What did you do to improve your finances today?

This was one of my favourite threads on the old forum, and since there doesn't seem to be one here yet, I thought I'd create one :-)
 

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  • I was wish-farming a glider chair for my son last month and had almost saved enough to buy a new one.  Then I found a barely used glider for sale a few miles away for 20% of the price of the one I was saving for.  Turns out the glider is a much nicer model than the one I had originally picked out too!  New to us rocker for a steal, plus a good chunk of change went back into TBB.  

    Reply Like 9
    • Peter
    • Professional Designer, Web Developer
    • lasty
    • 7 mths ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    I had stakes in my old bank from way back in the day, that don't bring the dividends they once did. so I cancelled that to reclaim a few hundred bucks after the end of the year. This allowed me to also cancel my savings account that I don't use and that was only used for depositing the dividends.
    I'm finally free from my old bank and I'm going to forget about that money I'm going to get to make for some nice surprise windfall in January.

    Reply Like 2
  • I recognised that although I take my summer holidays in July, I pay for them in March / April. Meaning that my plan of having £x by the end of June is a dud and needs a rethink.

    Baby steps! :)

    Reply Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g 

      This was me at the beginning of the year, when I started YNAB.  "Oh, I have 5 months to accumulate the money I need to pay for camp this year!"  Ignoring entirely that when I've waited until the last minute, ie beginning of June, there are no camps available that my kids want to do.  In point of fact, I need to have the money in April.  Now.  Which I only realized about a week ago when I was looking at camps and remembering how it's always been better to do that the earliest I can, leading me to need to raid allocations to other categories since I didn't have a spare couple hundred TBB. 

      On the plus side, next year I'll have longer to save and a lot of money will be available for other things instead of camp.  The only saving grace has been that a couple camps only require a deposit now and payment in full 2 weeks before, therefore I have been able to shunt several hundred dollars until next month. 

      In point of fact, you just made me realize that my calculations of how much I'd need to save per month for camps next year were off because I'll only have June-April to save, since next month I'll still be paying for this year's camps and I'll still need the money by April if I want to PIF.  Dang it.  

      Reply Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah Glad you're making progress on setting up savings goals! My kids are not on here to comment, but we've had t think outside the box for camps. Daughter wanted to go Leadership Camp advertised (thru the teacher selecting her) from school. That was around $3,000. Not anywhere in our budget for a 1 week camp! The next couple of years we looked around and found Girl's State (there's a Boys State too). It "cost" about $200. There was an application process and needed teacher references. However, it was all worth it. I feel the quality of Girl's State was 1000% better than any other leadership camp. Another time, the oldest two wanted to go camp and again many options were too expensive. However, there was FFA camp. The only problem, they were not in FFA in high school. That's okay, they do not turn you away. We had to join something related to FFA as a family, cost about $25 for the year. Again, a good camp, lots of friends, our children just happen to come from the city and they all came from farms. Lastly, they've gone to local colleges for free or low cost day camps.

      Reply Like 1
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah Yep, I'm with you. Currently I'm shuffling funds about all over the place to cover deposits. Sigh.

      I think after one year with YNAB (which will be September) I'll have all the numbers of what these things actually cost me, and I will revisit all my goals again. I was already able to make the Christmas one more realistic after Christmas actually came and went and I'm actually really looking forward to being able to budget more accurately for summer holidays, camps and so on next time.

      Ha ha, if the old me had said the words 'budget more accurately' out loud the world would have actually ended!!

      Reply Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben Khaki Storm 

      Since people are so cautious about leaving kids unattended now in my area, there are very few camps that are free since camp workers need to be paid.  Most parents both work, it's a high cost of living area, and not everyone has family that can provide supervision.  Low cost day camp around here is about $200 for a week of day camp that I've found, they largely run $350 on up per week.  

      Reply Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah All the ones I was thinking about have adult supervision, none were unattended. I'm sorry to hear your area doesn't have any free ones. One we sent our daughter to was from a community college on CSI. Each day they did CSI like experiments in the college labs. 

      Reply Like
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah I've never heard of free camp for kids either. The city-based all-day camp is $155/week for residents, $135/week for siblings, so we've been doing that. This year though, the oldest is aging out, so they'll both be home all summer. I work from home, so they will be supervised, but I foresee way wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much TV and devices this summer.

      Reply Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      xgirlmama 

      Camp is a break for me but largely is to keep the kids away from one another.  My oldest is on the spectrum and needs more quiet time than being home with his siblings would allow because they make so much noise.  So it's to help manage stress levels all around.  So I'm planning on sending at least my youngest for as long as I can unless the kids are suddenly better able to tolerate long term togetherness.  That day is not today, and it's not going to be this year, either.  So, camp category!  And by the time that they're not doing camp, I fully expect they'll have picked up other activities which may very well be more expensive than camp.    

      Reply Like
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah Don't get me wrong, camp is GREAT! My younger one would hate me if her sister got to stay home all summer and only she had to go though. Boooo. Luckily, I work from home, so there is supervision

      Reply Like
  • I used a service called Trim to negotiate my Cox internet bill on my behalf, and they were able to reduce it from $108 to $85. They take 25% of the annual saving that they're charging me now, so it's a bit more this month but the saving is welcome for the next 12 months. 

    I also got a sizable return on my taxes that I've applied to my Emergency fund and several true expense categories that I had to ignore for the past few months. 

    Reply Like
    • QC
    • HaplessFinanceProfessional
    • Queenofcoin
    • 7 mths ago
    • 11
    • Reported - view

    This month is Insurance renewal time!  My pet insurance leapt up 25%.  I spend 20 minutes comparing policies and saved $600.

    My phones handset charges have finally been paid in full so whilst no actual effort was expended, I'll be 'saving' $30 a month (but actually using it to fund my Phone Replacement category).

    I quit smoking this month.  Although the cost to do that was just over a month's worth of cigarettes, my Stop Smoking app tells me that in $10 days I've saved $127.59.  I plan to use these savings as weekly rewards for the first month but annual savings are around $4.5k which was a big motivator for quitting.

    Reply Like 11
      • Violet Drill
      • Violet_Drill_0bf6fcf19d
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      QC Congratulations on quitting smoking!

      Reply Like 3
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      QC 

      I've long said I couldn't afford to smoke and you've confirmed it.  Wow!  Think of the positive changes to your future health and budget that a choice now (and really, every day) will make.  If you can afford to divert half of your smokes budget to retirement or other long-term betterment goals, you'll be in a much better place later on!  

      Reply Like 1
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah TBH affording it is easy but I have other things I’d rather spend the money on now.  And of course there are significant health and social benefits which make choosing to quit much more appealing than all the reasons I had for smoking. :)

      Reply Like 3
    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 7 mths ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    Not directly finance related, but helping me become more organized which should help my budget in roundabout ways:

    I finally loaded up and logged into the Chaos Control Web App and got my random sticky notes all put into proper tasks.  I used the App extensively when I was finishing school, but have been really bad about it since then.  Having the Web App pulled up on my PCs will help remind me to actually take care of things on my list (and maybe help me get back into the habit of using the App as well when I'm out and about) and to get things more organized in general.

    Reply Like 4
  • I signed up to be a part-time travel associate. Announced it on Monday and I am already planning two vacations.

    Reply Like 7
  • My husband was rear ended last September and his car was a total loss.  The driver who hit him was on a suspended license and didn't have insurance.  Our claim was ultimately paid out by our insurance company under our uninsured motorist coverage.  However, rather than rely on our insurance company to go after the driver for damages, I took to the internet and found I could file a report with the Department of Transportation in Illinois where the accident happened.  Their Accident Report Office did a search on the VIN of the vehicle and found it was owned by someone other than the driver and that it was covered by  Allstate at the time of the accident.  Allstate reach out to my hubby this week and they already reimbursed us for my his lost wages and out of pocket medical costs!  $878 hit our account today and we will ultimately be reimbursed for our $1,000 deductible as well once they square up with our insurance company.   So thankful!

    Reply Like 9
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Whiskey Mama 

      what a huge help!  But who would let someone with a suspended license drive their car?!

      Reply Like 1
    • Technicolor Cheetah I wondered the same thing, but then again, maybe they didn't know....

      Reply Like 1
    • Peter
    • Professional Designer, Web Developer
    • lasty
    • 7 mths ago
    • 8
    • Reported - view

    While deleting data from my Google account I found 60€ in AdSense from years ago . That's below the regular payout limit but closing AdSense has a different payout limit so I'll get the money within the next 90 days.

    Reply Like 8
  • Because I’m not scared of my bank account anymore, but check it regularly to do my manual update, I spotted I hadn’t been paid yet for some freelance work I did.

    On further investigation, all those emails that came in included instructions for how I have to crank the handle on the client purchase order system.

    £500 now on its way.  :)

    Reply Like 9
  • I set up my daughters (12 and 13yo) with their own budgets on my YNAB. How does this help MY finances? Well, now when they want something, I can tell them to check their budgets about whether they can afford it. My old mindset was "buy them all the things when they want all the things," which obviously costs me money. Now they're motivated to get little jobs in the neighborhood so they can have more $ to budget. Also, in the long run, if they don't grow up with the "head in the sand" mentality about finances like I did, I will hopefully not have to bail them out when they're adults. 

    Reply Like 5
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      xgirlmama Great work on getting your kids on board. And how differently they feel about spending their own money rather than yours!

      My son (9) has his own YNAB budget and online ‘banking’ (really a practice thing controlled by me) called GoHenry. Between these two he’s becoming quite savvy about money. Win. 😀

      Reply Like 3
    • xgirlmama I love this! Have they brainstormed any ideas yet? Looking forward to hearing what they come up with. We have a few neighborhood kids that do lemonade, baked goods and even sell their crafts during summer vacation, and it's the best.

      Reply Like
    • xgirlmama This is awesome!  I didn't come to know YNAB until my girls were older but I have managed to convert 1 of the 3 and she's doing awesome with her finances.  The one thing we did do right when it came to spending is that when we went on vacation, we gave the kids their spending money at the beginning.  That way they could buy whatever they wanted and didn't beg for stuff at every stop.  Great job mama!!

      Reply Like 1
    • xgirlmama Excellent! Especially setting girls up to be financially aware - a big problem in the financial books I've been reading. Girl power! :)

      Reply Like
  • We finally got to a point where we were keeping too much money in our checking account to feel comfortable, so we opened a savings and transferred $5,000 into it today.  It doesn't pay much interest but every little bit counts and we feel safer knowing that money is not linked to any type of debit or ATM card.  We also learned that we qualified for the next level up checking account and will now be earning interest on that account as well.  Yay for small victories :)

    Reply Like 5
  • A tradesman backed into our car parked on the street at the beginning of the month.  The owner of the company offered us cash to fix it so the accident wouldn't go on his insurance as it was only a little more than the deductible.  We took the money, didn't fix it, and sold the car (we were thinking to sell it before that happened).  Didn't get much but spouse had wanted to donate it before all this happened.  Altogether, we got $900 and change, which is way more than $0!  Every penny has gone to the vehicle replacement fund.  

    I cancelled the insurance policy on the car before I had to renew it next month ($185 for that car).  I also won't have to pay the various state and county fees on that car which were due soon (between $25 and $50).  Plus it needed gas before we sold it, so I saved about $40 right there!  

    I received and cashed our Costco member rewards check.  

    Spousal unit switched several monthly subscriptions into coming out of his fun money account.  Those totaled between $25 and $40 per month as they were variable.  That's more than $300 a year that can go to something else.  

    We took a trip and visited family.  The hotel was paid using points and our family refused our money when we tried to reimburse them for all the groceries, food, and meals they paid for.  The trip came well under budget instead of over (they have really good micro breweries there that we can't get here so they paid for the beer we were stocking up on).  Plus we were invited back!  Not always a guarantee considering that we have very noisy, sometimes difficult children.

    Reply Like 7
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Put in the request for a refund on the remainder of registration fees for the car we sold.  There were 18 months left until it expired.   

      Reply Like 3
    • Peter
    • Professional Designer, Web Developer
    • lasty
    • 7 mths ago
    • 7
    • Reported - view

    Today I budgeted most of the money from my monthly paycheck for the upcoming month. I can already see that the rent payments of my housemates that will arrive on my account until the end of this month will cover the remaining underfunded categories. Tiny steps

    Reply Like 7
      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Peter Nice!

      Reply Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Peter congrats! 

      Reply Like 1
  • I 'corrected' my use of my credit card float so now my card is truly PIF and will stay that way going forward. 

    Reply Like 9
  • I received a notification that a tech subscription I renew every 2 years (for dynamic DNS) was up in May. I decided to wait until next month to pay even though there was money in the category... which gave me time to realise I don't use this as heavily as I used to and can probably switch over to a free service. I just did that in about 15 minutes. US$50/year saved.

    Reply Like 9
  • Tiny win: I got an email from Apple today about an annual fitness app I subscribed to being up for autorenew.  First i kicked myself for a second for not including that in my True Expenses.  Then I remembered that I haven't actually used it in a few months because I've been going to the gym more.  So I just canceled it!  It's only $40 a year, but being more aware of my finances stopped this from being a surprise and turned it into an opportunity to save a little cash!

    Reply Like 10
    • Peter
    • Professional Designer, Web Developer
    • lasty
    • 7 mths ago
    • 8
    • Reported - view

    I've signaled that I'd like to increase my contribution to my bAV (our equivalent to a 401k) by 25% and they'll get back to me soon. Since I'm now out of debt I can deal with a slightly slower growth of my budget categories for the sake of a better retirement arrangement

    Reply Like 8
    • Coral Pony
    • If nothing goes right - go left
    • Coral_Pony.6
    • 7 mths ago
    • 9
    • Reported - view

    I didn't spend any money, and dinner is left overs.

    Reply Like 9
  • With today's paycheck, I finished May's budget, and with the two paychecks left in May, we will be fully buffered and able to finish June's budget with money earned this month.  I've still not decreased our monthly goals total to two paychecks which is where I want to be so I don't need any other income or the third paycheck on 3 paycheck months (Nov. 2019!) to stay buffered.  Right now we do have several hundred dollars income extra income a month but I don't want to depend on it as it could go away.

    So it's not exactly saving money, but as they say, scarcity breeds clarity.  So in the months to come, I suspect I will be rejiggering target goals and such so I can stay fully buffered without any extra income.  A year from now, I also hope to have some sinking funds fully funded so I can stop adding to them.    

    Reply Like 6
  • Small win I'm very proud of: I did groceries yesterday and made a crockpot dinner... and today, I managed to convince myself to eat that rather than ordering in onion rings!

    I really should look into buying bulk frozen onion rings & chicken nuggets, bc those are my biggest cravings usually...

    Reply Like 5
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Simeon 

      You might find that you're more willing to eat left overs if you cook two nights/multiple meals and then alternated between the two when you were doing leftovers.  Or freezing one or two meals from each recipe and then eating them a week or three later.  

      I'm not fond of eating the same thing two nights in a row but I'm much more willing to eat it on alternating nights, maybe it's just me?

      Reply Like 2
      • Simeon
      • vagabond_collarbone
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah Huh! That sounds really good!

      Reply Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Simeon 

      Also, it's easier cooking 'family-sized' meals rather than just one meal for one or two.  Most recipes are geared for 3-4 people.  We cooked chicken breasts Friday and a lamb roast yesterday, and tonight will eat the beef skirt steak we cooked last week.   Last week the beef went into burritos, Saturday afternoon it went into cheese quesadillas for lunch, tonight we will serve with have taco shells with lettuce and tomatoes to finish it off.  We will eat the chicken tomorrow with asparagus we grilled Friday or the corn we grilled yesterday.  Wednesday we'll have lamb with a big salad with the lettuce we used in the tacos tonight.  We'll probably have a night of leftovers Thursday, and lamb again Friday unless we freeze it.  

      Honestly we're not really big meal planners but we've been doing this a long time, have the knowledge and tools to cook, plus the knowledge and skills to make a roasted chicken into 6 different meals if the meat lasted that long, and a big pantry full of spices and staples.  Also a freezer for meals portions, some convenience foods that will keep us from eating out but are easy to cook, and meats that were bought on sale. 

      If you're not used to cooking at home all the time, you might consider doing meal planning.  Or, if you have friends, you could spend an afternoon meal prepping and cooking together.  You could all work on the same meals or you could each pick one meal, cook lots, then portion out and everyone brings home different foods.  Food and companionship!  Cooking at home is a huge money saver over eating out but takes effort and time.  It also takes time to get easier when you're starting to cook more!  You may also want to spend a day on the weekend getting together meals for the week or prepping so you don't have to think about what to eat or it won't take as long.  Good luck! 

      Reply Like 4
      • Elle Jay
      • Ellejay
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Simeon I'm always more successful in my diet and budget if I account for random cravings and unhealthy foods. Always need that secret stash of junk in the freezer (garlic bread and quorn fish fingers for me) and secret snacks in the cupboard.

      Reply Like 2
  • We sold a car last month; the insurance for it was due this month.  The leftover time from the car coming off the policy was calculated and applied against the balance.  I'd budgeted a bit too much for the expected bill which means that I can decrease the monthly goal by 5 bucks or so.   $5 closer to where I want my budget.  Of course, then my husband says that he wants a new goal to replace the gutters.  Argh!  Even if I put the target off 5 years, that's a good chunk of money each month! 

    Too many projects, too little money...

    Reply Like 4
      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah So true!  I'm working on building up my wishlist (finding  my random notes and such for things I want and getting them actually into my Wishlist category in YNAB).  Most are Small things..but they add up quickly!

      Reply Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      TechieM2 

      The gutters, new roof, new windows, driveway, and HVAC repair/replacement are true expenses, just ones that we hopefully won't need right now or for a while.  My roof is only 7 years old but that means I could need a new one as soon as 10-15 years.  The windows keep water out but the seal on the double pain has broken in several and they get foggy and I swear one of them is growing mold between the panes.  The inner pane of one window is busted.  I suppose that's a want, not a need, but it would be nice to be able to see out of more of our windows.  They're certainly not as insulating as they could be.   But I'd like to be able to put money in these funds above more than $5-10 a month.  Unfortunately, I need to tweak the budget a lot more.  I have a bunch of sinking funds I'll be able to cap once they hit a certain level (I don't need $5000 to replace my laptop, for example).  Eventually.  Not today and not tomorrow.  

      Reply Like 2
  • Forgot my purse at home, didn't realize it until I arrived at work. This forced me to eat the lunch I brought versus deciding at the lat minute to go out with coworkers....

    Reply Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      finn13 

      I've been there, but in the store parking lot, counting out quarters, dimes and nickels from the car's ashtray to buy milk and a loaf of bread instead of the full grocery run I'd intended to do.  Not quite the same thing, but I certainly saved some money!

      Reply Like
  • I am making incentives for my students, rather than buying (as much) for them to "buy" with their incentive dollars in my classroom store. I feel a little silly buying things when most of their parents are in a higher tax bracket than I, and can (and do) buy expensive things for their kids. But this gets the job done, and maybe they'll realize that these are more special than what they could get at the store.  But if not, oh well.  One always hopes that good behavior is something I've helped instill through my class, not something developed purely through external motivation.  But now, I have to finish!!!

    Reply Like 4
    • Move Light Sound Life I always have rewards in my classroom that are privileges. Have spent way too much $ over the years & you can't buy privileges so has more value. They earn raffle tickets that can buy passes once a month when I open the bank (have 2 students run it). Whole class works towards marbles which they can earn a class treat like an electronic afternoon. Raffle tickets earned weekly for winning group points, their agendas, home journals, random good work etc. I also have a Read-a-thon that they can earn awards when they reach the 1000 page (Grade 5) awards of a pass of their choice & marble for the class. I used to have points and would spend too much time calculating them. Now I only use the Raffle tickets & passes and if they lose them, tough. lol :)

      Reply Like
    • MLB
    • Slate_Gray_Dragon.4
    • 7 mths ago
    • 9
    • Reported - view

    Gratefully received a bonus from work that allowed me to pay off the car last night!  Also moved savings over to Ally bank for the higher interest rate.  Now can start putting the money I was putting toward the car loan into my new savings account!🎉

    Reply Like 9
    • MLB Awesome, congrats!! 

      Reply Like 2
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