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Five Ways A Pizza Delivery Guy and His Family Save Money

Winning with money is hard work. No really. Wise money management goes against the grain. You’ve got to create limits. You have to exercise patience. You have to get creative on cutting costs when it is easier to just buy now, pay later. Wise money management means that you make a plan. A budget. It’s not a theory. It’s not just a good idea. It’s a plan. To win, you execute on the plan. You give every dollar a name and kick problems in the teeth, one by one. Here are five ways Amazewife and I squeeze more out of every pay period.


1) Sinking Funds

Back in our stupid days of money management, we would stumble upon an expense we didn’t expect. These things really were unexpected. Like Christmas. That holiday would sneak up on us every year. And every year we would scramble for hundreds of dollars to meet those expectations. We racked up thousands of dollars over several years in credit card debt. We ended up paying for Christmas months or years after it happened. Sinking funds have started to turn that around. We plan on paying for Christmas months before it happens. Non-emergency vehicle repairs are delayed and paid for in cash. We have an emergency fund for the emergencies. Because of sinking funds, we were able to move this last week and pay movers to do the heavy lifting. Sinking funds provide much needed relief and eliminate surprises. (Sinking Funds are different from Emergency funds. Read about how.)


2) Craigslist

Who is this ‘Craig’, anyway? Whoever he is, I owe him a pizza. He has opened up a system of classified ads through which we have both saved money and made money. Here’s a recent example. Our new kitchen is a little short on counter space. Meredith said she wanted an island or small table of some kind. She shopped.


We had the money but this island represented an opportunity cost. This baby would set us back. So, AW hit Craigslist. She found an island of the same height, same dimensions, without cabinets (which we don’t need) and in good shape. Granted, you have to be careful with furniture. Bedbugs and German roaches are the two biggest, smallest reasons. (I told her to Google what German roach sign looks like. It’s like worm sign in Dune. Nobody needs Shai-hulud bursting out of used furniture.) Total cost? $15, and gas to go pick it up. So, $16. No. Wait. She took the Suburban. $17.


3) “No. We can’t afford it.”

This one is a huge money saver and it is really simple. Read this aloud: “No. We can’t afford it.” Five words. When said in the company of a spouse, one’s own self or multiple personalities, it has an amazing effect. It halts spending. Our restaurant budget is $40/month or less, unless we have something set aside for a birthday. Sometimes we use all of it. With three kids, it can be tempting to use more. One or both of us always says, “No. We can’t afford it.” We have foregone vacations, including this summer. We’ve said ‘no’ to ballet lessons. Ruth is still doing piano and girl scouts and Eva is doing free violin and pre-k. Both girls did free soccer over the summer. (Yep. Free soccer.) 90% of our furniture is used/gifted aside from mattresses and beds. We can’t afford anything else right now. Those words are cost-cutting blades sheathed in $20s.


4) Actually deposit money into savings. $1,000 to be exact.

Copy this one down. Draw big circles around it. Maintain $1,000 cash savings at all times. The $1,000 amount is important. And the savings goes far and above $1,000. Know how? Interest. Credit card interest, that is. If you were to open your wallet right now, you’d find a credit card (unless you’ve followed our example.) And what’s it for? Emergencies. We’ve all had one. The car breaks, it’s an emergency. The tires are bad, it’s an emergency. The home-warranty covered appliance exploded. The deductible is an emergency. You realized Christmas is in December sometime around December again and little Suzy needs toys STAT. It’s an emergency. First off, Christmas presents? Bad tires? Not emergencies. Save up and take care of it. But the deductibles, breakdowns, etc.? $1,000 will cover the vast majority. We have probably saved hundreds if not several thousands in interest and fees on what we would have put on a credit card in the past.


5) Cut the contract and prepay for a quality Smartphone.

Know how much we pay for a smartphone every month? $13.50. Mine is paid for through work. That dollar amount represents Meredith’s phone. $13.50. Republic Wireless. Save up a couple hundred dollars, buy a nice phone, pay between $10 and $30 per month for it and NEVER EVER do a contract ever again. I worked in sales in the cellular industry for five years. The contracts associated with cell phone service are not a benefit to you. They cost you more in the long run by far compared to the service provided. Don’t do it.  


Got more ideas on saving money?

Share away as a comment below or on my Facebook page. Each suggestion will enter your name into a drawing for a free copy of the book that started it all for us: Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.

Come On, RI…

I know. All of these things sound good and fluffy. But sometimes, things go on sale. Or your spouse is inconsiderate. Or the kids are driving you nuts.  You deserve that ice cream. You deserve those shoes. You deserve to eat out. And what about emergencies? The tranny goes out in the ‘94 Rustbucket. The kids throw a ball through a window. The water heater leaks copper-colored, foul smelling jelly and boiling water throughout your house. In today’s world, most of that is going on a credit card and being translated into missed opportunity, stress and long-term debt. As you add these five-plus techniques to your repertoire of money-saving tools, you can kick that mess to the curb and free yourself. The freedom is intense. ROE INTENSE


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