Category Archives: Monthly Tally

#CentsAbility Challenge Complete-ish. Financial Literacy Tune-Up Required!

#CentsAbility Mission Complete-ish Christa Clips Save-at-Home-MomMy 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!”Instagram Collage Christa Clips Save-at-Home Mom #CentsAbility Challenge

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!

October Tally: oh how I love Shoppers Drug Mart!

imageMy October Coupon Tally has almost reached the half way mark and I’m happy to report that by just using coupons, I’ve saved over $180 so far this month!  Couponing plays a substantial part in my new role as a Save-At-Home-Mom and I spent about half an hour this weekend prepping my list & coupons in my binder, and then an hour at Shoppers Drug Mart carefully executing the plan on the spreadsheet.   Many would question whether it’s worth the effort, but by my calculations, I saved $182.94 with coupons and sale prices during that hour and a half – that’s $121/hr!

My trip to Shoppers Drug Mart on Sunday cost me 70% less than if I’d bought these items at full price and without coupons, and that doesn’t even include the $20 in gift cards that were being offered to those who spent $75 or more.  (I say “being offered” because unfortunately our store ran out 2 hours before I got there and I missed out on the perk.)  You can read all about my trip to Shoppers Drug Mart in my post on Canadian Coupons.net.  We also saved $6 at the movies by using another coupon from my Entertainment Coupon Guide – love love love that book and the we all enjoyed seeing Disney’s Brave on the big screen!

Here’s my monthly tally so far:

Day 1 – 12 coupons used for $13.96 in savings (see post)

Day 2 – 13 coupons used for $62.85 in savings (see post)

Day 4 – 1 coupon used for $1 in savings (see post)

Day 5 – 6 coupons used for $7 in savings (see post)

Day 6 – 7 coupons used for $14.99 in savings

Day 7 – 1 coupon used for $6 in savings (see combined Day 6-7 post)

Day 11 – 9 coupons used for $29.95 in savings (see post)

Day 14 – 22 coupons used for $45.50 in savings (check out my Coupon Tally.pdf file for complete details of today’s shopping trip)

Month to date:  $181.25 saved by using coupons

Extreme?  I dunno.  But for a Save-At-Home Mom trying to stretch our earnings as far as possible, I’m pleased with the numbers.

October Tally

I’m still keeping close track of the coupons I’ve used this month to help measure just how valueable couponing is to my Save-At-Home-Mom equation.  I used 9 coupons today (which certainly didn’t take me a full hour to print, sort, or clip) and I saved $29.95 on top of sale prices and reduced-to-clear markdowns.  In isolation, that works out to almost $30 an hour.  I can live with that!

Here’s how my month is shaping up so far:

Day 1 – 12 coupons used for $13.96 in savings (see post)

Day 2 – 13 coupons used for $62.85 in savings (see post)

Day 3 – nadda!

Day 4 – 1 coupon used for $1 in savings (see post)

Day 5 – 6 coupons used for $7 in savings (see post)

Day 6 – 7 coupons used for $14.99 in savings

Day 7 – 1 coupon used for $6 in savings (see combined Day 6-7 post)

Day 8 – Happy Thanksgiving – no shopping for me today!

Day 9 – no shopping

Day 10 – no shopping

Day 11 – 9 coupons used for $29.95 in savings (check out my Coupon Tally.pdf file for complete details of today’s shopping trip)

Month to date:  $135.75 saved by using coupons

The new flyer weeks starts tomorrow.  Can’t wait to match up the sales with my coupons to see what savings are in store for next week!