First of all, that piggy bank might have been the best $2 purchase I ever made in Target. But before we get to that…
As I had mentioned previously, Mike and I are facing a new adventure in our life – home ownership. And while it has been just a rush of excitement (and anxiety) we are finally starting to settle down two months after moving in. With the settling, we have also experienced a crashing reality check.
You see, while we purchased a co-op for a lower price than a home so our mortgage is fairly reasonable, our monthly maintenance fees alone come to about $1600. When we now add our mortgage into the picture, that’s $2900 that just flies out of our bank account at the beginning of every month.
While we knew how much living here would cost, it still did not lessen the blow of seeing almost half of our paychecks disappear. Especially when we had gotten so accustomed to only paying $1700 for rent the last couple of years (some of you may laugh when seeing only $1700 but that’s NYC rent controlled apartment for you.)
Now you may say, OK, well you still have the other half of your pay checks, right? WRONG. Between student loans, bills, and some new acquired credit card debt thanks to the renovations that occurred, our monthly savings has basically been extinguished. But while this may have been something that would have put me down in the past, I am just going to accept it (after all crying about it isn’t going to change anything) and just learn to get creative. After all, the end result is that I now have a beautiful co-op that I own in one of the most expensive places in the U.S. so that means I am just going to need to compromise and here’s how:
1.Eating Out Less
Listen, at the end of the day, I like to cook. I really do. But after commuting to and from the city all day and putting in 8 hours of work, you can’t blame me for choosing to eat out a couple of days during the week so as to not run home and try to figure out what to put together. The problem with that is that we are not only wasting away money for dinner, but because we went out to eat, I did not prep any food for lunch the next day either. So that one dinner out now costs us lunch the next day as well.
So I am going to be smarter and I am going to plan my meals on the weekend. By having a go to list of meals and ready to go ingredients in my kitchen, I’ll be able to take the some of the pressure off of figuring out what to make each night. Plus, it will also provide me with the opportunity to ensure that I cook enough for lunches the next day.
And plus, plus – I have been meaning to truly watch what I eat so being in charge of all my meals should give me that extra boost I need to make sure I am eating healthier.
2.Getting Creative on Date Night (or as I like to call it, the weekend)
Michael and I like to spend our weekends doing something, always. We are not a sleep in bed all day kind of couple (although I probably could have been if not for him). The point is we always need something to do and “doing things” in general could get expensive. So we got creative. Because the fall is our favorite season, but we don’t really have the funds to spend on buying decorations at the moment, we decided to get crafty. We visited an arts and crafts store and bought a bunch of these skulls (unpainted) for less than a dollar each. Michael already had paint at home, so we spent the evening painting and decorating our skulls. We let a couple of people know about it and next thing we know we have a skull decorating party planned for next weekend with some of our family and friends.
3.Don’t Scoff at the Change
Now to bring back that piggy bank. I hate carrying change around. So when I saw that cute little guy in Target, I decided that I could definitely use home so I brought him home with me and we have spent the last 6 months just collecting our change in there. Finally yesterday, when we couldn’t fit another coin in there, we found our local Coin Star machine and went to go exchange our coins for cash. As it turns out, the machine would take about 11% of whatever the amount was in coins before giving us cash but we found that if we chose to get a gift card, we would get to keep the full amount. So what site do we do most of our shopping? Amazon. So we selected the Amazon gift card and after 5 minutes of have the machine sift through our coins, we left with $115 now available to us through Amazon.com.
The point is, budgeting doesn’t mean the end of our life. I hope I was able to provide you with some decent advise and I’ll be keeping you updated on everything else we try to do to save some money, while enjoying life ❤