Saving To Rebuild Our Emergency Fund

Source: Flikr

Source: Flickr

With the new year, hubby and I really have to ramp up our emergency savings. We had a small savings set aside before baby girl was born but I was put off work six weeks earlier than we were expecting due to some pregnancy complications. It was stressful to say the least but I was physically unable to do my job anymore so I didn’t have a choice, sucking it up for the reminder wasn’t even an option.

Since we’re experimenting with a cash budget we toyed with the idea of withdrawing the cash for our savings as well and set the money aside each week, especially since I wanted to try the 52 week savings challenge that is floating around the web.

I quickly saw the flaws in this plan and decided it probably wouldn’t be a smart idea to have cold hard cash floating around our home. What if we had a fire? What if something happened to us outside of the home and we couldn’t get to it? Needless to say, using a savings account to save our money makes much more sense.

We’re in the process of deciding what type of account to use since there are so many options. We also need to decide to use our normal bank or an online type of account where the money wouldn’t be as easily accessible, either way our money will be much more secure in a bank account than under our mattress!

When I was reading Gail’s book she has a rule that states ”if you’d pick it up off the ground then it’s worth it” I’m paraphrasing, but her point remains that people often pass up on opportunities…like gaining interest in a savings account for emergency funds…I could say, I’d only gain like $30.00 a year in interest (or whatever) so I’m not going to bother, since it’s only $30.00; but if I saw $30.00 laying on the ground you better believe I’d pick it up so why wouldn’t I put my money into a savings account where I can gain interest, even if it’s $5.00 a year, I’d pick any amount off the ground so I’ll take it!

For people who have emergency funds established, what type of account are they in? Who else loves the ‘pick it up off the ground’ rule?

Save Money Washing Your Gonchies

Woman-wash-tub

Source: Brayola.com

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes they could snap their fingers and have the house magically clean itself. I don’t really mind doing chores I just hate how much time it takes and how expensive it can be. Especially laundry.

Unless you wear disposable underwear in which case you’re spending a small fortune already, laundry is a necessity. A friend of mine recently made a comment about how she loves having ”free laundry” at her house. No she doesn’t have to put money into the machine anymore to make it turn on, but she now has to pay a water bill and use power to operate her machines. Even after I brought these points up she still saw it as ‘free’…

Here are a few ways to save some serious dough on everyday laundry loads:

  • Use cold water, it’ll still get your clothes clean I promise! I only use hot-hot-hot water for my work scrubs- I need as much germ-killing power as possible when I come home with multiple peoples blood and saliva splattered all over me.
  • Line dry when the weather is nice. And yes, you can still use your outdoor line for some winter days!
  • Energy efficient appliances will go a long way. Our washer has a water level sensor so we don’t have to pick a load size. It senses how much water to pour in when the machine starts. Our dryer has a similar sensor only staying on until the clothes dry rather than setting it on a timer for something like 45 mins. This saves water and power. Not to mention newer models are more energy efficient, period. I honestly think one of the best ‘investments’ one can make for their house is energy efficient appliances but it doesn’t have to have every bell and whistle. When we went out looking for ours we were immediately shown the $2000.00+ pairs that woke me up in the morning and made me breakfast in bed. I explained that I had a husband to do that for me and was really only interested in a pair that would wash and dry my clothes in a reasonable time, for a reasonable price and not set me back a boatload of money. We found and energy efficient pair for less than $800.00.
  • Look for the lines! Only use the recommend amount of laundry soap. When doing a load of laundry do not fill the liquid soap to the very top and pour it in! Have you ever actually looked inside the measuring top and see the recommend markings (which usually vary from 1-4)? They’re usually so impossible to see people don’t bother looking for them and pour way more in than they need. You end up spending way more money than needed. Liquid laundry soap is so concentrated it takes very little to effectively wash your clothes.
  • DIY your own detergent if you feel so inclined. My time is worth so much more than the effort required I personally couldn’t be bothered but kudos to those that do. Conveniences like Tide were invented for a reason. I shop the sales instead.
  • Only run the machines when you have a full load, yes you save water by doing a small load (especially if you have a sensor machine) but you need to run the power twice.
  • Run your machines on off-peak hours (when power rates are likely lower). For us it’s between 6pm and 6am which works fine since I usually don’t get around to laundry until baby has gone to bed or I get home from work.

Have I missed any tips for laundry that you do which I haven’t mentioned? Am I the only one who thinks the word ‘panties’ is sort of creepy?

Paying More For Loyalty?

I’m guest posting today over at Canadian Budget Binder…head on over and check it out!

I have been faithfully going to my hairdresser for 10 years. What’s even crazier is that she has been involved in every major event in my life in these past 10 years; chopping my hair off after I’d grown it out for prom, doing my hair for university formals, being with me on my wedding day and was my first ‘outing’ post baby. I love her, she’s a fabulous person who I consider a friend, but she’s not cheap.

During our 10 year relationship, she’s managed to go from chair rental to buying her own salon and having many employees of her own. I’m proud of what she’s accomplished by her early thirties. With her company growth and normal ‘life inflation’, her prices have gone up significantly. They’re at the point now, especially with us cutting as many costs as possible, that I don’t know if I can continue to see her.

At what point does one stop paying more for a service because of loyalty?

I keep my hair fairly short, getting it cut every six to eight weeks. I don’t spend money on myself, ever, but I like getting my hair cut. I’ve been known to receive gift cards for myself and buy gifts for other people, but in all of my life’s insanity, and there’s been a lot lately, the one small ‘treat’ I allow myself is to see her every few weeks. For a few minutes, I forget my problems, and get prettied up for a few more weeks. Lately this has been pulling my heart strings when I realize what I have to pay.

She’s not outrageously expensive, probably just a little more than a regular cut by most standards, but I have the opportunity to see a friend who can cut my hair, decently, for cheap. She teaches at the local hairdressing school and cuts hair on the weekends. Friends of mine see her and she does good work but I somehow feel like I’m being unfaithful for even entertaining the idea of seeing someone else. Not to mention, I genuinely enjoy the total experience my hairdresser gives me, it’s about more than just getting my hair cut for me.

I have some reservations about seeing someone else because I’m so comfortable with her but my life’s priorities have changed and saving money is more important than getting a haircut by someone just because I like them.

What do you think? Do you pay more for a service because you like the person, knowing there are cheaper options out there with the same (or similar) result?

Photo Source

How Two PF Bloggers Saved Me $420 And Got Me A New Bed!

After reading My Canuk Buck‘s post about negotiating with utility companies I commented that I once called and negotiated a $40/month savings for a year with our local cable/internet provider. I simply argued that the competitor had better rates and we were good customers. That was almost two years ago so I decided after reading this post to push my luck and try again. They wouldn’t do 12 months but I was able to save $30/month for the next six months. That’s $180 they don’t need from me and a whole lot better than nothing!

A few weeks ago, one of my posts was chosen over at Tackling Our Debt‘s blog for weekly reads and in her post, it is mentioned her and her husband were going bed shopping after having issues with their current bed at no cost because their bed had a 10 year warranty. Hubby and I have had some issues with our very-expensive-paid-for-by-insurance-post-flood-bed but I figured we’ve had it for almost three years we’d have to wait and save money for a new one. That was until I read this post. I thought, I didn’t hurt to ask? I called, the mattress rep was on vacation so they asked for some e-mailed pictures instead. I got confirmation this morning that we’re entitled to a brand spankin’ new bed! Hubby and I went and picked it out tonight, not only is this new bed much better for us, it was on super sale! The store is going to mail us a cheque for the difference in price between the two, about $100! Extra happy, ”free” money and we don’t need to prop ourselves up with pillows to sleep anymore!

My super negotiations don’t stop there! Long story short for all you non-Canadians, as you know we have universal healthcare so when we had our daughter in June we didn’t have to pay anything for our week-long stay in the hospital. This is true unless you want a private room upgrade and amenities like wi-fi and TV. These will be billed to your private insurance (unless only these rooms are available, vs semi-private rooms, upon check-in). We requested a private room, expense or not. A month after we were home we received a $140 bill for our room upgrade, an expense I wasn’t expecting since I figured we would have been told our insurance didn’t cover the entire cost prior to check-out. The bill was due this month, I was getting ready to write the cheque when, during my negotiating spree, decided to call. I explained I didn’t think it was fair nothing was said to us prior to check out and we were led to believe we were in the room given to us due to our situation (emergency c/sec), she looked into it, called me the next day and waved the whole amount for us! We don’t have to pay a cent!

To top off my money finding week, I got to partake in a professional survey (for work, about dental products) and they’re paying me $30 for about 10 minutes of my time.

Finally, I dumped all my found change in a coin counter container (anything less than 0.25) and have almost $18 in pennies, nickles and dimes! We’re going to fill the container and decide what to do with it when it’s full, probably something fun since I’m having fun filling it. It will take forever because I very rarely use cash.

So in total, two lovely bloggers helped me save over $420 and get a new bed :) Thank you!

{photo source}

Have negotiations ever worked out well for you? What did you get?