Monday, May 5, 2008

Saving is Fun!

I debated with about whether or not I should write about saving money on my blog. After all, I want you to all go to my jewelry shop and spend, spend, spend. :)

But I would be remiss if I didn't share the thoughts in my mind, especially since this new endeavor of mine has really started to grow.

I got my first credit card at the age of 18. For the first few months I was very careful and paid everything off. Then I got a Macy's (back then it was The Bon Marche) card, a Mervyn's card, a Target card, and a JC Pennies card. After a couple of years I'd wracked up some hefty bills, though nothing as bad as some horror stories I've read.

At the height of my credit card debt I think I was around $5,000 (this doesn't include car, student loans, and now home debt). When I got married we bought a house and both had several credit cards. We finally made the decision to refinance our (fairly newly purchased) house in order to pay off our credit card debt, install new windows, and install a new fireplace (to replace the horrible gas furnace sitting in the living room).

And we kept the debt off for awhile. We still used the credit cards and for some time kept them paid off in full. But of course it is easier and easier to pay with credit. So we refinanced again and paid them all off. Again. *sigh* And I started to notice that our balances are slowly creeping up again every month.

Needless to say we have not been supremely smart with our money in the past few years. Hubby has the mentality that we make it so we should spend it. He wants the latest and greatest toys and wants to "enjoy" life (as he puts it). I am more like my father. I like to save. But I also am my mother's daughter and when the urge strikes I can spend with the best of them. I decided that we really need to take a concerted effort to do more to save our money and build up our emergency fund.

Entrecard has led to new discoveries for me. And it may just lead to a new lifestyle. I have found some amazing blogs out there that focus on savings and reducing debt.

Some Favorites and Daily Reads:
Through these blogs I've discovered new and interesting ways to save and earn a few extra dollars and all those little things add up.

Yesterday was my first real attempt at using coupons when grocery shopping. I'm not an expert at this but I was pretty proud of myself. I saved over $35 with coupons and sale items! And that $35 is going to go into my ING savings account. I'm paying myself. I'll write about the details later.

You also may have noticed some affiliate links to the right. I debated with myself (lots of internal dialog going on here) about those as well. I use all the services and enjoy them so it's not like I'm trying to pimp these businesses without any personal experience. I'm getting a kick out of eBates - hubby wanted to order a beanie from Under Armor and I wouldn't let him until I checked to see if they were an eBates store (they are!). So we'll get 3% back on a purchase that he would have made anyway. Woohoo!

What are you doing to save? And what will you do with the savings? Buy jewelry I hope! *grin* Or start an emergency fund? Everyone should have one. Ours is woefully small.


jennsquared said...

This is a great post. I have the same issue on saving, although I would love to save, somehow I always don't have enough and end up using credit. One thing I did was to elimiate some of the unnecssary credit card. And the ones I have left I called and reduced the credit line. I only leave one that has a large amount for emergencies, and I leave that at a save place, which is NEVER my purse. It has work very well so far.

I buy things I know that won't go bad in bulk, such as toilet paper and paper towel, and I buy meat in bulk and freeze them (separate first!) so that saves me time, gas, and money.

I will check out the sites you posted when I get a chance.

Frugal Dad said...

Great to hear of your savings success! Thanks for including me in your list of favorites.

hank said...

Isn't it nice to see the $$$ from coupons? I don't use them as much as I should for little items, but they can really add up!

Moki said...

I think the biggest thing we are doing to save is paying off all our credit cards. It's amazing how dependant people can become on them. It's been three years now, and we have manged to live without charging.

Jillian said...

Ahh.. yes. Your husband sounds like mine. I mean they have a point... I think you should treat yourself.. otherwise you're just working to give it all away. But there definitely needs to be a balance.

And uhh... I won't even comment on the emergency fund. Our is... sorely lacking to say the least :-O