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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  • This is an absolute first... I had a big bag of clothes from Winners I brought home to try on. I don't really need them, haven't thought about them, and they aren't in the budget. So I returned them without trying them on. Felt good to purge & resist temptation to consumerism. The goal of being Debt Free is greater than the need for new stuff. I do want new yoga gear, but I'll put that on my Wish Farm List for my birthday in November. Let somebody else buy me them. lol :)

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    • Purple Foal Resisting & returning after they're already home is a feat! Nice one.

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    • Nicole Thanks! Yes I rethought the whole consumerism trap & reconsidered my debt-free journey. :)

      Like
  • That's really hard when you brought them home!  Impressed!!! I'm learning that window shopping and Amazon shopping without a specific NEED (even as opposed to a want) is a key to success!  Congrats!

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    • TheTabby
    • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
    • TheTabby
    • 1 mth ago
    • 3
    • Reported - view

    I asked my boss why I hasn’t received a $1000 payment from July, and mentioned that I hand seen the August one yet either, though I wasn’t too worried about it because it’s supposed to be paid out sometime in September, and there’sa good bit of September left. 

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  • I biked to work for the first time the other day (30 minute trip each way). It feels safer than taking the subway right now, and it's actually a more direct route. I was a little intimidated beforehand, but doing it was actually fine! In fact it was rather peaceful feeling the night breeze riding home.

    Like 3
    • The Artist Formerly Known As 

      Amazing!! Exercise & free travel! "Pay" your fare to a category for each bike trip you do to see your savings. :)

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      The Artist Formerly Known As Wear your helmet!

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    • MXMOM I actually invested in a nice comfortable helmet, which is part of why I enjoy riding more now!

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      The Artist Formerly Known As 

      well I do have "MOM" in my username!

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  • My current financial win is home made pizza and keeping home made pizza dough in the freezer. It is so delicious that I look forward to it much more than takeaway and my budget likes it.  

    I have an extra big bag of bread flour that I use (I bought it during the initial lockdown with the pandemic when you couldn't get flour) and lots of yeast - so the dough is essentially free.  I know the recipe says all purpose flour, but I ignore that. 

    I make this recipe https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-pizza-crust-recipe/ using the weight measurements (as measuring cups are inaccurate) and double it, so enough for 4 large pizzas. I put the other three lumps in small plastic bags in the freezer and remove the night before or morning I plan to eat and keep in the fridge or on the bench if its that afternoon. 

    It is a soft, chewy, bready dough as opposed a light crispy one  (I have another crispy bread style which I use, but comfort food wins at the moment)

    A couple of other tips - sorry I know this isn't a cooking forum but this pizza is so good: 

    • Use your oven to help rise if its cold - the method in step 3 of the recipe works well. I also use it to refresh frozen dough once its defrosted
    • If you have a pizza stone or large tile use that. I get my ingredients ready while I'm heating the stone in the oven.  I then get the stone out the oven, stretch the dough out and top it and put back in the oven.  The dough literally starts to rise on the hot stone while you're putting the ingredients on it! Its kind of like an inside pizza oven.
    • Keep an eye on it cooking.  Brown but not overcooked
    • I don't have a good mixer so hand knead the dough.  Its kind of relaxing once you get the hang of it.

    Some toppings I've been using - roasted ratatouille veges (ie. eggplant, capsicum, zucchini) with buffalo or grated mozzarella; salami and olives with buffalo or grated mozzarella; and tasty cheese with tomato, bbq sauce and left over rotisserie chicken. 

    Like 5
    • Yes I can Don't apologize! Food ideas are some of the most budget friendly tips! I'm now eyeballing homemade pizza for later this week. 😆

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Yes I can Again, why has no one invented a way to send me food via the internet.  Come on people!!!

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      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 4 wk ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM I love cooking for people - so my budget would suffer.   In an alternate life, I'd be an mama in a big noisy house cooking for 6 kids.   

      There's currently ginger bread loaf in my kitchen which would be great for a virtual cuppa and a chat about budgeting advice. 

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    • Yes I can Sounds tasty! I love making pizza, too. 

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  • I've actually spent a significant amount of money over the past few weeks. I've practically replaced my winter wardrobe (including 2 new coats) which has come to probably close £1K in total. I've started buying Christmas presents and i've just ordered a case of wine as the wine I like is 25% off so this will actually save me money in the long run. 

    However, all of the above was fully funded.

     

    Payday was Monday so I've also spent the past 2 days (following a fresh start a few weeks ago) adjusting categories and working out savings goals and moving money around in them (after figuring out priorities). Ive been very lucky during this pandemic to have a stable (as any could be) job (i'm busier than ever!) and its relatively well paying. I live in London (so high cost of living) but even after all bills and groceries are paid I have about £1,600 disposable income every month (i'm single and without kids so this all mine to use how i want). So plan is to save hard for the next 12 months. I've also split categories in my everyday expenses categories to be more granular so i can see exactly where my money is going (i.e dining out, takeout, alcohol etc) and see where i could potentially cut back. 

    Oh, and i even added my student loan balance to a tracking account so i can see my exact net worth (its the only debt i have). In the UK  repayment works like a tax, so is deducted straight from my pay before i receive it. I never even think about it. However just logged onto student finance website and pleased to see I only have just over £10K left, so that should be paid off in less than 2 years.  

    Like 4
      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      tinkerbell88 Nice progress!

      Do you have the option to do extra payments on your student loan in that system or no?

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    • TechieM2  yes, but it’s pretty pointless because of the way it works. It’s only a 1.1% rate of interest. I graduated 11 years ago and in real terms (with the exception of the current situation on the economy and inflation) I’ve paid back the same amount borrowed as the interest was essentially the same as inflation. 

      I believe it’s looked at as part of ‘affordability’ type criteria by banks/mortgage companies etc, but it’s not treated as ‘debt’ in the same sense as credit cards and personal loans are. I don’t even think about it apart from when I get the annual statement or when I get a bonus and 9% of it goes towards student loans. It’s essentially a graduate tax. 

      We only get repayment statements once a year once HMRC (as the payments come out of salary, HMRC involved in the collection of repayments) has told student loans company total income/payments for the year (and this statement seems to vary in time every year 🤷‍♀️). My last repayment statement was July 2019, based on current balance (because that’s the only info you can see on screen) I’ve paid off just over £6k since then. The majority of what I borrowed has been paid off over the last 2 years due to job change and almost doubled salary. 

      rate of repayment is 9% of everything I earn over £18k, so it should be paid off in 2 years (maybe less depending on bonuses/pay rises over that time) 

      Like 1
      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      tinkerbell88 Interesting!

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    • I was the in the first year to go to university and have to pay this kind of tuition and with this kind of loan system and thought it was all very unfair at the time (e.g. tuition fees for the first time and  had I been a year older for various reasons I’d have been able to university in Scotland and not has to pay for tuition) . The cost increases a couple of years later (my sister got caught in that increase).  However, looking at these boards,  I’m very glad I’m in England and not in the US when it come to university! I went to a top 10 law school (its a 3 year undergrad degree here followed by a 1 year post grad and two years training to qualify) and left with just under £25k in loans (I paid for the £13k post grad by doing it part time and working and left with some credit card debt after that’s long paid off). I didn’t have to start repaying until I earned over £15k, and anything unpaid eventually gets written off (after 25 years I think). 

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  • tinkerbell88 said:
    i'm single and without kids so this all mine to use how i want)

     One of the best savings tips!!!! 

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    • Haha true! I also flatshare with a friend (I live in London so my share is still pretty high) so all of those 3 things combined leave me in a pretty decent position financially. I live within my means, and I manage to save. It’s all currently technically within budget but with too much WAMing so I save so much less than I know I can and should be able to.

      So my plan is to stop spending all of my money on nothing e.g takeouts because I can’t be bothered to cook, or wine just because I’ve had a long day (I’m a lawyer- they’re all long days!) and just to be a bit more mindful of what I’m spending and save double what I currently am. 

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      tinkerbell88 my older son was telling me about his girlfriend's brother who's parents bought him a truck and he doesn't pay rent etc.  This was a text conversation. He ended it with #easymode  So funny how it looks different from the other side once they get there.  

       

      As for how you are spending your money, I would say since you have long days, takeout is justifiable and a worthy expenditure.  The goal is not to get to the finish line with the most money (not saying that is what you are doing), the goal is to be intentional with your money.  Have you read "Your Money or Your Life"? Awesome book. A classic.

      Here are some concepts from that book to illustrate. (I have no idea how much you make and pounds vs dollars etc so I will make up numbers to show what I mean. Of course each person has to do their own math)

      Lets say you earn $120K per year. You have long days so I will take a 12 hour work day less 2 weeks vacation plus 1/2 hour daily commute. In one year you spend 3125 hours on work. Lets say after taxes you take home $100K. So your net hourly income is $32 ($100K divided by 3125).  Lets  say takeout costs $16. Therefore, you work 1/2 hour each day to pay for that.  Here is the valuable question. For you, is that an acceptable trade off?  I would probably say yes. But its your question to answer.  

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    • Haha I love that hashtag! Am I right in thinking your sons are uni age? (apologies if I've mixed you up with someone else, I’ve read a lot of these boards over the past couple of days).

      If so, I’ve 10 years (at least) on them - so for them to be figuring that out at that age- you’ve done something very right as mum! 

      that’s a great way of looking at my outgoings, and not massively out. I earn a bit less (because I decided work life balance was better than chasing the higher City salary).
       

      I just feel that at 32 I should have more in savings (I have £6.5k), I should be looking at deposit for a flat (but I’m in London so I’d need £50-80k to do so on my own).  I feel like I’ve ‘wasted’ money- but actually looking back I know I could have saved a lot more by now- but I took the longer route to qualification ( I graduated in the last recession in 2009), and I’ve enjoyed my money only having to please me. I don’t have debt (I don’t count the remainder of my student loans), and I don’t regret the decisions I made. 
       

      COVID makes me realise that although I’m ok, and I don’t actually live paycheck to paycheck, and I’ve got 4 months of essential expenses (bills and groceries- no fun money) in easy access accounts- I’d like to have more and potentially own a home one day.  So - onwards and upwards, and to building savings! 
       

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 4 wk ago
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      • Reported - view

      tinkerbell88 yes one is 20 and the other (the texter) is 24. It’s a similar dilemma here. We are in the area around Toronto in Canada (the Greater Toronto Area or GTA). We live in a mainly commuter area so driving to work is the norm. Covid19 has inspired people to want to move out further from the city so house prices have exploded. It was bad before. A “starter” home with about a 45 minute train commute to downtown would be about 5 times annual gross combined income for 2 people. To compare, it was about 2 x when we bought our first house. You need over $100k CDN for the down payment. It’s a hard road. 
       

      younger son spends way too much on takeout especially since we feed him here. Covid19 has made his university all online which is a great saving for him as he would normally be in Ottawa. His quote of the day was “hail to the budget” when I said he could fill up the car with gas because we had the money in the category. He’s the main person using my car especially all summer when he was working so he likes when I fill it. 

      Like 2
  • Today I went through my annual true expense and set up goals to make sure they are fully funded.  In doing this, i discovered my Amazon Prime membership is due to be renewed in November, which was not planned or budgeted for. My V&A museum membership is also due for renewal on 30 November, which I was vaguely aware of, but was just planning on funding entirely out of November's pay. Now however, i can fund both of these expenses from both October and November so it won't seem like such a big hit out of November's pay. Goals have been set up so these (and other annual expenses) are funded monthly for next's year's bill.

    I have also paused by razor subscription for the next two months (this is cheaper than buying the blades in the supermarket) as i have 2 months worth of blades. This will be an extra £30 over October and November's pay to divert into one of the annual true expenses category.

    I've also worked out what i need to have Christmas 2020 fully funded. 

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  • A small thing but I saved money by walking to order and collect my dinner from the Asian noodle place, maybe 10 mins down the road.

    I usually use one of the  delivery apps. Sure I knew they were slightly more expense to cover commissions and included a delivery fee.  But my dinner (satay chicken n vege noodles, and a bag of prawn crackers, cos I love them) was $14 versus $22 via a delivery app for exactly the same food   That’s 60% more!

    (i don’t have a car anymore as I use car shares and public transport - which is another mega savings story - so can’t just drive down and collect) 

    Like 4
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Yes I can plus the exercise to burn it off!!!!

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    • Yes I can Who knew it was that much of a difference!  Good for you

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  • It seems like every older movie I want to see is not available on Prime or Netflix or YouTube without a fee. Usually about $5 but still not wanting to pay that.  Today I had an idea.  I am a big proponent of library use so I thought I would check if the latest movie I am wanting to see is available at the library. Yes it is!  So I have reserved it and can pick it at the branch around the corner.  

    Like 6
      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM Yes, libraries are awesome!  We used to do that a lot more, but now when we have "family movie night" we don't generally know what we're going to watch until that night, so it doesn't always work. We always check Netflix and Disney+ first, just because there's no "extra" charge (besides Mulan live action, which to start out is like $29.00 Premium on Disney+...  But it will be "free" sometime, and then we'll see it) 

      Anyway, with short notice, we sometimes have to pay on Amazon, but if it's something we know about ahead of time, we'll still give the library first dibs.  But we've got a movies category in our budget, and it's funded every month.  So we just pull out of that if we have to rent on Amazon.

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      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Bruce MXMOM  I love my library and belong to both my local council (?county) one and the one in the city which has lots of online   They've even been home delivering books during lockdown - I don't use this service, but love that its available!   I've even seen that my local library has been adding foreign language e-books, as we live in a diverse community!

      In terms of movies, Have you seen the online product Kanopy? Many of the Australian libraries offer a limited free usage of this service which has an interesting range of movies and documentaries.  

      I haven't used for movies but read lots of the latest releases in terms of fiction as e-books from the library.  I can't quite estimate how much I'd have saved...as I'd have never bought all the brand new books I'm reading.  

      I also used to have a Kindle Unlimited subscription which I've now cancelled ($14 a month)  I plan to bank up some books to read and then just take out again for a month or so. 

      Like 2
      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Yes I can Yes, my library offers access to Kanopy.  I noticed that the other day, but haven't explored it.  I think that might be another avenue to explore when checking for movies before defaulting to paying on Amazon.

      Like 1
  • Price matched at Home Depot for Milwaukee Packout system for son#1.  Saved $75.  Did have a bit of a problem with the online price match (in that it didn't happen and I had to contact customer service to fix it) but that resulted in an extra 10% off for my trouble.  Prefer to have ability to return/exchange to Home Depot rather than online store if there is a problem so the price match works well. 

    Like 3
  • Just found out that I can download and print Cards against Humanity game for free (my favourite price). http://s3.amazonaws.com/cah/CAH_MainGame.pdf
     

    there is also a free printable family edition which I posted in the parenting forum.  

    Like 2
    • Cirrus
    • Living mobile and solo
    • miriamnz
    • 2 wk ago
    • 5
    • Reported - view

    I put in a feature request for being one month ahead to become easy again in YNAB.

    Like 5
    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 11 days ago
    • 11
    • Reported - view

    I made the final payment on my car loan Friday!

    Like 11
    • TechieM2 There is NOTHING like that feeling when it BELONGS to you!!!

      Like 1
  • I negotiated my mortgage rate today! I live in Sweden so the rates are pretty low as they are but I negotiated from 1,71% to 1,29%. So that saves me some money every month 😊

    Like 10
  • I reduced my monthly electricity bill - I'm on an annual payment plan - from $410 to $266...ongoing every month. 

     I swapped plans a few months back - always worth asking - and saved a whopping 28%. However, when I asked about recalculating the annual plan, it only dropped from $430 to $410 a month.

    So I asked again yesterday and made the savings.   We're in spring in Australia, so the worst of winter was over. I also know they read the meter and issue an actual bill every quarter which had just happened. 

    I like the annual smoothing option and like the idea that they'll recalculate it ie. you don't need to wait a full year!!

    Like 3
  • this definitely didn't improve my short term finances, but it will improve my finances long terms. I've just had an eye appointment and needed to buy new glasses which i was not expecting. So have just wammed money from my emergency fund.

    However, this is clearly a true expense that I had forgotten to budget for. So i now have a category for glasses with a goal set for 2 years time as that will coincide with my next eye test, and them repeating every 2 years. I also have a category for prescription sunglasses with a goal set to have the money in spring to buy new ones and then repeating every 2 years after that. 

    Like 4
  • I made True Expenses for duct cleaning (last 2 months saving) & furnace maintenance (a year on-going). Money is there to be paid for the work being done. No more stress of big unexpected bills. Set up a goal for the duct cleaning in 5 years time at $6 a month. :)

    Like 2
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