Friday, August 11, 2017

Saving To Get What You Want

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you know I am a saver.  I have two accounts, a chequing and a savings.  Every single month on payday (we only pay ourselves once per month) I put a big chunk of money into the savings account.  I record what the fund is made of on a single piece of paper - no complicated effort to be made.  Right now there is a travel portion for our trip to Italy Spring of 2018, Christmas, big bill fund which is for house and car insurance and house taxes, a house repair/furniture/appliance fund, and medical fund for big ticket items like glasses as we self-insure for medical and dental.  If I have one-off items I want to save for I create a new column.

This time of year the Christmas Fund is a priority.  My savings goal is $1000 cash (we give our adult kids cash) and $200 in points/GCs.  Some of that money goes towards paying for travel expenses relating to our December visit to Alberta.  The rest of that visit is paid for in airline and hotel points so I haven't included the actual travel costs.  The C word is four months away and this is where that fund stands:


$144.49 - Points/Freebies/GCs:  I try and save all my freebie gift certificates and points to use in October and November, both for groceries and gifts.

Shoppers Drug Mart Points: $40 worth
PC Plus Points:  $40
Amazon GCs from swagbucks $53
Amazon GCs from ebates.ca $11.49

Cash $800

Total $944.49 saved to date

As you can see it is almost fully funded.  I am very near another $25 GC with Swagbucks and just about have another $10 in PC points.  The remaining cash will be tucked away on the 15th of this month so that by September everything is fully funded for the year.

Every single month I choose a different fund to put the main part of the savings in but make sure to put a little into each fund each and every month, even if it is only $5.  You can't get what you want if you don't consciously make an effort to make it happen.

We use our credit cards for the bulk of all purchases, and save at least $1000 to $2000 per year that way on airline tickets for our kids to see us and for us to fly places.  Once the credit card is charged the funds are immediately used to pay it off.  I pay my credit card 4-5 times per month online therefore it never ever gets too big and I don't pay a single cent per year in interest.  Yes, we have to pay annual fees but only pay one in my name and one in hubby's name which more than pay for themselves.

We have been mortgage free for several years and no longer pay child support now that the kids are adults. We own a nice home and two vehicles, both purchased used and with cash.  I've never bought or leased a brand new vehicle, we have only driven what we can afford to pay cash for.  We live below our means every single day which means there is always some money to put into the different funds.  Even when we had a mortgage and big bills we saved the same way, it just took longer to achieve the goals.

I used to have a friend who was single and she desperately wanted to buy her own home.  She would save up some money but then rack her credit card up eating out and buying new clothes that never seemed to make her happy and would have to rob her home down payment fund to cover her debt.  She always traded in and up on cars and eventually ended upside down on her car loan.   She never got anywhere with her financial goals and still doesn't own her own home, instead pays extremely high rent in a town that actually has affordable real estate.

Are you a saver?  Do you have any tricks to get what you want?



28 comments:

  1. We've been mortgage free for 11 years - hooray!
    If we can't afford something then we don't buy it.
    No credit cards or bank loans ever. Always cash.
    No family alive to lend from - even when they were alive we paid our own way.
    If there's something we want then there's always something we can sell to raise funds (the benefits of being collectors!)
    xxx

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    1. I think people forget that credit cards and bank loans need to be repaid then are devastated when it is hard to do so. Cash is king!

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  2. We are also mortgage free! But then we don't own a house either...!

    Wow. Our lifestyle is so much different than most folks...

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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    1. Yes, it is, but you two live so frugally you will never have to worry about it. You are completely flexible and not "too good" to live in any kind of accommodation. You also are quite willing to switch the country you live in to lower your costs so I have zero worries for you - masters at living below your means.

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  3. We've made financial mistakes-plenty, but hopefully overall have made wise decisions.Cars are different in our family, due to my husbands work, so from the outside, it may look like we do dumb things with cars, but I can live with letting folks imagine they know better.With three kids put through/still to put through, and retirement not too far off, these have been the focus for savings, but also some travel, and home attention. I've learned to look at things via trade offs. Reduce eating out by two meals a month to be able to afford one additional day on vacation as an example.

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    1. Everyone has made financial mistakes! We just are at the age where we finally are ahead of all of that. Cars are different for each family, if work requires a new or leased car then that is completely different! The big thing is not getting upside down on the loan, so many people don't understand that part. We rarely eat out, and most of that money goes to the vacation fund - I totally get that. I would much rather eat at home and have lots of vacations

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  4. I am very much like you in the way you view money and saving although I'm not as good as you at finding thrifted stuff lol. We have no debts mortgage or car loans and save for travel and trips which is not easy now we're both on pensions however it's doable we don't waste money. I too have a friend like you who has a wardrobe full of designer clothes leases a new car every three years at £300 per month has a massive mortgage and has no pension whatsoever. She is now giving twenty thousand pounds to action coach to start a freelance business in the hope it will make her rich so she has money to live on. I don't get it one if the most freeing thing in life is to have a roof over your head that's paid for and no debt I consider myself to be very fortunate and I'm grateful every day.

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    1. I completely agree, something fabulous to know that where you lay your head is 100% yours and paid in full. Our real estate seems to be trending upward about 10% a year, although our taxes will creep up super glad we bought when we did, our money went so much further. Living below your means is so much more important when living on a pension, so sad your friend thinks that giving someone thousands of pounds to tell her how to do business will be the answer. Unfortunately it is more likely she will just end up further in debt.

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  5. Saving? That word sounds SO familiar. Don't tell me. It'll come to me.

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  6. We were debt free for a while, but some dental bills put us back in cc debt again. We could take the money out of savings to pay it off, but we don't want to. Hopefully by the end of the year, we'll be square again. We have no mortgage or car loans, thank goodness, because otherwise we'd starve. It takes two of us working full time jobs to pay what little bills we have because wages are so low here. Groceries are expensive as are all kinds of insurances.

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    1. That dental bill was a whopper, understandable why you want to not take savings out for it. It is not like you charged up a vacation :) Groceries are expensive, seems like they just keep getting more so. It is good that both of you seem to have pretty secure employment now and that your hubby doesn't have to be on the road with shows, great that he found such a good store to sell his pieces.

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  7. We are totally like you and very frugal and live within our means and have always been like that, even when we owned a house. Now we have to be more cautious of what we spend because we only work the 5 months a year and need to save money for the 7 months that we aren't working but are travelling. We always make a game of things and see how much we can save on things as we travel along but still have a fun time.

    There are so many people out there that need to learn from your ways and then they would be able to afford the things they want/need. Keep on doing what you are doing, it is working great for you!

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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    1. I honestly think you two are two of the most frugal people I have ever seen, yes, you don't own a home but you are nomads living on whatever you make wherever your heart takes you. Most people wouldn't know how to stay on budget that way.

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  8. We are pretty much like you in most ways. I don't have specific funds for specific purposes although I used to when things were tough. We live frugally and only live on so much year after year. It never varies and it always works out at year end. We has used credit cards to collect points for years and always pay with credit but also always pay the card down with each statement. We have earned enough points to travel to Italy next May business class there and back. You are fortunate that your hubby travels so much that you are able to rack up points, a nice side benefit.

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    1. Good for you! Hubby does travel a lot but most of our points are just for using the credit card. We have enough for 2 tickets to the Caribbean (maybe in 2019) or 1 and a bit to Europe, although with 4 of us going to Italy it might be cheaper to get a seat sale than use points (they still make you pay tax and surcharge)

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    2. We used our Aeroplan points and I had heard about the expensive taxes, etc. It all depends on which airline you book. Had I used mostly Air Canada and Lufthansa our cost return for 'free ' tickets would have been close to $3000.00 or a bit more. I got our outbound for $137.16 and the return for $485.64, a total of $622.80. The Aeroplan person on the phone commented on the great deal I had put together. I will admit that it took days and days of searching online and tricking the system. We do have to overnight in Toronto on the way home but $100.00 at an airport hotel is still a good deal.

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  9. Best ever thrift tip: Live below your means! ;->

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

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    1. Yes, you are right, that is truly the magic answer!

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  10. Dear Cheapchick,

    What credit card(s) do you hold?

    I have a Canadian Tire World Mastercard, PC Financial and TD Visa Cashback and none of them have annual fees.

    I'm keeping track this year of how much we earn on each card (charges vary to maximize percentages) and in January will see what card(s) we should hold and what we should put on it.

    I'd been adverse to holding a credit card that has an annual fee but now realize that I should give them a fair shot.

    Congratulations on all that you have achieved!

    Besos Sarah.

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    1. Hi Sarah! Hubby as the RBC Avion (best card ever!) which we use for most of our large expenses and all his business expenses. They are the absolute best, easiest way to book flights as you can book anything with zero blackouts. He's had it for about 15 years now and loves it. I have the BMO Airmiles mastercard but am thinking about getting rid of it as airmiles are requiring so many more miles to get places these days. If I do get rid of it I likely will replace it with the PC Plus Mastercard since we do most of our shopping at Loblaw stores for groceries. I do like the fact that we have a different credit card, Costco recently switched from taking Visa to taking Mastercard so we have our bases covered there.

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    2. Dear Cheapchick,

      Thanks for sharing.

      We don't travel by plane, train or require hotels so travel cards aren't our thing (note that we live in Mexico 4, soon to be 6 months a year but we stay at cash only motels or in our van as we drive the 5,000km!!!). In addition, we don't make the minimums for many credit cards (although we MIGHT be able to get the PC Financial 20 points card this year!).

      Do you not find the Airmiles "Dream" points useful? I was just in Rona today and received $10 off my purchase (we also have a Foodland near us). Food is always useful.

      Besos Sarah.

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    3. I don't have airmiles dream but find you need so many miles the program is not what it once was, we don't have many of the stores that you can cash in on the dream here in our town either.

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  11. Im a saver but I am also a renter by choice. Ill have an article on a zero based Christmas soon. Traditionally, I just have had a "sinking fund" without specfic categories but I just changed that in the last couple of months.I think Im gonna "envelope system" savings from nowon although I don't do that spending wise. And yes, most of us need to save to get what we want.

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    1. I think renting later in life is freeing, I can see doing that too.

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  12. Absolutely I am a saver :) I love saving more than I love spending. My trick is to overestimate my bills - then when they are deducted from my chequing account there's always a little leftover to go to savings. Of my overall income over 30% goes directly to savings and I live on the rest. I can usually save a bit extra each month from my misc money and grocery money. It's like a game - I challenge myself to see how far I can stretch my spending money. Am I weird??

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    1. No, not weird, smart, self sufficient and a thinker! You are exactly why people should continue saving in retirement - for all the fun things!

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  13. I have an appointment next Saturday with my bank to pay off my 3rd 10% payment off my mortgage, which means I will pay off a 17 year mortgage in 8 years (I had to take a mortgage out at age 53 to buy my ex out of the house). We had darn good incomes but even they couldn't keep up with my ex' spending. Now I have 50% of the income but money in the bank. I tend to be a "cash" person and a "take your breakfast, lunch and coffee to work" person (I found these to be my biggest savings). They say save on the unimportant stuff but not what makes life worth living. I follow that maxim in that I still travel but life has been so much easier since I have total control of my own salary. Anna

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