About a month ago, we decided to make some changes and it has been really rewarding in a lot of ways. While it might seem that the impetus was financial, that is only part of the story. We also wanted to make a change to the way we spend the hours we have each and every day. We started by getting rid of the TV in the kitchen. We put it upstairs in one of our spare bedrooms, along with a DVD player and a bunch of exercise DVDs. We canceled our TV cable (still have cable modem), we bought bikes, we canceled Netflix. Sounds rather drastic I know. But we both felt that we spent too many hours in front of one screen or another. Bottom line: the changes have already reaped many positive benefits. We’re both listening to a lot more music, I get up in the morning and do one of the exercise DVDs (yes, it’s a screen, but at least I’m not being a couch potato), we’re taking time to go biking together, and we’re renting movies from the public library. AND saving money at the same time!
We also decided to try and only use cash for items that we would’ve bought with a credit card. How, you ask? We froze our credit cards! Literally. In a plastic container filled with water. Deep in the freezer! It’s worked great except for one blip.
On Sunday, I drove to a nearby outlet to return some clothing I’d purchased at the end of May and found that I didn’t really need or want. I arrived only to find out that you have to have your original credit card (the one I used to buy the stuff in the first place) in order to get the refund. I totally forgot that my credit card was in the freezer:).
With the cost of gas and home heating oil rising, we’ve had to really give our budget a once-over. I’m pleased to say that it hasn’t been painful at all. I’ve tried a number of different budgeting programs over the years and I finally found one that is excellent. It’s called (duh) You Need A Budget. It has a very active and enormously helpful online forum that you have access to once you sign up. The cost is very reasonable and is well worth the investment.
I’m not usually in the habit of recommending anything other than food-related items on my blog. Though I never mentioned it on this blog, I am passionate about learning to live within a budget. I’ve tried everything, honestly. Years ago, I tried putting our budgeted money into envelopes (when we combined families, we had to figure out a way to live within a budget)! Fourteen years later: You Need A Budget seems to be the ticket.
So, if anyone is interested in giving themselves a real gift, get your own copy of YNAB using this link: 10% off YNAB! That gives you a 10% discount on the program, and I end up receiving a small portion of the proceeds (very small, but hey, every bit counts!).
Good luck and stay tuned for new recipes and GF ideas!