Another Savings Idea

Waitressing

My daughter and her friend came up with a great idea for saving some money.  A little background first. They are both waitresses where they receive tips for their service. If you are unaware, waitresses typically make about $2.15 per hour for their wages. The expectation is that they will receive tips for their service to make up the difference between that amount and minimum wage.

The “standard” tip is usually 15% of the check. As an example, if you have a bill for a meal that is $30.00, the typical tip would be about $4.50. If the waitress does an unreasonably poor job, you might lower the amount of the tip to 10% or $3.00. Then again, if your waitress did an exceptional job, you might offer 20% or more which in this case would be $6.00 or more.

Ok – A little selfless plug for my daughter. She is working very hard at being pleasant in her service.

Here is a tip sheet for you. It shows the tip value for an order of $5.00 through $100.00. It shows tip values for 15%, 18%, and 20%.

Server Tip Sheet

The $5.00 Savings Idea

five dollar bill

My daughter and her friend came up with this idea to save some money. When they get tips, if there is a $5.00 bill in the tip, they put it aside. My daughter’s roommate saved over $300.00 in about two months doing this. It’s that simple.

Of course, I started thinking about it some more. They said that it really did not matter which denomination of bill you decide. I would only suggest not using the $1.00 as the denominator since that is probably the most common bill size for tips.

But what if you changed the idea a bit? There are a lot of people out there who are not waitresses. I am one of them. I thought that since I am using cash for most of my purchases, what would happen if I saved the $5.00 bills I received as change from cashiers? What if I did it with $10.00 bills? How about $20.00 bills?

I must admit that at this time, I will not be doing this savings plan. I am already involved in a different savings challenge and am doing well.

Maybe this is something I can try next year when I am done with the first challenge.

If you are not involved in the savings challenge, they why not give this one a try?

Savings Challenge

As you know, I have been saving with my wife for either a vacation and/or furniture for our new house. Since this week is not a pay period, we are using the low end of the chart. Here are our results so far.

Savings Challenge 2-25-2014

Now, our savings is at $424.59. The extra 59 cents is not from interest. It was extra change that I happened to have. Might as well let it work, even if it is just a little. How is your challenge going?

I’d love to hear about your progress and how you have implemented the ideas offered from this blog.

Stop Wasting Your Time

Is TV Setting You Back?

As you know if you have read other parts of this blog, I have been on medical disability for just over a year and have been going back to school to learn new stuff. One of the courses I am taking has us evaluating various media with a critical eye.

It’s no surprise that about a third of what we watch on TV are advertisements. Even if you watch the news, the commercials take up at least 20 minutes every hour. The job of an advertisement is to convince you that you need to buy something either because you “need” it or because the purchase will add prestige to your current situation. They have a tendency to make you feel bad if you don’t go out and get the stuff. Once you get the stuff, you start to feel bad (maybe) about the amount of money you spent on the items. Then when you watch more TV and get the message that you need to buy other stuff to feel better about yourself.

That simple thing can wreak havoc on your finances.

Turn It Off!

Here is a simple idea that is difficult for me. Turn the boob tube off!

I wish I could say this has been easy for me but it has not. When my wife and I get home in the evening, we tend to take a seat and veg out on shows. We were talking this past weekend on our way home from a long road trip. We need to spend more time, reading books, learning new things or going places we have not been where we can enjoy things, or get out with other folks rather than sitting at home in front of the TV.

How Does It Help?

The first thing is that it removes all those commercials designed to get you to spend money on a lot of stuff that you may not need. Secondly, as a result of turning it off, it should reduce you impulse to spend money on those things advertised.

More Radical Ideas

Something we are going to look at is whether we even need cable TV anymore. We already have Internet service at home. TV consumes too much of our time anyway. With stuff like Netflix available for about $8 per month, we can watch the shows we really like and forget about commercials and paying for 300 channels we will never watch anyway.

What To Do Instead

I just had a conversation with my daughter today about this. I challenge you to go to the website Ted.com. Ted.com offers talks from experts that last from three minutes to about 23 minutes each. The challenge is to watch two videos per week on topics you are currently involved with. For example, if you are in communications, then watch two videos related to that. There are currently 49 videos to choose from. The next part of the challenge is to watch two videos of something that interests you. Maybe it is insects or philosophy. Look at the options available and learn about something new. Let me know what you think.

Savings Challenge Update

Well, we finally opened up our savings account for the savings challenge. We now have $416.00 in the account. Here is the updated chart that I created to keep track of it. How is your challenge going?

SC 2-18-2014

The 10-10-80 Method

What is That?

The 10-10-80 method is an idea I have for living within your means. Maybe someone else has thought of it also but I have not seen it referred to this way.

It seems like the harder I try to get ahead, the more things happen that set me back. IT’S NOT FAIR!

You can see all over the Internet about saving money in an emergency fund and saving for retirement but when we look at our lives, it always seems that when we put money back to save for something, something happens.

The First 10%

The first 10 in the method is your giving. If you look at any religious affiliation, you often hear this referred to as “first fruits” or “tithe” or something similar. The idea here is that you give your first 10%. In my mind, that means more than just 10% of your income. It also means 10% of your time and your talents. How many people do you know that do that? In the United Methodist Church, which I belong to, they say to give what has been put on your heart instead of a set number.

But what if I just cannot afford to do that? Many people are in this position. There are many options related to this. For years, I found myself in a position where if I gave 10% of my income, I probably would not have been able to keep the lights on all the time. I was able to give something which was great and over time, I have been able to increase that amount. In the meantime, I was giving more of my time and talents instead. This could be volunteering for a ministry, teaching a class, being a Big Brother or Sister, or any number of things. The point is that you are giving not only your money but your time and talents as well. Remember the post where I talked about Goals? Maybe your 10% giving could be a goal that you work towards.

The Second 10%

The second 10 in the method is your saving. If you think about it, how much more can you really buy for $100 versus $90? Look at it this way. If you looked at $100 of groceries, how could you cut that back to $90 instead? Would you cut out some cookies, snack foods, change which cuts of meat you buy? Maybe all you have to do is cut out soda. Finding $10 in a list like that may not be that difficult. Give it a try.

The 80% Part

This is the part that you get to spend. 80% of everything you make. So, if your take home pay is $50,000.00 per year, you can spend $40,000.00 of it on anything you want. It will include your house, car, food, clothing, etc.

What Does It Mean?

Living with this plan allows you to not only enjoy the fruits of your labor but also to help others who are less fortunate and to save for retirement. Remember when I talked about retirement? The earlier you begin to save for retirement, the sooner you can retire because Retirement Is A Financial State.

Savings Update

Our savings is currently at $318.00. If you recall, we have been rearranging how we save according to the chart that I included in the post Savings Challenge Update. Since it is not a payday week, we are saving from the smaller end of the chart. This week, we add $6.00 to the savings. Next week will be another payday so we will save from the larger end of the chart. This will help us reach our goal.

How are you saving? Do you have goals set? Are you keeping a long-term eye on the future?

Living Small

Huh?

Living Small?

Usually, people talk about living large. Unfortunately for most people, forcing ourselves to live large puts us in financial situations we regret later.

Being married to a United Methodist pastor and being on disability myself, keeps us from living beyond our means. When we were first married, we had some issues juggling three houses after moving to a new city. It took a while to get out from under two of those houses and we were concerned about getting into another home right away so we rented when we first made our latest move.

Living Beneath Your Means

When we made this latest move, we decided to live on my wife’s check and start to save my check. It has worked well for a while now. It sure helped that we were debt-free when we made the last move. Sure, there have been things that have interrupted that plan of savings. An auto accident, physical therapy and doctor visits, and the purchase of a new (for us) car have taken its toll right now but we still live below our income.

Results

As a result of living below our means, we have maintained a debt-free lifestyle. The exception right now is the car. We financed the car because we are working on a settlement from insurance for it.

We have recently made the decision to purchase a new home which will give us our first home together as a married couple. It is an exciting time and although we are financing the purchase, we are already talking about plans to pay it off early.

For instance, did you know that if you split your mortgage payment and pay it every two weeks instead of once per month, you can save a ton of money in the form of interest savings? Also, paying just a little extra on your mortgage can save a lot. For example, on a $300,000 mortgage, if you pay an extra $100 per month, you can cut the length of a 30 year loan by a few years. Now that’s some savings.

Savings Challenge

Here is an update on the savings plan.

We are up to $312.00 in savings. There was a $100 jump from last week because it is the new pay period. We decided to pay the larger amount on the weeks we get paid and the smaller amounts on the weeks where there is no paycheck. This will balance out the savings so that we are not scrimping every week or running into a situation where we are short on cash around Thanksgiving and Christmas when historically we need more liquidity in our funds. Let me know how you are doing with your savings plans.