Welcome to the weekend! We made it! Now, how do we enjoy these wonderful days of fall – and upcoming holiday shopping seasons – without blowing the budget? Here are two tips:
FOR THE SAVER: ROUND UP EVERY SPENDING TRANSACTION
Okay, admittedly this tip will not work for the people who have to always balance their checkbooks to the penny. I have never been one of those people. I do keep a check register, but I always use whole numbers (no cents). I enter the deposit amounts in whole numbers, rounding down to the nearest dollar. Then I record all other transactions (debit, check, fees, automatic drafts, etc.) and round those amounts up to the nearest dollar. Thankfully, with the advent of online banking, I can check my balance and transactions as often as I like to make sure I don’t miss anything important. And I have found that investing in duplicate checks saves me money in the long run – in the form of insufficient funds fees that I used to incur when I forgot to write down a check.
By rounding up each withdrawal from my account, I create a “cushion” of savings that slowly builds over time. We live paycheck to paycheck in this house so we have never been able to stay disciplined with our savings. The round-up method allows me to have a little extra – sometimes just a few extra dollars makes a difference. At some times, I have had a $20 cushion before I added it back into the balance to cover an extra expense. I know one person who did this for years, and when she finally sat down and really balanced her account, she had enough for a down payment on her car! As I said earlier, this idea will not appeal to everyone, but it works for me.
FOR THE SPENDER: AMAZON MOM
First of all, you do NOT have to be a mom to join Amazon Mom. That being said, it is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Let me tell you why:
- Enrollment in Amazon Mom is free. It is open to everyone – moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, people who have friends who have kids, people who need to buy a baby shower gift… anyone, really.
- With your first Amazon Mom purchase (in departments pertaining to babies and children – a wide selection of products), you receive PRIME membership, which equals free two-day shipping! And with subsequent purchases, Amazon will add extra months to your Prime membership for free. Prime membership normally runs $79/year.
- Amazon offers a Subscribe & Save program for items you may need to purchase on a regular basis, like diapers, wipes, and food. You get a 15% discount off the list price for scheduling a Subscribe & Save delivery. (You can choose the frequency of future orders, or you can cancel after one delivery with no penalty.) Then, as an Amazon Mom member, you get an additional 15% discount. Wow! 30% off!
- If you shop Amazon with any frequency, you can save your payment and shipment info, and just use “1-click” ordering. It is literally just one click on the “1-click” button, and nothing else is needed. Best of all, you have one hour after you have placed your 1-click order to modify or cancel your order.
- To really maximize your savings, I suggest subscribing or “following” some couponing bloggers – they stay on top of all the deals and will alert their readers to the best Amazon deals. Prices on Amazon change often – sometimes more than once in a day – so time is of the essence if you are looking to score some really deep discounts. Here are three of the bloggers that I follow for Amazon deals: The Thrifty Couple, Faithful Provisions, Baby GoodBuys.