Budget Wars | Don’t Break The Bank

August was a whirlwind of a month.

This past weekend was a whirlwind of a weekend.

C’est la vie.

Right?

September is here and with that comes everything fall, including PSL (would you know I’ve never even had one!).

So, as you know, I did a no-spend August. I thought it was going to be difficult, but surprisingly, it wasn’t. As a matter of fact, it seems to have pushed me back into the early days of our marriage – frugality. It literally made me go through and really ask myself if I needed that thing I was after.

So, although I seem to be posting a bit more on the topic of finances, I thought you might like the inside scoop on how we function financially.

Cell Phones

Let’s start with this.

I don’t have a cell phone plan.

Shocker, I know.

In our current society, wi-fi is readily available at any given place – there’s even wi-fi at the parks in our city. Really, the only place I don’t have it is while I’m driving – which would be redundant anyways. So, why do I need a cell phone plan?

I have a used cell phone and I use the MagicJack app for phone calls. I can use iMessage for anyone who has an iPhone and anyone who doesn’t, has my TextPlus number that they can text me at. All of that is free and works great! As far as emergencies go, every cell phone can dial 911.

Food

One of the things Brian and I have lived by (more so Brian than me) is not spending money frivolously on fast food. I have splurged a bit more over the years since our budget isn’t so strict, but we definitely keep it to once or twice in a month.

Shopping

Ok, this is something that can be broken up into a few different categories, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to lump them all into shopping.

Two words.

Price. Match.

I used to go through the flyers and bring them to the store to price match. Now I can just pull up the flyers on the Flipp app and price match through there.

As far as clothes shopping goes, I buy a few key things at outlets, but otherwise, I’ll head to the nearest thrift store.

I have a closet full of furs and leather jackets – all from the thrift store. The most I paid for any of that was $35 for the mink fur.

One of my favourite pieces of furniture in my house is my beloved mint green swivel rocking chair. I found it at the local thrift store and it was in pristine condition. It was being sold for $14, but they were having a flash sale on the day I went and I got the chair for $7. For real. You can’t beat that. Except maybe if your mom sits in it and it flips her backward – sorry Mom.

Now, you’re probably all wondering if I spend all my savings on makeup from Sephora. The answer? No. I usually redeem my credit card points on Sephora gift cards, thus creating the ability to purchase some higher end makeup products.

Which brings me back to the whole reason for this post.

Last weekend was the Sephora VIB appreciation sale and I redeemed some credit card points for a Sephora gift card. I had fully planned on ordering everything in my cart.

Except.

I got home and opened my cart, analyzed if I really needed all of those high-end products and it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t want to waste that money – even if it was a gift card. Every day of the sale I went back to my cart and asked myself if I really needed those items. You know what? I couldn’t answer. I just kept walking away from it.

So, the sale is over. My gift card is still sitting on my desk. My cart is still full. My life still carried on.

Sometimes we think that we need things to make us happy. When, although some things can make life easier, they won’t ever make you truly happy. I want to leave a legacy for my kids and grandkids…not a bunch of things attached to debt.

There are many other little tidbits like banking with no service fees, waiting for sales, etc. that we live by in our budget, but I think these are the main ones.

Budget Wars | August 2018

One of the most common things I heard after we paid off our mortgage was about how rich we now were.

I realized that people didn’t really get it.

Now, maybe it isn’t like this for everyone, but the few people I know that paid off their mortgage were all in the same boat…

Recovery.

Yes, recovering from paying off your mortgage. For us, we put aside things for a long time (like decorating our house) so that we could focus on getting out of debt. So once that mortgage payment was null, it wasn’t like we all of a sudden had $380,000 in the bank. I mean, that would be great if it worked that way! However, it doesn’t – unless we sold the house and became homeless.

Now we are at the place where we still have all of these things that we need to do to the house, so we are saving that mortgage payment until we have enough to get ‘er done.

So, that leads me to August.

Budget life.

August budget life.

No spending August budget life.

Yes, that’s right. I’ve decided I’m going to go the whole month of August without spending extra.

Guess what that means.

Bare minimum groceries

When Brian and I were first married and actually had no money, I spent $50 every other week on groceries. We survived. I’m sure we can do it again. Right?

Passing up amazing deals

I am one of those people who has an extremely hard time passing up a deal. I’ve recently run out of a few staple products that I use and they were available to add-on to my FabFitFun order for a fraction of the price – like I mean $7 instead of $30 and $20 instead of $100. Then I thought about it. I can live without these products. AAACCKK!! Yes, it’s true. Luxury is just that, luxury. Not necessity. I’m sure I can deal without these products for a bit.

Putting makeup on the shelf

Ok, I don’t actually mean giving up makeup. I do mean putting it back on the store shelves – not buying it. This one is a bit hard for me because I’m running low on lots of makeup products. For instance, I ran out of my foundation and I’m extremely low on my face cream. However, I have samples kicking around and will use those until September.

Funny story – I used a sample of foundation the other day that was a few shades too dark for me. No biggie. I just blended it well, wore clothes that helped and made it work. A friend saw me in the hall at Church and commented about how tan I was. I chuckled to myself and graciously said my thanks. Little did he know that all that tan would be washed down the drain later that day.

No take-out

This one is a stretch – especially because yesterday I took a nap and while I was sleeping Brian ordered a pizza. I mean, I wasn’t mad at the decision. Cheese Wheelz pizza is only the best pizza around! Plus, I didn’t have to cook. Wow, I’m totally distracted. Let’s move on.

Brian and I have Fridays off together, so we typically go out for breakfast for a cute little morning date/debrief from the night before. It’s one of my most treasured dates with him. However, this summer we have set aside our breakfast place to save that little bit.

We also used to order pizza or Chinese food or something once a week. That’s also something we’ve limited over the summer.

The great thing about this decision is that it’s forcing me to learn some mad cooking skills. I mean, I need my kids to like more than just my grilled cheese and chicken nuggets.

There are a few other things that I’m doing to save money, but all in all, I really just ask myself if it’s a necessity or if there’s a more efficient way to get it done. If it’s a necessity, I will buy it; if it’s not, I will pass it up.

Are you a spender or a saver? Is it hard for you to go a month without extra spending? Do you classify makeup and takeout as necessities? Am I crazy for doing this or do you think any little bit will help? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Travel for Less

There are 2 things I love in life – spending money and saving money.

If only I could do both simultaneously…except I can! (and I do)

Seriously, my husband loves me for it!

Ok, maybe love is a strong word, but who doesn’t love someone who saves a boatload of money?!?

One thing I always save money on, besides everything, is travel. It’s something that just thrills me to find a great deal.

I just love an amazing luxurious vacation without the price tag.

Is it a coincidence that my maiden name is ‘Price’??

I say it’s meant to be.

Think about this:
more planning/prep equals less $$ spent
less planning/prep equals more $$ spent.

Without much further ado, here are my top 10 ways to save on your next vacation.

Always be on the lookout
Frequently take a quick look through a few of your favourite vacation websites to see what’s out there, what’s on sale and what you’d like

Be flexible
Sometimes, people choose travel dates for many different reasons. If you can, be flexible with the dates you want to go. Last year when we went to Cancun, leaving 2 days earlier than originally planned saved us money.

Book last-minute
Some of the best deals are last minute. I can’t even count how many times I get into convos with people on vacation that tell me the steal of a deal they got that was hundreds of dollars above the price I paid.

Be prepared
Almost all of my trips are booked last-minute – I’m talking the book on Tuesday, leave on Friday type. This can be hard, especially if you have kids/pets to make arrangements for, but we have made it work with our 2 kids and a dog. The key is preparation. I always have a process that I follow once I book a vacation (like lists of babysitters, meal prep, packing lists, etc.) and it seriously helps me in those moments that I wake up deciding to go on vacation.

Be open-minded
It can be very easy to get caught up in going to the same places you swear by, but think about trying a new resort, cruise line, airline or destination. You may be pleasantly surprised.

However, this leads me to tip #6…

Check unbiased reviews & video footage
This isn’t really a money-saving tip, but it can be if you tend to waste your money on resorts that aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Resorts, hotels, cruise ships, etc. all want you to pick them. They will post the best pictures and sometimes they even give incentives to people to write good reviews about them. Check out recent, real people reviews and footage.

This is actually something that made me think about blogging – none of the reviews I read/saw gave an accurate depiction of the beach/oceanfront. When we got to one destination, there was a 5 day rain streak and we noticed that they pumped all the rain water into the ocean directly in front of the resort. Let’s just say it looked and smelled like decaying flesh (it was actually decaying trees branches). We won’t be going back there.

Cruise
Cruising can be a great way to see many different places without spending the money on traveling individually to each of those places. There are many cruise lines that offer discounts and incentives.

Travel off-season or during rainy season
I know it sounds unappealing to go to a warm, tropical destination and have it rain on your parade. Just hear me out…tropical rainy seasons aren’t like the rain we get here (Canada), they usually get spurts of rain, followed by bursts of sunshine. Within my short 15 years of cruises and resorts (most of them during rainy season), I’ve only had 1 vacation that it rained non-stop for 5 days – and the locals said it was not normal.

Fly the deals
There are many ways to save on flights. If you stick with the same airline, you can get miles to use toward flights. I’ve never personally done this yet because we’ve generally flown with Spirit or Sunwing, but I do have a new favourite airline – Southwest! You can definitely find cheaper base prices with Spirit, but I recently flew with Southwest and loved everything about it. I’m now at a place in life where I value my comfort more than saving $$. (Shh, don’t tell Brian!)

Think outside the box
This is actually better suited for a blog post on it’s own, but it’s worth mentioning in saving money. You know how people buy timeshares? You know how those same people don’t always get the week(s) they want so they don’t go? Guess what happens to those timeshare rooms/condos. They sell them to money-saving gurus like me! It’s called vacation resort certificates and you can buy them for super cheap. We went to Florida for 2 weeks and only paid $500 for a 2 story condo with 2 bedrooms, full kitchen, full laundry, that backed onto an outlet mall and was 15 minutes from Disney. We were able to use the money we saved to bring the kids to Disney, their water parks, Legoland, Arabian Knights & more!

So there you have it! My top 10 money-saving tips for vacation. Let me know in the comments below how you save money when you vacation.