As part of Financial Literacy month, @CommonCentsMom & I are diving in deeper and exploring different options for gaining more control over what we know about our money, and which resources and institutions are available to help us secure our financial futures. This week we’re exploring Credit Unions as a credible alternative to traditional banking. This video by Education Credit Union is a fun comparison of banks, credit unions and piggy banks!
My goal for the Manulife 30-Day #CentsAbility Challenge was to measure my monthly successes and savings, down to the penny. I happily snapped photos of my savings strategies and frugal lifestyle hacks and shared them on Instagram and Twitter, then celebrated the tiny daily achievements of the other #CentsAbility challengers with hearts, thumbs & stars (that’s how us bloggy-types operate!).
- I saved money by using coupons and price-matching with Flipp at the grocery store
- I saved money by washing our laundry in cold water during off-peak hours and hanging it out to dry
- I saved money by working from home and thereby avoiding daycare fees, the cost of commuting, having a professional wardrobe, etc,
- I made extra money by selling our stuff on UsedOttawa.com
Saving was a cinch! Measuring all of those savings, however, turned out to be a very unmanageable goal …. and almost impossible to calculate! Turns out there isn’t an app that says “Way to go, Christa, you just saved $4 by showering your kids at the YMCA after swimming lessons and taking advantage of the towel service included in your membership!”
Something that became glaringly obvious to me, when I lined up all my Instagram photos in my mid-challenge blog post with $2 saved here, and $6 saved there, was that my savings are on a really SMALL scale. And while I’m a firm believer in “it all adds up”, the #CentsAbility challenge has reminded me that I need to take a second look at some of the bigger pieces in our monthly budget.
It’s time for a Financial Literacy Tune-Up
October was a month of #CentsAbility and monitoring my day-to-day spending habits. I’m devoting the next few months to assessing and changing some of the services we’re paying for each month in our household so that I really understand where my money is going. The fact that November is Financial Literacy Month is perfect timing! There are oodles of resources and #FLM2014 reminders floating around to help me make sure that I’m not wasting money on these bigger budget pieces, and that I’m tapping into the right resources to stretch my savings even further. As such, it’s time for a Financial Literacy Tune-Up!
My Financial Literacy Tune-Up to-do-list includes:
- trim our satellite channels to the bare minimum
- research Netflix and online streaming as an alternative to satellite in 2015
- check my internet & home phone bundle to find possible savings
- research options to cut home phone land line in 2015
- touch base with Insurance Broker to find possible savings, including bundling life insurance
- touch base with Mortgage Broker to find possible savings
- connect with a financial advisor to review longterm savings strategies
- research credit union or change of bank to save on fees
- increase automatic savings contributions
- research tankless water heaters so we can cut our monthly hot water tank rental
I’m not sure how long it will take me to get through the entire list, and I suspect the list will grow as I discover other monthly charges that have been coasting under my radar over the past few years. I’m grateful to the #CentsAbility challenge for inspiring me to dig a little deeper into my Save-at-Home-Mom strategy to make sure that I’m saving on all levels and stretching those savings as far as possible by tapping into resources available.
So as the 30–Day #CentsAbility challenge comes to a close, I’m ready to start my next challenge, to make sure I’m #DiligentWithMyDollars. Any words of advice? Or at least a catchier hasthtag?! Drop a line in the comments below!
As part of the Manulife 30-Day #CentsAbility Challenge, I’ve been snapping photos of my daily efforts to save money and cut splurges for the month of October. Along with my fellow #CentsAbility challengers, I post my pictures along with a money saving tip to Instagram and Twitter (are we following each other?). Here are some of the ways I’ve saved money and lived a more “CentsAble” lifestyle since October 1st ….
There are still 11 days to go in the challenge and so far I’ve done well with resisting the little splurges that can really add up over the course of time. Our Hallowe’en costumes aren’t complete, and we’ll be attending a couple of Hallowe’en parties – let’s see if I can get through it all without blowing the budget! All in all, #CentsAbility has been a fun way to keep track of all the little ways we can save money, and I’ve been inspired to trim our budget even further with the creativity and savvy of the other #CentsAbility posts on Instagram and Twitter.
How do you save?
Drop a line in the comments below, or better yet, snap a photo and join in the Manulife 30-Day CentsAbility Challenge by posting your picture to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hashtag #CentsAbility!