend Month Challenge 2011.

Spending Update: (July 1- July 4th)

Remember, we did not stock up on any milk, groceries or gas.

We also had to replace water heater but the work was started in end of June, so it will be not part of July Budget. Otherwise, we would have busted our budget.

Trader Joe’s: 24.29

Gas for Hybrid car: $37.23

Vegetables, Fruits: $18.86

Total Spent: $80.38

This does not look great, as we spent almost 1/3 of budget in 4 days, without going out in any trip. I guess I have to be careful for next 27 days.

This challenge is much more then about saving money, it is about using up what we already have in fridge, in pantry. It is about finding creative ways to live and have fun without breaking wallet.

There are still lot of people hurting in bad economy and they are forced to live in “no spend month”, every month. I feel still lucky to cut budget because I choose to and still help others as helping others, charity and educational stuff is not going to be part of $300.00 budget.

How are you saving money this month?

 

Zengirl

Image source: diaryofasmartchick.com