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17
Jun

Frugal Friday – Every Dollar and Focus Groups

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

Every Dollar and Focus GroupsIt has been awhile since I did a frugal friday share but I am really trying to amp up my frugality and finance savvy recently. Primarily I am so obsessed with all things finances because we bought our house last year a bit before we were ready. We caught house fever as Dave Ramsey would say. We let emotions and a wee bit of anger about our rent going up make us jump into a big decision.

I love our house and I do not think we have bought a money pit or anything but we just should have waited until we met some other financial goals first.

In the past six months I have managed to pay off both of my cars, build up an emergency fund, cash flow a vacation to Florida (Disney & Universal), and pay down some other debt. We have definitely made traction but it is just going too slow! We have to get gazelle intense.

This week we got notification that our mortgage payment was going up by $265 a month! Say what???!

After a phone call to the company they explained that our homeowners insurance doubled (they don’t have to notify us), the required FEMA flood insurance went up a small bit, and they increased the PMI payment, saying the amount on our loan paperwork had been a mistake. Well, they gave in and fixed the PMI issue since they agreed to that amount and cannot change it after the contract is signed. If we hadn’t called or fought it though they would have gotten away with it! We also hustled and changed homeowner’s insurance and car insurance. The homeowner’s is still about $300 more than last year’s but it is far better than double. And we did file a large claim last year which resulted in us getting a brand new roof (valued at about 14k). We opted to reduce our car insurance to liability only and self insure a replacement. That saves us about $560 a year on that. So all in all we may come out a bit better off but the experience was downright scary and showed me that we need to make more progress with our financial goals.

One thing that is really helping is the Every Dollar program. It took me awhile to plunk down the $100 to get the paid version but it is so worth it. Now I can really track every penny and the time investment is almost nothing. I use the software to make a new budget every month and every transaction is entered automatically. Love it!

Frugal Wins:

  • Participated in a focus group and earned a $100 gift card, which I then used to pay my cell phone bill.
  • Packed a lunch to work all week!
  • Saved on groceries by planning more simple, summery foods and fewer meatcentric crockpot meals.
  • Sent away two Menard’s rebates worth $25. I usually forget!
  • Harvested radishes, lettuce, parsley, and cilantro from our garden.
  • Worked overtime four days this week.

Frugal Fails:

  • Not my failure but we did recently lose a rather large work bonus because our oldest child stuck the wrong car keys in my purse and without their keys “someone” missed work as a result. Ouch! Thankfully I don’t budget for or rely on those bonuses.
  • I spent way too much last week in the cafe at my work.

Hoping for more successes this week!