Our little family planned a getaway for next week during Mal's school break, so when You Need A Budget (YNAB) reach out about partnering on a blog post, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to set some goals and create a vacation savings account for our trip. I actually saw it as a challenge: Let's see how much we can save in 6 weeks! Yayyy!
Never heard of YNAB? Well, it's a personal budgeting web app (with companion apps for Android and iOS). Their software is the best out there, but perhaps even more valuable is their philosophy. They teach "Four Rules" (as well as offer FREE online classes) that absolutely change the way you think about money to help you stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt, and save more money faster:
- Rule One: Give every dollar a job
- Rule Two: Embrace your true expenses
- Rule Three: Roll with the punches
- Rule Four: Age your money
With YNAB, budgeting isn't about restricting. It's about how to do more of the things that matter to you most, but, at the same time, giving you total control of your money. Budgeting with YNAB is FLEXIBLE! Your plans change and you change your mind, so your budget should change too. No big deal, just adjust and move on. It's like YNAB teaches you how to live differently because you're much more aware of where each of your dollars is spent.
YNAB sounds amazing, right? Well, you can get three FREE months to try it yourself just by clicking HERE! No credit card is required to sign up.
Ok, so now that you know what YNAB is all about, here's how we saved $625.15 for our family vacation next week!
We set up a weekly transfer from our checking to our savings account - $300
We saved the biggest chunk of change by scheduling a weekly $50 transfer from our checking account to our savings account. It happened automatically each week, so we didn't even notice the money missing from our checking account and, before we knew it, those transfers really added up!
We used reusable bags and mugs - $1.95
Just in case you didn't know already, you can save $0.05 per reusable bag you use at Whole Foods, Target, and other retailers. It's such an easy thing to do and those nickles sure do add up!
You can also save $0.10 every time you bring a reusable mug to Starbucks.
In 6 weeks, we used 31 reusable bags (yep, I kept track) and 4 reusable mugs for a grand savings of $1.95! Hey, every little bit counts!
I made iced coffee at home - $96
I love iced coffee and drink one every morning with coffee that I brew at home. In 6 weeks, I went through about 2 pounds of coffee from Marylou's, which means I made about 32 iced coffees at home. I wasn't purchasing iced coffee every morning (at about $3 a pop), so I saved approximately $96. As you can see, those babies really add up!
We shopped our pantry and freezer - $40
Instead of getting take-out (i.e. burritos, pizza) or hitting up the hot bar at Whole Foods, we "shopped" for dinner in our cabinets and freezer and made due with what we had on hand. It's tough to come up with an exact amount of savings for this one, but there were two specific times that we considered ordering take-out, but then we decided to throw together dinner at home. We estimated that we saved about $20 each time.
I gave myself manicures and pedicures at home - $85
My favorite nail place charges $30 for a gel manicure and $25 for a pedicure. I gave myself two gel manicures and one pedicure at home over the course of 6 weeks (dang, mani/pedis are an expensive treat), so I saved about $85. FYI: I've had the Red Carpet Manicure Kit for years now and use it ALL the time! It's some of the best money I've ever spent.
We used Ebates to shop online - $2.20
Hey, every dollar counts, right? And Ebates is so simple to use. I mean, it's money in your pocket for shopping online, which you probably already planned to do. In 6 weeks, I made an easy $2 bucks.
We enjoyed happy hour at home - $100
Oh, how we love happy hour. But, it's definitely an expensive outing when a couple of drinks leads to appetizers and sometimes dinner for the whole family. We enjoyed a couple of happy hours at home instead of going out, so we estimate that we saved about $50 each time. And, truthfully, happy hour at home was a lot more fun!
Total saved for our vacation: $625
***Get three months free of YNAB by clicking here! No credit card is required to sign up***
Question of the Day
What money saving tip do you regularly rely on?