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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  • We've been at it just a week now and one huge takeaway after setting up our budget is how much automatically comes out of our bank accounts that we just don't track. Old software subscriptions, cloud storage charges...$3.99 here, $.99 there...little leaks in the boat. Nice to get a handle on that. We just can't afford to be vague. 

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    • Jacque de Noir It's so good to see these things now, right? Well done on getting things in check!

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  • Hit two early-bird registration deadlines for kids' sports and saved $100!

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    • Frugalflamesfan Nice one!

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    • QC
    • HaplessFinanceProfessional
    • Queenofcoin
    • 1 yr ago
    • 5
    • Reported - view

    Today I cancelled a subscription I've had for a while and never used *d'oh*.  Saved $47 for the three monthly subscription.

    On Monday I rang and cancelled my auto-delivery for dog food because I'm switching him to raw.  I only remembered because they sent me a reminder that it was on the way so the money left my account and after talking to the CSO was returned a few days later.

    I feed my dog a mix of wet and dry manufactured food at a cost of about $50 a week.  After doing extensive research I've decided to switch to a higher quality alternative (actual food) that so far has cost me $15 for a week.  Saved $35 a week.

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    • QC Is your dog tolerating the change in food okay? I tried a raw food diet with one of my dogs with "less than desirable consequences". Just curious.

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      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Frugalflamesfan I'm still emptying the pantry of manufactured food but your comment gives me pause to maybe keep some in reserve in case of a similar reaction.

      Did you wean him or switch him immediately?

      I've read there can be mildly adverse reactions but this is due to the different gut bacteria needed for either manufactured or raw food.  When I do switch him, in about a week or so, I'm fasting him for 24 hours and then keeping him on ground chicken necks for minimum 5 days before introducing other types of food slowly.

      I'd be interested in hearing your experience with your dog. 

      Here's Bowie at maybe 3 months.  He's 7 months old now, 24kg and has the most horrendous butt burps.  My motivation for switching him was  better quality of life and health for him after his gorgeous Dad died at only 11 years old.

      Reply Like 4
      • Kate
      • Joyful Technical Writer 🌴
      • sweet_sunshine
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      QC I would die for Bowie. 😍 😍 😍 😍 😍 😍

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

      Kate Hehe me too!!  He's adorable and loves to cuddle.  His favourite thing is to sit close and rest his jaw in my hand and he'll go to sleep sitting there next to me.

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      • Kate
      • Joyful Technical Writer 🌴
      • sweet_sunshine
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
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      QC I have never really had the desire to have a dog after my childhood dog died when I was 13 but Bowie is definitely tugging on my heart strings and is making me want to go to the Humane Society after work. He sounds like a wonderful pupper. 💗

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    • QC who is you raw dog food supplier? 

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      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Device My butcher.  I looked into raw food manufacturers but the entire reason for switching to raw food was natural food where I have complete control over ingredients, volume, weight and to a lesser degree, cost.   As he gets used to things I'll introduce a variety of meat, fruits and vegetables (in a reverse elimination type test).  :)

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    • QC thank you!

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    • QC Bowie is super cute. I had used a dehydrated food that you added warm water to and it looked and smelled like a nice stew. But it made my dogs bowels really loose.  I had only tried a bunch of sample packs that my pet store gave me, but I wasn't too keen to keep it going!

      Best of luck in getting rid of the Bowie's flatulence! Here's Heidi, my 9 month old Goldendoodle.

      Reply Like 2
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
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      Frugalflamesfan Heidi is lovely!  Okay, I hadn't heard of dehydrated food before, except kibble. 

      I'm switching to a BARF diet (biologically appropriate raw food).  Over time it reaches ~75% meaty bone content, ~20% fruit and vegetable content, and ~5% organ content.  I buy the meaty bones and grind them, add cooked or raw veggies and some ground organs once or twice a week to mimic the type of natural diet a dog might have in the wild.  Bowie is still a puppy and I was getting concerned about the same food (day in and out) being sufficient to meet his changing needs.

      Good luck finding something that suits Heidi!

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    • QC Good on you! That sounds like a lot of prep!  I have hard enough time cooking for 3 teenagers and my hubby.  Pup's food needs to be in a bag at this time of life for us.  I'm using Royal Canin Puppy Chow.  My vet is happy with the formula and it's Canadian-made, so that reassures me.

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  • Bought flight for the holidays and being organised meant I spent half of what equivalent travel cost me last year!

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    • Orchid Yeti That's awesome!

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  • Hubby bought new shoes in June, and they're already partly broken. Complained, and we'll be refunded the full amount of €80 :-)

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  • This month we're tracking groceries in a more detailed manner in YNAB, since we feel we're spending too much in that category. Hoping for some insights on how to save some money there!

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    • MacGsMom
    • Editor. Artist. Book fiend.
    • bookgirl1010
    • 1 yr ago
    • 3
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    I dropped my subscription to Adobe Photoshop because I haven't used it in months. I can always resubscribe for a month or so if I need it. Also I convinced myself to hold off another two weeks on a purchase, to see if I really need it. And I'm holding out till my gym contract is over in November, then I'm switching to DVDs. 

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      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Dianne I often do this, hold off on a purchase to see if I really want it.  

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      • Kate
      • Joyful Technical Writer 🌴
      • sweet_sunshine
      • 1 yr ago
      • 8
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      Dianne After reading your post I've decided that I'm going to start a "Do I Really Want It?" List in the back of my planner and everything that I want to buy I'll write down in the list along with the date I saw the item so I can revisit the list in two weeks. I hope this helps me become more mindful with how I spend my money. 😀

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    • Kate  What a brilliant idea! Starting a do I want it page in my planner right now!

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      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 11 mths ago
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      Kate Love this idea! Going to do this too. 

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  • Booked our 25th anniversary trip to Montreal on points! Taking what we saved to stay in an awesome hotel and go on a wine tour. Can't wait!

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      • Kate
      • Joyful Technical Writer 🌴
      • sweet_sunshine
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Frugalflamesfan Frugal that sounds amazing! Have a wonderful time!!!

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  • Since I had the plumber in for other work, I asked him if he could do the yearly boiler servicing while he was around even though it's a month too early. He did the safety checks but because it was still very clean, he didn't charge me for it. €100 saved!

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  • I accepted a temporary job offer. I'm unemployed, but hoping to get the offer I REALLY want by the end of next week and had been holding out on this temp canvassing job as a "backup". But even though I have the savings to see me through for a while, if I want to keep saving for my goals than some income is better than no income. And fortunately the temp job is something I care about (yay political activism!) and knows that they might only get me for a week if everything else goes according to plan. And if it doesn't...well, I'll still be devastated, but at least I'll have a job.

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  • Finally took advantage of my county library's digital services, specifically RBdigital/Zinio, and am canceling a magazine subscription. $5.99/month saved. 

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  • Broke down and purchased an Instant Pot (kitchen appliance) today.   I belong to several frugal forums and it has a following like the Beatles!  I used it today and I have to say I am IMPRESSED.  Most tender pot roast I have every had.  Especially amazing since I used a cheap cut of meat.   Only cooked for 1/3 of the time I would have had my crock pot on.   Looking forward to making many frugal one pot meals.

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      • Kate
      • Joyful Technical Writer 🌴
      • sweet_sunshine
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      frugal-one There's a part of me that is scared of using an Instant Pot because I have anxiety about everything but the other part of me is super intrigued. I'm glad you took the dive and decided to get one!

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    • frugal-one My mom gave me an Instant Pot for Christmas this past year. At first, I was really excited... and then, I started researching how to use it and got nervous. When I looked into it, there was like a 15 step process before you were supposed to cook with it the first time... I still haven't used it... was there a lot of set-up work that you needed to do before using it?

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      • frugal-one
      • Single and Enjoying the FIRE
      • frugalone
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Nina Shelly  No, it's so simple.  I watched a youtube video before I purchased one about how to use it and was surprised how easy.    It's not anything like your Mom's scary stove top pressure cooking.    I am going to make popcorn in mine tonight.

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      • puddlejumper24
      • Construction Office Assistant/Artist
      • Purple_Yeti_2deb5a392c7
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      frugal-one The husband and I have been talking about getting an Instant Pot. Any recommendations on brand?

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      • frugal-one
      • Single and Enjoying the FIRE
      • frugalone
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
      Reply Like 1
  • Cannot wait for September to be over - it's been a tight month financially with a lot of extra expenses which have added up to more than I anticipated :-( Plus side - and my win for today - is that I managed to get an expired store credit voucher reactivated. Will save some category expenditure over the next month or two. 

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  • Okay, this is dumb and like really basic but I replaced something I buy all the time with the store-brand item. 15 years of drinking actimel for €3.89 a pack and the Tesco one turns out to be just as tasty, except for 65 cents. It's like, 15 years of habit, I wasn't even thinking about it. I started drinking it as a lazy student who didn't want to have a spoon to wash 😛 and it was the only drinking yoghurt in existence at the time. There's so many now! 65 cents!! I'm still too lazy to eat yoghurt with a spoon for now, though I'm tempted to try making my own with the instant pot someday... 🙂

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  • I used all of my first paychack from my new job to pay off some of our debt :) I'll only need to do that for one more month (maybe a tiny bit of the month after that) and We'll be debt free :)

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  • Each having a "freedom money" category of our own to spend however we wanted meant we stuck to the budget the last couple months!  No need to cheat when we can use our Freedom Money.

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  • Set up a new phone :-) I haven't been using YNAB long enough to build up a funded true expenses category for this but I had anticipated when I was setting up that I would be getting one in the near future so funnelled windfalls, extra savings etc into covering it. Although it wasn't a perfect YNAB-covered purchase I think it demonstrated my shift in budgeting mindset - I chose a model that was within a reasonable price range, avoiding upselling, tracked its price for a while so I was able to recognise when it was a available on a good deal, and now have the satisfaction of knowing that if it was to get stolen/broken I could replace it without placing too much strain on my overall budget. And yes, I have already set up a true expenses category for buying my next one! Calling it a win as I felt a marked reduction in the stress I usually feel when buying a big ticket item.

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      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Yeti That's a big win! Yesterday I checked the balances on the payment plans for my and my son's phones and was shocked to discover his phone was on a 30-month plan! Technically his phone is "free" because we get the payment credited back every month but I'm tied to this phone company until the device is paid off one way or another so now I'm adding "accelerated phone payments" to my debt smackdown, if and when I'm able to get beyond keeping up with my minimum payments again.

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    • Vibrant I am trying a new principle out with this - I have to be able to afford to buy the shiny outright and also afford that if something happens to it it will not be a major source of financial stress. So no more buying phones as part of a contract package (which is essentially borrowing the money under another name). On the other hand - for your son I think something like a contract package is ideal as I suspect the financial barrier to him having one would be too much otherwise and being locked in for 30 months at least resists the constant temptation to upgrade!

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  • As I changed the bank account for our Netflix subscription so it would go out of our joint account, I saw that Netflix has different plans. I never knew! We were on the most expensive on of 13,99/month, whereas we could easily do with the cheapest plan, which is only 7,99/month! Boom! €6/month savings!

    Reply Like 4
    • Kate
    • Joyful Technical Writer 🌴
    • sweet_sunshine
    • 1 yr ago
    • 5
    • Reported - view

    So, while I didn't do anything directly to make this a YNAB win, it definitely turned into one. 

    I have a coffee table in my bedroom a friend gave me before leaving the island. I wanted to see if I could set it up with my printer but it turns out the coffee table doesn't really fit in my room and I can't really use it like a table in the way that I wanted to. So, I posted on facebook I had a free coffee table that could go to a good home and I hoped I would get a couple of takers. A friend replied and said she was looking for a coffee table and would I be interested in trading the coffee table for a TV she no longer needed. I said sure! I haven't owned a TV since I moved to Hawaii and I would like to have one for when I move into my own apartment soon. 

    I sent a few pictures of the coffee table to my friend and she replied she wasn't looking for a coffee table that looked like mine but would I still like the TV for free? So somehow I am keeping my coffee table and also getting a free TV which I'm just going to take as a win after having a horrible September. 😂

    Reply Like 5
  • Cancelled my first credit card. I had until February to do it but I'd hate to forget and have to pay the yearly government stamp duty (€30) twice instead. So I'll only pay one stamp duty from now on, for the new credit card which has a tiny amount of cashback rewards (has nearly paid for itself already this year, now that I look at the report!). I've now closed all my accounts with that other bank, which is a relief because of their frequent technical issues.

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    • CNM Cory
    • No matter how slow... don't ever stop
    • Hot_Pink_Boat.4
    • 1 yr ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    I posted 4 daily goals on my office wall so that I have to read them every day. One of the goals it to listen/watch either a YNAB video or podcast every day for at least 5 days per week. For me the goal has to be small, attainable and sustainable or I wont be consistent. 

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  • Made some time yesterday to make a big vat of soup that I froze in portions and will take to work with me on days that I have to work late to avoid adding unnecessarily to my dining out categories. It always takes time to batch cook but I'm always impressed by the savings - got seven portions out of the recipe, each costing about $1. Looking at my budget gave me the kick up the proverbial to get organised, so that's a win. 

    Reply Like 3
  • I just cut my own hair.  I've been doing this for a little while now, and it always makes me happy not to have to pay.  I thought I might as well try it and it turns out I can do it.   I've had a few compliments on the cut and no-one has guessed that I do it myself.  

    I have nothing against hairdressers, by the way.  I'm just very focussed at the moment on making savings wherever I can.

    Reply Like 2
    • Pikayo I made that switch recently too - I made my husband cut it, though!  I have really long hair, and mostly wear it up, so it isn't actually that challenging to cut it.  It came out really nice and saved us $$$!

      Reply Like 1
  • I'm working hard to get a month ahead. The mortgage is the big gap that needs to be bridged. I've been paying it using mostly money from when I get paid on the 1st of the month - not ideal. For 1 Nov I should have 50% of it paid with October money. And November is one of those months with 3 pay periods, so that extra check should hopefully be enough to put me over the top for 1 Dec! I'm already fully funded for True Expenses in October, so other than groceries and fuel all my money will go to November. Feels good. 

    Reply Like 5
  • I got a notification from my mobile carrier that my contract was up and that both me and my wife are eligible for new phones. We had our eyes on the newer models of our current phones (mine is 2 years old, hers 1 year) and we would have had to up our contracts from $40/month each to $60/month.

    Instead we decided to keep our current phones and downgrade our contracts to $16.90 and $20.90 per month. That's $506.40 saved per year (960.40 if we upped to the more expensive plan)! It's hard to think we were even considering the upgrade when our phones are in perfect working order and we would have just been scratching an itch for something shiny.

    Reply Like 6
    • paveln Nice! Good job!

      Reply Like 1
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