Simple Cutbacks, BIG Savings

Saving money when you’re already on a very tight budget is like saying no to an Oreo when you’re on a diet. It’s almost impossible.

Eric and I talked briefly about our finances before we got married. I knew he had some credit card debt, he knew I had student loans and a car loan, but somehow love conquers all and we’d figure out the money thing along the way, right?

Back up, Sleeping Beauty. The truth is, we should have been much more vigilant about our spending habits. We should have had a budget and been secure in our careers and had a sizable savings account to fall back on. None of which we had when we tied the knot.

After spending carelessly the first two months of our marriage, we sat down and looked over our finances. We realized that we really had nothing left over at the end of the month for extras, especially if we wanted to pay off the credit cards. This led to a cutback of almost all of the little (and not-so-little) extras that we had been spending on without even thinking about their cost.

This is an overview of things we’ve cut back on

Coffee: Having to be at work at 5 a.m., Eric would purchase a cup of coffee every morning and then an energy drink in the afternoon. He also would buy lunch frequently. Now, he uses our Keurig coffee maker , he got rid of the energy drinks (which are bad for you anyway) and takes lunch most days.

SAVINGS: $50/week

Beauty Rituals: Before I was married, I would get my hair done every three months ($130), a mani-pedi ($30), an eyebrow wax ($8) and a bikini wax once a month ($50). I am now letting my natural hair color grow out, paint my own nails, pluck my eyebrows and perform my own bikini waxes ( I swear by Gigi)!

SAVINGS: $1576/year

Shopping: I used to go shopping at least once a month, and it was always hard not to spend at least $200. I have drastically cut back on my shopping, and now go to consignment shops and Target if I really need to fulfill an urge.

SAVINGS: $1200/ year

Eating out: Eric and I would would frequently order pizza on a Friday night, go out to eat on Saturday night, and order take out on Sundays. We would easily spend at least $100 a week on eating out. We arn’t willing to cut back all our dining-out options yet, but we have cut back to eating out only once or twice a month, and ordering takeout about once a month. We no longer order pizza Friday nights and instead buy frozen pizzas on sale and eat that with a cheap bottle of wine, and wah-lah, the perfect Friday night.

SAVINGS: $300/month

So far, by changing some of our habits, we are able to save ourselves a grand total of about $7400. That’s a lot of money!

Our next step is to cut our rent and utilities at least $250/month and cut our cable completely $100/month, for an additional yearly savings of $4200.

That’s $11,600 that can go toward a down payment on a new home! I could get used to this saving thing…

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