A Penny Saved

26 May

When we first got married, my Mom paid for the hubs and I to go take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class at our church (highly recommend).  We jumped at the chance to start off our marriage on the right track financially.  One of the best things we learned from his class was to use the envelope system (and get rid of debt).  We use the envelope system for food and entertainment and and everything else we just try and keep track of as we spend it.  The envelope system really works for us because it makes sure we aren’t spending way too much money at the grocery store or at restaurants.  At some point, we will probably set the two apart but for right now, we just categorize it as food and it encompasses both grocery store and restaurant.

FPU Envelope

How the envelope system works:

  • How Much: Sit down and determine exactly how much money will be used for your envelope and how often you will take money out.  Currently, the hubs and I take $200 out for food every two weeks ($400 a month).  That may not seem like much but we do a really good job of keeping our grocery bills down as well as eating cheaply when we do eat out.  It is really easy to see how eating out too often affects our ability to buy the groceries we need.  We also only take out $40 every two weeks for entertainment.  That really means that we can’t go out to the movies very often or go to baseball games all the time.  Sometimes we don’t use hardly any entertainment money and end up using it for a nice dinner for the two of us.  We try to be flexible with the entertainment money (example: it often feeds my husband’s Sbux addiction)
  • Be Disciplined: Getting used to always having your envelopes with you or remembering them when you are heading to a restaurant can be tough and take some getting used to.  But if you are disciplined, you will see how much you can save on food when you plan ahead and only pay out of the envelope.

We do all of these things so that we can pay a good deal of money on the debt each month.  We do save money and we are going against Dave when we take vacations but we are still paying a significant amount to loans (hello, $9,000!  Thanks Uncle Sam!).  However, once we do pay for the initial costs of the trip (hotel and transportation) the hubs and I put aside some of our entertainment money and plan on how to pay for food in cash.  We want to make sure we aren’t using credit cards to pay for our trip.

Since we pay for all of our food and entertainment in cash, we do end up with a lot of change.  All of that goes into our coin jar.  It’s pretty large and it may not seem like the coins amount to much but we rolled all the coins tonight and had $60 in coins!  We still had some left over that didn’t make a full roll so those carry over to our next trip.  When you start to think about it, that is $60 that we have saved since our last vacation.   In fact, that is how I paid for my wedding present to my husband.  I rolled almost $200 in coins!

Rolled CoinsDoesn’t seem like $60 does it?

Putting all of our change into our coin jar seems like such a small thing but when you see it really add up, it’s so nice!  We try not to touch it during the year so that we have a good payoff right before a vacation.  My favorite part of saving money like this is you don’t even have to think about it.  It really takes NO effort!!!

*Also, don’t use services like CoinStar because they will take almost 10% of what you put in!  By taking a little extra time and rolling it yourself you can save a TON of money.  One package of coin rollers is only $1-2 and we are still using them a year later!

Have you ever tried saving coins?  How do you creatively save money?

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