how we are making our money matter

December 13, 2013

It’s the end of the year, which means Christmas shopping and budgeting for next year. For us, it also means that pretty soon we are going to be adding another child to our household and all the costs (*cough* daycare *cough*) that go with it. I have been thinking about money and finances a lot lately: how to save it, where to spend it, and how to make it matter. It’s a never-ending battle.

We’ve been working on paring down our spending for awhile in anticipation of a drastic increase in expenses. Here are some things we’re doing to save:

  • Took a look at all of our recurring bills. Canceled or cut back on the non-necessary expenses (cable, subscriptions).
  • Changed phone plans to one that fits our lifestyle better.
  • Trying our best to be more energy-efficient with the thermostat and electric usage.
  • Set up separate savings accounts for annual expenses (like our HOA dues and Christmas shopping) that we pay into monthly so that we’re not hit with that all at once.
  • We hardly ever eat out, take advantage of lots of meals with family, and eat what we have in the house till we’re desperate (I’m still working on the whole cooking thing though…)
  • No “for fun” shopping, no trips to Target just to get out of the house, and I unsubscribed from all shopping emails and newsletters.
  • Begging for and borrowing hand-me-down toddler/baby clothes and supplies.
  • Set up a “change” jar. It might not seem like much but spare change can add up to pay for little splurges at the least!

spare change

Another thing we’ve done is switch from our traditional bank to a local credit union. I was seriously going over our expenses with a fine-toothed comb, and I noticed that suddenly we were being charged a $10 monthly fee to have our checking account open. When we opened it we got a great deal with no fees and a high interest rate, but slowly all the benefits decreased until they were gone. After doing some research I realized that a credit union was the way to go! Here’s why:

  • They are non-profit! The members are the owners, so all money going in comes back to the members in the form of dividends, rebates, lower interest rates, etc.
  • They are part of the local community so putting your money there helps improve the local economy and infrastructure.
  • They have all the same services of big banks but with no fees and better rates.
  • No worry about convenience because most credit unions are part of a shared branching and ATM network.

We seriously love our credit union and I’m actually mad we didn’t switch earlier!


This post is sponsored by Make Your Money Matter, in association with PSCU, though all views expressed are my own.

Posted in: personal, thoughts

Comments on how we are making our money matter

  1. 1

    From Toni:

    Sounds like you are on it!! Loved your post.

  2. 2

    From Nora:

    You can count on me for a box of hand-me-downs for M again sometime next summer! Happy to share them. I don’t know anyone with little boys, otherwise I’d ask them for their clothes to send you.

    I have really cut back on my “for fun,” shopping and I bring my lunch every day, and if we do eat out we try to pick places that we have coupons for :). We have also started paying more attention to what we leave on when we aren’t in the house and our thermostat usage, too! Any little bit helps

  3. 3

    From Cait:

    Going shopping “for fun” was a hard habit to break, but once I did it was so easy to stay away! It’s like any habit I guess, when you first stop it feels weird/you want to go back to it, but after a while it becomes normal.

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