Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saving the Moola: February in Review

February was such a busy, crazy month for us in terms of our work and personal lives! And despite the fact that it's the shortest month of the year, we made some great strides that I'm excited to share.

In February, we started using Target's REDcard to save five percent on all our purchases. This card is linked directly to our checking account, so no credit is needed. I love this card and highly recommend anyone to sign up for one if you shop at Target regularly.

We started buying groceries once a month, then shop weekly for just produce items. This has helped us to stretch our grocery budget even further and has saved us, most importantly, time. We are continuing this through March, though tweaking how I build our grocery lists slightly. We will be grocery shopping this weekend at Meijer, Sara Lee, Aldi and Walmart, then shop weekly at Meijer. This is the same as we did in February, but I'm working on my skills as a menu planner and grocery list maker. We hope improving my skills on those two items will help our grocery budget even more.

The reactions we received from a post we wrote about the most important money lesson ever truly inspired me and was so encouraging! If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, I really think this is one post that everyone needs to read.

Possibly the most exciting change we had in February was officially becoming a one-car family! We sold Jason's car and put that money promptly into savings. His car had been on parking insurance only, and we had not driven it in months. We are excited to have only one car and are considering buying used bikes for tootling around town. Our town has a Walmart, Target, Walgreen's, Michael's, KMart, a library, a post office, our church, various restaurants, a downtown area, etc. so using bikes would be a great way to cut down on our car usage. We're looking to buy used first to be sure this is something we want to commit to, then later we may buy new.

I am super excited to report great news on our savings goals! We're saving 10% of our income each month to build an eight-month emergency fund, and we have not deviated from this at all. That is fantastic. We also were saving what we can safely predict Jason to earn in one month (his income fluctuates), and I'm so, so happy to report that we have already met this goal! I thought this would take us half a year, and it only took us two months. And the even better news is that Jason already has his schedule for March, and his income in March will be more than what we predict for him to earn each month! So for the near future anyway, we won't need to dip into our savings here. Our next savings goals are to save money for our summer vacation, which will be very, very modest, our staycation in the fall, which will also be modest, and we will throw any other extra money at my student loans.

Through February, I have also been saving money that falls into my lap into a special envelope that is earmarked for a specific item I am saving up to buy for our household. I sold three jars of jam, and that money went promptly into my envelope. This is growing a little bit slower than I thought - I did so well in January but then I ended up spending a little bit of money I had saved in February! Whoops. I'm hoping to save a bunch in March, though, and I've also been doing comparison shopping online. It looks like I might be able to get the item for three-fourths of what I had planned, so that will help a lot! My original goal was to purchase this item by October, but now I'm hoping to get it by June. We shall see!

Share with us: How are your savings goals going? We'd love to hear!


Kim said...

Hello! I have just found your blog (maybe from Pinterest?)and I am thoroughly enjoying it! I know you are from my area because of the Meijers, and that makes it all the better! I give you both kudos for your frugal ways and for sharing those with the rest of us. I haven't had a chance to read some of your older posts, but I am enjoying what I have read so far! I applaud your savings methods and wish you continued success! Keep up the great job guys!

Jess and Jason said...

Hey Kim! Thanks for your encouragment - we sincerely appreciate it. We're glad you're enjoying so far. If you're on Facebook, it would be great if you "liked" our page. Each weekday, we offer a tip of the day and a quote of the day, along with whatever else strikes our fancy.