You guys all know that we are still working on our savings challenge on steroids to save $14,000 in one year. But I think I forgot to mention that we are doing this challenge times two, which means at the end of the year we will have $28,000 CASH. This takes sooooooooooooo much discipline, but while we watch the money pile up, it doesn’t sting as bad. We have decided to share some of the ways we have been saving.
The first thing we did was take a look at our budget to see where we were spending all of our money. And guess where most of it went? FOOD! We are huge foodies and love to go out to eat, so that was the first thing that we had to cut. We actually have to plan our meals and go to the grocery store with an actual list of what we need and would not spend a penny over.
We also learned to use up our left overs by either having them for lunch the next day, or for dinner the next evening. Taking lunch to work is a huge money saver. We could easily waste $20 in just a day at work by having Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, order out with co-workers for lunch, then pick up some junk food on the way home. That had to be cut.
We even planned for those “I don’t feel like cooking” nights. Normally we would like to order Dominoes, go to Popeyes, or go out but the same thing that we would get from there, we would just make at home and we found out we like how we make it better. Instead of ordering Dominos, We grab those huge XL pizzas from Walmart. They are normally about $5.99, we bring it home, doctor it up and pop it in the oven and that will be our Dominoes. Below is what they look like.
We purchased Netflix because we CAN live without cable. For some reason we find ourselves watching DVDs and old TV shows on Netflix and never watching the cable. The only real television channel we like is HGTV. The wife lives on that channel and Grandma has OWN so we watch that. I watch everything else and I mean EVERYTHING else on Youtube or the internet because I am always at work.
Maine took a hit for the team by not getting her nails done. She normally would spend about $30 every two weeks plus a tip. That was $60 per month she sacrificed to put towards savings.
Me personally, I am the Amazon Don lol! So I love to get my music, CDs, DVDs, and whatever else I can find, so I had to cut back on that. I’ll give the mic to the wife and she can share some other things we did to save.
So back in January, we did the Daniel fast for 21 days and during that I time I did a 21 day financial fast as well. I was inspired by Michelle Singletary who wrote the book. I learned so much from just hearing her speak. The book was sold out when I went to buy it. It’s my next read because I know she gets deep when it comes to saving and finances.
What is the 21 day financial fast? I’m glad you asked. It’s when you buy all of the things you NEED and NOTHING that you want. So on the fast I was not allowed to purchase anything unnecessary.
During the financial fast, I paid rent, bills, and got groceries only. I couldn’t go to the mall, movie theater, or eat out. During this 21 day fast, I looked over my receipts and bank statements to see where the unnecessary spending was. And like Jim said, it was on FOOD. And also on handbags, shoes, Walmart and other foolishness. Our life is so full of just stuff! My husband bought me a shoe rack and built it for me. He said, Babe you should be good with this for a while because it can hold 50 pairs. I filled that bad boy up in about 10 minutes lol and was still bringing boxes in. All Jim could do was just shake his head. Here’s a photo of it below.
So during the fast, I had to ask myself, Is this item a need or a want. If you ask yourself this question every time, you’ll have more money in your pocket. I absolutely looooooove bargain shopping and sales but that is still SPENDING. It’s spending less but it’s still spending. It was really about my mindset and you have to change your mindset about your money. Let’s check out what the Word says!
Proverbs 13:18 says, Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. NIV
You have to have a budget; there is just no way around this. Your budget will let you know what you can do with your money. One thing I knew I couldn’t do was go to the mall. I couldn’t hang out there or window shop cause I knew I was going to SPEND on something. It’s so crazy that the food court is the largest section in the mall. We shouldn’t even be shopping so hard that we need nourishment anyway!!! Look at how big the food court is in this picture.
Don’t give up on your budget because it’s important to know the numbers. This will allow you to save money in categories. We decided to have some put away/ rainy day cash that we can’t touch, 3 to 6 months of living expenses in our emergency fund, as well as a life happens fund. This is money that comes in and out for car expenses, repairs and things like that.
When changing your mindset about your money, it’s okay to be cheap! Benjamin Franklin has this quote,
Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
Those small expenses definitely add up. For example, there is a Dunkin Donuts directly across the street from my job. We would have it every single day. And not just a coffee. We would have a coffee, bagel, donuts. The average meal would be about $6. If you multiply just that little breakfast times 5 days, I’ve already wasted $30 in the week and that is just on breakfast. That does NOT include what I would waste on Taco Bell and Chick-fil-a. I easily wasted $60 or $70 on extra food. I stopped getting my nails done. I was a faithful customer every two weeks, but I paid myself an extra $30 every two weeks back in my budget. That’s over $100 in a week that I have already wasted. This is why it’s so important to know the numbers.
Even as we save; it’s not to get rich and accumulate MORE STUFF, but to be prosperous for a purpose. Let’s take a look at Genesis 41 at Joseph. Joseph and his brothers is my all time favorite story in the Bible. I’ve been in church all my life so usually when a message is taught on Joseph, it is about forgiveness and following your dreams. But if you look really closely at the scripture, you’ll see there is some financial wisdom in this text.
So basically, there was going to be 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine. During the years of plenty, Joseph stored up so much grain that he had to stop keeping record because it was too much to measure. So when the famine came, he opened all the store houses and sold the grain to the Egyptians. He had EXTRA! Somebody say EXTRA!
Do we have “extra” to help someone that’s in need? That’s what being prosperous is all about. Jim and I received a blessing of someone’s “extra“! When we actually announced that we were getting married, we had 90 days to plan our wedding and not a clue what we were going to do. But the Lord blessed us with our own special BIG SISTER, Tawana Durante! She used her extra to gift us a dream wedding and our lives will NEVER be the same because of her. She taught us how the importance of using your extra to bless someone and now we are going to use our extra to bless others.
Back to the Word! Proverbs 22:3 says, A prudent person forsees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers consequences.
Now we don’t have anything against credits cards at all. We don’t believe they are evil or anything crazy like that, WE just don’t have any at the moment because we don’t want to be tempted to get into debt. We pay for everything with cash and we refuse to purchase anything we can not afford. Just be lead by the Lord and don’t come for us about them credit cards LOL!
We had been getting these credit card applications in the mail every day lately because we use a cash system, but we had to learn to beware that the same tricks the casinos use, credit card lenders use too.
Casinos use flashing lights to get you to play and make you think you can win, while credit card flashing lights are in the form of rewards points.
Casinos use chips so you are unaware of how much you’re spending, while credit card lenders use plastic.
If you take out any denomination of money right now, whether it be a quarter, a dollar, or a $50 bill, if you check the back of it, it would say, “In God We Trust.” I don’t have an issue with credit cards or debit cards, but neither of them say that on the back. If God entrusted me with a $50 bill, then that is all I can spend when I go to the grocery store. But if I were to use a credit card or even a debit card, I can go to the store and know I only have $50 to spend, but I take $60 worth of groceries home and may have even over drafted. Living within our means is so important, as well as buying what we can afford.
Proverbs 10:22 says, The blessings of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. You have to redefine what rich is. What is YOUR rich? We may not think we are rich, but most of us can say we have access to a clean glass of water, a roof over our head, can eat what we want, and have a job. We don’t have more because we aren’t grateful for what we do have. This is why we have to transform our mindset about our money.
Let’s transform our thinking in terms of OUR money and live the abundant life. Time to build wealth so Keep Calm and Save Some Money! Be blessed!
Love You Always,
Jim & Maine