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Taming our Inner Child: aka I WANT THAT!

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Much like dieting – when it comes to budgeting and sticking to it, all of a sudden we are much more aware of all the things we CAN’T HAVE.

In the first few weeks of our new budgeting lifestyle we had to go through ‘withdrawl’ and close examination of things we NEEDED and things we WANTED (more on this topic infuture posts).

I clearly remember avoiding entering any malls or going to places where I would either “have to” spend money or want to.

This is very hard and as the months go by and I become more ‘relaxed’, I find myself spending money on things I really shouldn’t.

The best example of this are the daily coupon deals.

Food coupons are great – unless you weren’t going to buy the product in the first place. If you’re just buying because it’s on sale and would’t have bought it otherwise it’s not really saving is it? I argue this point many times with a certain family member (you know who you are dad) but some people like to feel they are getting a bargain when in fact they are spending money needlessly.

As for the all vacation, gadget, electronics, toys and so on ‘daily deals’ – There was a point where I would browse them daily and be very tempted to make some purchases. Sometimes I did and later regretted it. Now I make a list of all the things I wanted and didn’t buy as a way of ‘documenting’ how much money I “saved” by not purchasing it and feeling GREAT about it.

I once read an article on ‘impulse buying’ and basically how sucessful it is when there is a sense of urgency. For instance when you see an sales ad for something you want and you see the original price crossed out and the selling price much lower and the words ‘for a limited time only’ or something of that nature, there’s something in our brain that triggers ‘I must get this now before the price goes up again!!!!’ I know I feel this way sometimes and I always have to fight the urge. Truth is 9 out of 10 times the ‘special sale price’ remains for many more months, if not permenantly, and I laugh and congratulate myself for overcoming my inner child.

I would love to hear how do you conqure yours?



Budgeting: Fan vs. Air Con. vs. Both

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Every Summer I wished we had ceiling fans instead of running the air con endlessly.

This year I decided to pay the initial large sum of purchasing these fans and installing them, in hope that by next summer they would have paid off with lower electricity bills.

Unfortunately so far, not only is the air con still running, we now have both running at the same time.

I blame this on terrible insulation and building contruction. Our apartment traps heat and doesn’t let it go, so even though it’s cool in the evening, the day’s heat and humidity lingers in the air and other than sitting still and not moving at all (which is the only way to feel the affect of the fan when it’s so stuffy otherwise) we need to run the air con as well (as housework, eventually, does need to be done).

We do however “save” while we sleep by running just the fans and also not waking up with scratchy throats due to sleeping with the air con all night. Hopefully as the air gets a bit cooler at night the fans will pay off as well.

I would love to hear from you – what you do to keep cool during the Summer?


Family Budgeting: Sink your Teeth into This

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Back (ok not so far back) in the day when I was super strict about the budget I would delay the need to pay for things that required more immediate attention. Mainly the care of my teeth.

BIG mistake. Sometimes when you’re trying to reach a financial goal and want to do everything you can to minimize expenses, you may end up paying more (much more) for it later.

Behavioural psychology studies found that people usually forgo payment of large sums despite it paying off in the long run, and would rather pay a larger sum later on if it meant that in the immidiate future they did not have to make any payment (more on that – Budgeting: Fan vs. Air Con. vs. Both).

Same goes for any car maintenance work that needs to be done (that we put off for the sake of the budget).

So when prioritizing your budget please be sure to keep this in mind. While life is full of surprises, this doesnt need to be one of them.

Family Budgeting: More is…More

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When I first did my budget I discovered that not only was I spending way too much in certain areas, but that in total I was putting myself in debt more and more each month. As I already mentioned the income needs to be as much if not more than our expenses.

After reducing where I could I found that I still came up short. There was no where else to “trim” from and I needed to find a way to cover it.

What to do????

And so I was put to the task of finding “extra” income. It would not be easy and would require working MORE hours than I had energy for, but for the immediate goal I was trying to reach it needed to be done.

Finding that extra income can require some creativness. I, for instance, relied on my bi-lingual skills to do some side translation work, which didn’t make me millions but here and there provided much needed “relief” for little extra expenses that came our way.

I heard a story of a man greatly in debt, who had sleepless nights thinking about his finances, and was advised that since he wasn’t sleeping anyway, perhaps he should try delivering fresh bread and milk as a service. Not only was this a way as earning extra income, turns out it was so successful his business grew so much he ended up hiring staff for deliveries and now runs it successfully.

Perhaps you have a skill that you can put to use as a way of earning some extra money. Perhaps you can draw or write well – think about how you can use that to make some extra cash. All ideas are welcome and I would love to hear them so please comment below!

So as you can see – more money is…more income – the more you make the faster you can reduce your debt and start planning ahead.

Vote for Me :)

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For the Circle of Mom’s Top 25 Money Saving Moms – 2012

your support is appreciated. Please don’t forget you can vote once a day – thanks!

Don’t Buy Me!

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As we are coming up on a weekend I thought I would give some tips on saving in the food department. If you are like me, living in a country with barely or no food coupons then here are some tips for saving at the supermarket – sometimes it’s what you DON’T buy.

  1. Bring and stick to shopping list only – money saved: 20% of your total bill!
  2. Bypass the cereal section. Most cereals are NOT healthy for you and rarely keep you going until Lunch or even snack time. Think ahead of time what you are going to give your family for breakfast that would be filling and nurishing. I usually opt for baking whole wheat fiber enriched muffins (with chocolate chips to get the kids to eat them).
  3. Fruits & Veggies: True they are healthy but most chances you’re not going to eat everything you buy, don’t buy for more than a week’s worth of consumption.
  4. Sodas: full of sugar and calories, plus they damage teeth so really the savings value is higher if you count it towards dentist bills.
  5. Bread: If the fancy bread you like is on sale, buy 2 and freeze one. If it’s not on sale try to find another one you can live with that is cheaper, trust me it’s not the end of the world.
  6. Frozen foods: pizzas – waste of money, they are not as good as pizzerias, though they are half the price. Learn to make pizza dough, it’s really not that hard, and chances it will be much healthier and filling. Frozen foods: vegetables. While there are some that you can only find frozen, fresh is usually cheaper. Buy only if on sale for really good savings. 
  7. Frozen foods: soy products – while they are convenient quick meals for the kids and as a snack, they really aren’t worth the price tag. Money saved: 34 NIS.
  8. Cheeses: skip the fancy cheeses and buy what you know you will need. Always good to buy extra pack and freeze in case of emergency. Sliced cheese is ALWAYS much cheaper behind the counter than on the aisle stands, same goes for cream cheese.
  9. Oatmeal: I found that oatmeal at health food/spice stores is much cheaper. At supermarket it sells for about 7 NIS for 500gr. At health food store sells for 7 for 1 kg.
  10. Cookies & Cakes: truth is that most of us could benefit not to consume these amazing comfort foods but if you’re already going to do it, opt for making one yourself. There are plenty of easy one bowl mixing recipes that can make several cakes for the price of one store bought one. 

So you see there are many ways you can save money that don’t require you to give up on your favorite snack or hop around from supermarket to supermarket to get the lowest price possible for each item.

Family Budgeting: Don’t Lose your Cool

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Budgeting and keeping on top of finances can be very tiring. I’ve been doing it for a year and a half and I find myself slipping and not accounting for every cent. Sometimes I feel like Scruge McDuck and I am sure my spouse agrees…

I used to check on a weekly basis how we were doing budget wise and would try and adjust accordingly. This was especially hard towards the end of the month when I saw were very close to going over (or actually going over) our set goals and would panic.

However as the month came to a close I saw that things balanced themselves out. If we spent more than budgeted on food then in other areas we spent less then budgeted and somehow it all evened out.

The most important thing is to keep on going even if it may seem that “this will never/is not working” – it can and it will because you now have control.

stay tuned for “Family Budgeting: More is…More”