28 September 2010

From Spending to Saving

If you're anything like me, you're a Spender.  Yes, with a capital S.  That's because I can do damage to my bank account without trying too hard.  As a perpetual student I've become dangerously comfortable with a low balance, but as someone who is, by most definitions, an adult, I really should be more sensible about my money.  And so I present to you: Fiscally Responsible October. (Umm.. I'll think of something catchier.  Soon. :wink:)

During the month of October, I will be observing the following money-saving methods and techniques (most of which were recommended by the brilliant Joanna):
  • To limit my eating out, I have purchased gift cards.  I find myself at Dunkin Donuts since it's nearby and has a drive-thru, so I put $20 on the gift card to allow myself one coffee drink a week.  Study groups generally happen at Panera for free Internet and delicious food, so I put $15 on that gift card to allow myself two meals.

  • In order to check my online shopping, I will be adding items to my amazon.com wishlist instead of buying them.  I briefly considered handing my debit card and credit card over to my mother for safekeeping, but since I have both numbers memorized (down to the security codes), it wouldn't have done me much good.  This is part of the "responsible" bit!

  • Similarly, I will be using an app on my phone (ColorNotes, for Droid users) to keep a generic wishlist for items that I see while out shopping and/or am continuously looking for, i.e., white tank tops, a black wool cloche hat, etc.

  • I will be using mint.com to track any spending that I do.  Mint includes useful breakdowns of how you spend your money in pie chart form, as well as customizable monthly budgets.  I've set up budgets before, but nothing is to stop me from exceeding my monthly coffee budget (except a scolding from Mint), so it doesn't work very well for me.  Instead, I'll just use Mint to keep track of my money.  If your bank has an online banking feature, that would work equally well.

  • Cutting back - I downgraded my gym membership from the $20/month option to the $10/month option and am missing none of the perks of the gym.  The only real differences are that I no longer have unlimited guest privileges (sorry, mooching friends!) and can't use the tanning booths for free (unhealthy anyway).  I've also stopped buying books; I've been a member of PaperBackSwap.com for years and by using it, I can get books in excellent to new condition for free - just use your Requestor Conditions!  Sometimes it takes a bit longer to get the book you want, but it's worth it.
These are the promises I've made to myself for the month of October. Hopefully they are changes that will begin in October and stick with me for awhile, helping to change the way I think about money.
What about you? Are you a saver or a spender? If you're a saver, what are your tips & tricks? If you're a spender, have you always been?


  1. Great ideas! I hadn't heard of PaperBackSwap.com before...will have to check it out. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who's completely memorized their credit card info. At one time the security code for one of my cards was 911. How could I not memorize it?!? It seemed perfect for those "shopping emergencies!" lol!
    XO Piper

  2. Having 911 as a security code is the best excuse for spending money. "Well, I HAD to, you see...!" Hahah, perfectly legitimate! ;) Have the best week, love!! xox

  3. These are all great ideas. I'm not really a spender to the point where it's affecting me in a negative way. I'm a huge saver, but props to you for recognizing it and making a strong effort to try and curb that. Good luck!

  4. Oh how I wish I were a saver!! The good in this is that my only credit card is a STORE credit card, so I can't go blow through my credit limit at every store in the mall. This is intentional - you can see why! Money burns a hole in my pocket! Was saving just something you learned from your parents?

  5. You sound like you have a pretty solid plan. In the past I've definitely been a spender. Unfortunately I'm in that limbo of nothing to spend and nothing to save. I won't be here for long (I hope) but it has been good in curbing my spending habits and teaching me about just how little I can live on. I do miss being able to not think about money and doing things but when it comes right down to it, I'm surrounded with great people who love me and I'm doing exactly what I want. I really can't ask for a lot more than that. However, an income would be nice as would a savings plan. ;)

  6. i'm a TOTAL spender - but i've been pretty good at certain thing - like i do NOT go to malls - well maybe 1 time a year - that's it - otherwise i can't control myself - i shop sample sales, discount stores like TJMaxx and stuff ..

    PS - come on by - my first GIVE-AWAY is going on - $45 worth of goodiness!!

    *kiss kiss*
    ~Tiptoe Butterfly~

  7. "We put red AND green grapes in one bowl and then we ate them." So hilarious.

  8. Ahh!! I haven't watched this week's yet - I'm saving it to watch with Boyfriend on Skype haha we're geeks. I take it it's a good one?? :D

  9. I'm glad I'm not alone - I was beginning to think I was the only spender here!! :\ LOVE your blog, thanks for stopping by, Erika! xox

  10. I'm a spender too! :( I can't HELP it; I LOVE stufffff! And snacks!

    I like your ideas, though, you're wicked smart!! Especially the gift card thingy. That's a really good one!

  11. [...] (who doesn’t? ), I’ve never been so reckless with my money.  I even established Fiscally Responsible October!  Because I won’t be able to work during student teaching and I’m not sure how long [...]

  12. Just now reading this, but the gift card idea is GREAT. I really should do that with Whole Foods but gahhh I have a hard time restricting my food purchases! I can so easily restrict clothes, jewerly, purses, shoes...but food calls to me and I justify it by saying it's worth it if I eat it.

    It's not worth it if I have 17 dinner options in my cabinet already!

    So I might have to try this. Will update :)

  13. [...] for awhile. I’m going to be more conscious of how I spend my money (and will use my Fiscally Responsible October tips [...]