Patting myself on the back

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Patting myself on the back
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 10:38pm
Well, I've been thinking about getting a job babysitting kids lately (after my DD4 starts school this fall), and have been whining about having no car, so I thought I'd sit down to lift my spirits some and think about all I've accomplished since January 2002 when I decided to get debt free ... here goes:

-Cancelled non-basic satellite t.v. to save $50/month

-Quit smoking to save $120/month

-Quit diet coke to save $60/month

-Sold old beater car number one for $100 to junk dealer.

-Save gas and insurance on old beater car #1 for $87/month

-Cancelled high speed internet for dialup to save $40/month

-Cut grocery bill to $110/week, includes diapers, paper good & hygiene products. Saving $200-$300/month! (Keep in mind these are Canadian dollars)

-Cancelled one line of credit and four credit cards. Had to do them one at a time over several months cuz of a fear of not having credit to fall back on!

-Cancelled overdraft on the bank accounts.

-Removed extras on phone service saving $10.00/month

-Removed long distance on phone, bought long distance calling card instead.

-Sold old beater car number 2 for $500 to junk dealer.

-Save gas and insurance on old beater #2 for $250/month & $200 registration fee due.

-Stopped going to convenience store at night for junk food - saving $40/month

I also learned how to calculate the electrical usage of appliances. Figure I'm saving $10/month just by not leaving the coffee pot on all day, and use toaster oven and microwave alot now instead of stove. Trying to hang out clothes on line but the weather has been crappy!

Religiously do a spending plan every month, and stick to it.

Religiously save 1/12th of non-recurring expenses every month, such as property tax, house insurance, heating oil, etc... in a untouchable savings account. Withdrawals on this account require one days notice and cannot be done at a bank machine.

Calculated allowances for personal stuff, family stuff, vacation, clothing, medical, and fund those savings categories every month.

Developed a pretty much routine biweekly shopping list. Made a price book where I record store sales on items I buy alot. Only buy chicken and beef at half price, and stock up the few sales I can get until next sale comes along. Learned to make my own laundry soap!!! (that was a huge expense here). Buy practically nothing boxed, canned, or otherwise processed.

Sell kids clothing on ebay and use that income for new kids clothing. Shop for kids outerwear and footwear off season. (Hubby jokes that we 'shop in the basement' now as I have shelves of footwear and boxes of clothes down there).

Most recent great accomplishments: Have paid two property tax bills now, with cash out of saved fund. We're talking $1400 total paid here without flinching. Wow! Paid water bill with cash too.

Okay, I think that's it! I feel much better now. We went from being $300 to $400 in the hole every month to paying $620/month towards credit, plus saving in freedom funds. Year 2002 didn't see our debt go down, but it didn't go up either. 2003 has seen the debt go down by about $2000 so far (of the $3000 paid on it, stupid interest, $1000 of our money poof gone!!!

Anyone out there want to share their methods??? I'm interested.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 11:44pm
From one Canadian to another: I noticed in your list that you mentioned you cancelled the overdraft on your bank account. Have you checked out President's Choice Financial? It's and the basic chequing account has ZERO service charges, overdraft included. You only pay for the overdraft if you use it, which is revolutionary compared to the big banks here. It's a division of CIBC, and what you get with the no fee chequing account is everything that you would expect to get from a full service CIBC chequing account. Also, you can earn points to use towards free groceries, or whatever you want...I don't know what part of the country you are in (I'm in BC), but they have pavilions in the Real Canadian Superstore, (or Sobey's or Real Atlantic Superstore if you are back East). You can do everything online or by phone 24/7. I have saved a lot in bank fees since bf and I opened these accounts!! I also have the mastercard they offer, and that has (and will) earn us a lot of points towards free groceries.

Another thing you can do is check out can select coupons that you want and they mail them to you for free.

Congrats on doing without a car. I did that for 11 long months in 2001/2002 while I was going to school. I do not consider the public transit service to be very good in my area, but that is probably just me. The biggest pain is that I have to go to the laundromat, and that was miserable...but it saved me a lot of money, I will admit that.

I'm trying to think of other specifically canadian ways to save money, but those two ideas are all I have for right now.

Thanks for your reply to my other post. I'm a qualified teacher who can't get working for almost minimum wage is hard to take sometimes. But I agree that I will be very careful at money management from now on and will make a savings account a priority.

Oh, have you checked out ING for savings? They are paying 3% interest on the savings account. It's totally worth checking out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 2:32am
And now from another Canadian. . .lol

rebeccalouise I tried the link you mentioned for the coupons and it didn't work. Is it correct? I would be very interested in the coupons. Funny you should mention PCF - birdiecheeks(spelling?) and I had a similar conversation at the Tips and Budget board. I just recently opened an ING account with them and I think I will move some of my RSP's to them as well.

Now to the original poster, my accomplishments thus far:

Went down to basic cable (savings of 30.00 a month)

Cancelled call display (svgs 8.75 a month)

Cancelled magazine subscriptions (savings approx 100.00 a year)

Rarely eat at restaurants (savings on average 100.00 a month)

Starting to buy less packaged foods, bake and cook from scratch more (so far savings of 200.00 a month or more)

(I know there is more just can't think of them at this late hour)

I live a more frugal life that started from nessessity but has now become a lifestyle for me. Even when I do have my debt paid off I cannot see myself becoming "unfrugal". That for me is the biggest change. Shopping second hand, and not making a lot of purchases that I use to. I make my own baby food, bake my own bread, even made our own popscicles today, we bake all our cookies and muffins now and I buy less packaged foods with the hopes of cutting back even more. I am not doing this only because of money but because of all the *waste* I see out there. Waste of time, energy, resources, and the money too. Just because we have *it* (it being anything) doesn't mean we have to use/spend it. I am really trying to *simplify* my life and I would not be on this path if I had not gone into debt. So in a way it is a blessing because I really like the path that I am on. To me this has been the biggest accomplishment - to have to to this realization.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 8:59am
I feel the same way as Sandra, we've really simplified life and live very frugally now. We always try to buy second hand on most items, if we even really *need* them at all now, or fix what we already have or try to find something else we already have that would do the job. Lots of stuff that we would have felt we *needed* before aren't really a need anymore now that it's our cash money from the paycheque that would buy it, and not a credit card (t.v. died, and we've been using a 13" t.v. since mid-winter, but haven't bought another big one because we'd rather spend that $300+ elsewhere!). But at the same time we have a real appreciation for what we've discovered is *really* important to us, and we don't mind spending our money there whatsoever (vacations, family fun allowance, stuff like that).

Shopping now consists of a list that accumulates for 3 or 4 weeks at a time, most of which can be bought at the dollar store. Anything that would normally have taken me on a trip to evil WalMart before now gets bought that the grocery store... recreational shopping just doesn't happen. It has been a real eye opener to how wasteful and frivolous we had become. I also put a "no flyers" sign on the door and don't get the sales flyers any more, I go online every monday to check the sales at my two grocery stores. I didn't realize what a big difference this made until DH brought home a paper the other day that had flyers in it and I was really almost overcome by how much stuff was in my face and how I could feel temptation of wanting it all. DD4 wanted the entire ToysRus flyer contents too, which bothered me as they aren't 'wanters'. I made sure to tell him to turf the flyers next time he gets a paper.

Rebecca, re Presidents Choice, we've been banking there for about 1.5 years, and I LOVE it! Isn't it great!?!? They promise to always be fee-free too. I've read in the financial section that they're losing money big time, I hope they can recover, they need mortgage business and we plan to switch to them upon renewal. We've used the free PC points to purchase christmas presents last year, and against groceries last month when we were in an oil bill bind. ... Re overdraft, we just can't handle it, it's too much like credit for us and I spent every payday forking over $200 just to get the overdraft back in the black, so I cancelled it, we could probably handle it now, but things are so under control that we don't even need it, so good riddance. Re transit, I'm in Halifax NS area and the transit system rocks in my opinion, I'm not originally from here, I'm from a city that had sucky transit, so maybe other people here don't appreciate it as much, but I think it's super, we're even able to hop on a ferry for the price of a bus and scoot across the harbour and get dropped in in downtown halifax... no traffic hassles, no parking hassles, it's wonderful and it's great practically free recreation in the summer as the waterfront is always bustling with activity.

Momof2boys got me interested in ING and I'm going to open an account there next month to officially start our contingency fund, I can't wait. It will be the first time ever, since I moved out, that I'll have a savings account meant just for savings.

Which makes me think... in 1984 after I graduated high school & moved out, I had a minimum wage job, no credit cards, and $3000 in savings, the richest and least in debt I've ever been!!! And all because I lived frugally and didn't expect to own everything Madison avenue advertised to me! where oh where did my wisdom go over the years?



Edited 5/25/2003 9:44:21 AM ET by birdiecheeks

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 12:07pm

That should work. I just opened the site and copied the URL.