A little more than 10 years ago I had a really fantastic job, that I loved, in a gigantically conservative and successful Insurance Company. I worked in the Real Estate Investment part of it and did analytics and account management for CMBS (Investor Reporting, accounting mostly tens of thousands and sometimes multi-million payments, which at their level were actually all wires, calculating rates from LIBOR, writing/calling with mean letters of default, etc.). Exciting stuff, but most related to the purpose of this post, I was obsessed with my 401k/Retirement plan. They had a fantastic one. And since the company also had their own trading floor and hugely successful bond company (PIMCO) they had a great diversity of investments. I would change my plan around all of the time! I was so into the investment thing I remember so hard trying to get my book club girlfriends to start a stock club with me. Andy got into his dream grad school and off we went. I rolled over my great 401k to a friend to manage, got a few stocks as a signing bonus to the new company (that was not very lucratively sold to Sage a couple years later), retired and have forgotten all about it. Until now. I am not ready to go back to work, but I am more than ever interested in our savings and retirement and thank goodness Andy hadn't forgotten about it. But we could do better. Spend less. Give more. I have been really fortunate to be able to choose from nearly all my hearts desire in my life, but have realized that shopping at Nordstrom doesn't give me half the pleasure of finding the perfect shoe at Payless and wearing the heck out of 'em (actually they were even "gifted" to me, thank you Dori!). Thus I have been scouring for blogs, the Money pages, books (already read/re-read 'Total Money Makeover' and 'Millionaire Next Door'), and got the budget tweaked in payoff mode (which I love doing, it's just really sticking to it). I've chosen to unsubscribe to the 20 or so emailing stores to omit temptation (even RueLaLa and One Kings Road! major culprits), only use cold hard cash, turned down a really fun multi-family ski trip, sworn off Internet shopping, started visiting the public library more, omitted Starbucks, frozen yogurt runs, bath and body works (for some reason a monthly habit?), limit/omit eating out (this will be very tough for me as I love to go out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!), laid down the law with the family (although I am really the culprit), and so on.
Today from the Google News page I came across this little article My Spending Fast, which linked to the author's blog And Then She Saved, and that is what I am talking about. I know all about how debt is bad and Millionaire's are really cheapskates, but really how do I save, on the daily stuff. And she posts something about making your own detergent (from another great blog ballpoint+pen, I love that stuff! Zenhabits.org has been a good read these last few weeks too. I have been including more links to financial websites and blogs to re-introduce myself to the investment world. This is a big deal for me, so I will take any help I can get.
I have already felt less stress and Andy has happily gotten aboard. That is enough for now. What is your favorite saving tip or tool?