Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Organizing Our Money

Over the last year we have been spending money like we were actually employed. I was getting $900 every two weeks for 1 year on maternity leave from the government but other than that we just few a hundred dollars coming in randomly (bookkeeping job, interest from a loan we lent, income tax return). We never went into debt BUT we used quite a bit of our savings.
Now Scott is employed! Working as an intern for the government. Amazing experience but little pay. I'm currently updating my resume and already have found child care for Boston starting July 4.
I realized we (okay, mostly me) need to get on top of our money and spending! I have always wanted to do money jars just never got around to it. My favourite money show is Till Debt Do Us Part (it aires on a few different channels and a few different versions including Home Edition and Princess Edition). Gail always sets up each couple with money jars. Starting TODAY I have taken away our bank and visa cards and we are a officially a money jar family! Is anyone already doing money jars and have any great tips?

To set up our money jars I first set up a budget worksheet a lot like Gail's found here. I will admit that I am kind of a geek when it comes to spreadsheets. I have had an excel spreadsheet budget for many years. I can tell you exactly how much we spend and on what. You think the numbers would have scared me to go to money jars sooner, but at the end of the day we always found the money. Sadly looking back, I cant believe how much money we could/should have saved!

Next I took baby food jars that I was saving. I used WD40 to take off all the glue from the labels. If you haven't tried this before, it works! Just spray onto the glue, wait a minute or two. Scrub off and if glue remains, spray again.

I then spray painted the lids a fun yellow that I had from a pervious project. I thought about creating cute labels with my cricut but for now I just used my label maker to print out my categories.

I have a good friend that is going through some hard money times and she listed on her blog some great points that she is started off with to get out of debt. My favourite ones that got me really thinking are 1. Plan your weekly meals around what is on sale in the flyers. Too bad flyers don't come around lately...  but I can go online. 2. Gives yourself a time limit on the amount of time spent at the grocery store. Love this idea. I am one of those shoppers that stores love. I take my time... going around Superstore and Walmart looking at what is new. 3. Fill up your gas tank on cheap days. Didn't even know there was such thing!

Another friend of mine started a blog a few months ago called Sexy Savvy Saving Mom. Take a look at some of her past post. Amazing tips! She has done post like Eating on a $350 a month budget, Saving with Baby and many more helpful posts.

I feel like if I share my struggles with money, I might be able to stay more committed. I love when Gail on Till Debt Do Us Part makes the couples tell their families how much debt they are in. Most of the time they have hid it from their families and close friends. By coming clean their families/friends are more likely to stop asking them to host big parties, go out for dinner, ect. I am going to make a commitment that every month I will tell everyone how my progress is going. My goal is to save enough money that when we are done with Regina, we will have a nice downpayment for a HOUSE back in Alberta! Oh how I dream of a house!

If you have had any success or failures saving money! I would love to hear about it. Leave me a comment below!


  1. We've been using money jars for Food, Gas, and Baby Supplies for a couple of years now. It is REALLY working for us! We manage to keep our grocery bill WAY down when we're watching what we buy each month. We use a spreadsheet too ; )

  2. Ohhhhhh I love what you and Allison are sharing!!! Keep it coming.
    Who knew about the WD 40......I am going to be using that tip today. I kind of want some cute money jars now or I was even talking about teaching our girl about tithing for FHE and those jars will be perfect.
    I have loads of tips for paying down a mortgage that I will have to message you with soon. We will have our 25 yr mortgage paid off in about 10 years total! I am a huge flyer shopper (online or paper). I always bring the kids with me to the store which sends me flying through the store! I try to avoid "window shopping" since I always buy when I do! I really try to avoid costco more than once a month (always costs way more than expected if not). Garage sale finds that I revamp really keeps my crafty side in check for what I spend. I too try to avoid eating out and only go with a coupon or groupon! We would love to go on a fabulous vacation (or lots of them) but I know by not doing things like that yearly we save a lot as well.
    Can't wait to hear about your adventures!

  3. If you do ever go back to credit cards, we use a PC card so it has no fees and we get can redeem our points when we shop for money off our bill. We always pay off our card every month and put everything on it so that the points really add up and I can redeem points often!
    I know PC is a pain to bank with but it is worth it for us. We also have friends that have travel credit cards and redeem points for many options out there. (The secret is to NEVER carry a month over on your card!)

  4. Money jars are such a good idea!!! The one thing I do, and always balance a spreadsheet check book...I guess that is what we could call it. My husband gets paid once a the beginning…and that is our main source of income...I hate it, but have gotten used to it. I get paid every two weeks with my jobs, but they only help a bit. So what I do is write down everything that has to come out of my account, on a separate sheet of paper, then on my balance sheet I put down what we got paid, then take EVERYTHING out...even if the bill doesn't come out until the 23rd of the month, if I take it out at the beginning, I know there will be money then. Then I go off that sheet to see how much we have left...I do balance it to my online banking...but I never go off the balance actually sitting in my bank. That money is spoken for and one of my biggest fears is bouncing a payment! Does that make sense? Someone also told me to save as much as we pay in you know that ideally 20% is gone each month...we haven't been able to do that...but we try and I think that is the point!

  5. Oh and I agree with the last comment...we didn't have a credit card for the 1st four years of our marriage...but unfortunately, that is one of the only ways to build good we found one that has 1% cash back on ALL purchases...and each quarter they have 5% cash back on certain things that kind of go with the around Christmas it is anything bought in a department store...right now it is home and garden, in the summer it is gas, hotels and flights...and then almost every month I am able to redeem that cash back for gift cards to target where we do most of our grocery shopping...all the little things help!!! We pay off our total balance each month as well..

  6. Oh and it doesn't have a yearly fee...we also just got a Costco American back, no yearly fee...and we are executive members and we get a check back every year, which usually pays our membership fee!

  7. Love all the tips and comments. I remember one of my yw leaders had money jars (remember her talking about it form a lesson) and I always loved the idea! I think it's so important to watch spending cause it really can get carried away quickly. I can't think of any great or amazing tips to share like everyone else, but I always try to think if I really need something before I buy it or if I already have something I could use instead. There are so many fun decorating things around, but like Sheri's often more fun to reinvent something you already have or find second hand. And there are definitely great ways to pay off mortgages faster...sooooo important!! Meal planning and freezer meals are great.... Random thoughts from me today :)

  8. I love this idea! How cool is it? I saw on Nester's site that you fell in love with her striped drapes too. If you are interested, I just made my own version for my living room. Here's the tutorial I made about it. Hope you like it!


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