Author Topic: Setting a good example... ish.  (Read 3250 times)

Kitsune

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Setting a good example... ish.
« on: January 06, 2016, 09:02:52 AM »
Long story short, in the past year, we built a house... which went overbudget as predicted, PLUS an extra 14K (which is what happens when you find springs in the middle of where the sceptic field needs to be... drainage, trucks, UGH, no facepunches, I've already taken care of it, thanks). Thank you line of credit at low interest rate... PLUS, the past year has been rough for my office (I was hired there as we started building the house, naturally), and so we're all working 4 days/week at 80% salary in an effort to avoid layoffs.

I've spent the past 6 months casually talking about frugal spending (not in a preachy way, just either "hey, there's this great deal on X at the grocery store, if you're interested I'll give you a recipe my family loves", or "this grocery shopping tool has saved me so much money and you're complaining about the cost of groceries, here, I'll send you a link", or "I made X thing this weekend for free, remember when we saw it at the store for 150$?" or "look, I fixed this thing myself! I love new skills!) Meanwhile, my colleagues are continually commenting about my lunches (which, to be fair, are pretty great), and complimenting my clothes/asking where I buy stuff (60% good quality and lasts forever, 5% Old Navy, 35% thrift or made myself, but I care about fashion so it's actually put-together and looks pretty good). Not to be preachy or convert, but because these are hobbies and things I enjoy, so when we chat, that's what I share.

At lunch yesterday, 2 of my colleagues start talking about how the year is super rough, their lines of credit are maxed out, they don't know how to get their budget under control, etc. And then:
CW1: What about you, Kitsune? With your house, that's gotta be rough...
Me: Oh, no, I mean, there was some debt (they knew the amounts, because I ranted about it in July when we found out that the 30K overbudget we had planned wouldn't cover it... ), but it'll all be paid off by the end of March. We're good. (Note: I didn't think twice of saying that, and was actually kind of ashamed at taking 7 months to pay off 14K in debt. I HAVE CLEARLY BEEN SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ON THESE FORUMS.)
CW2: ... aren't you taking the same pay cut we are?
Me: Oh, yeah, but our budget is built on slightly more than one income, so we've still got enough to get things leveled out, plus this means I get to spend Fridays with my kid. I wonder if I can keep working 4 days/week when the workload gets back to normal? Do you think the boss would go for it?
CW1: But. You eat good food. You wear nice clothes. Your car is always clean.
Me: ... yes.... ?
CW1: How do you do it? Can you teach me? Can you help me build a budget?
Me: ... ... yeeesss?
CW2: Actually, you build a menu based on sales, right? And you have recipes?
Me: Yeeessssss?
CW2: Could you, like, send me that? Or teach me?
*third co-worker walks in*
CW1: Yes! Can you teach me too?
*They explain to CW3 that they are trying to get budgeting/cooking/household maintenance tips from me because I'm the only one who hasn't dug myself into a financial hole of doom in the past year*
CW3: Oh, man, me and CW4,5, and 6 could totally use that. I've been using *this grocery shopping sales-tracking tool I recommended*, and it's saved me so much money. Also that blog you linked me to - so helpful, I've been cooking at home this year. Could you do, like, a lunch seminar? You've been way more helpful than the financial advisor this year.

So, as of this morning, 6 of my colleagues have requested links/advice/budget reviews, due to me apparently, seriously, no joke, being the only one doing ok on 80% salary. (And you guys: we're in Canada. a 20% pay cut, after taxes, equals maybe 400$ less per month. For an extra 4.2 days to myself. I WILL TAKE THIS BARGAIN. And none of these people are paid less than me, and all have partners who make at least what they do. HOW. Like: we're all households making about 100K in a semi-ok COL area. If 400$/month less is enough to dig you into a hole, how are you manging your take-home pay???)

« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 09:04:47 AM by Kitsune »

irishbear99

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Re: Setting a good example... ish.
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 11:32:32 AM »
That's awesome!

And...

Does this uber grocery shopping tool you know of work in the US? If so, would you please share the link?

HipGnosis

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Re: Setting a good example... ish.
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 11:54:30 AM »
That's awesome!

And...

Does this uber grocery shopping tool you know of work in the US? If so, would you please share the link?
Dittoes

Kitsune

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Re: Setting a good example... ish.
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2016, 01:01:35 PM »
It's a semi-Canada-only thing, sorry! But, for other Quebecois (or for anyone who can use a similar tactic), here's what I do:

http://supermarches.ca/epicerie.asp (French only, sorry) lists everything that's on sale, in all supermarkets, by category.

Step 1: To go relevant category (usually I do meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, frozen foods, and milk products, and have a pretty short list of things I actually look for, so it's a quick scan before moving on to the next page. Condiments only if our stock of something non-homemade is low, anything else is pretty much made from scratch in our house, but whatever you usually menu-plan with), and use the filter function to sort to only the stores nearby (I have the option of 3 stores that are about equal distance from my office) and price. Total time weekly: MAYBE 5 minutes, if I'm slow.

Step 2: Identify the good deals for the week. REALLY good deals, buy extra for freezer storage or pantry, obviously, but this is the backbone of meal planning.

Step 3: Take the main ingredients that are now on your list, along with whatever is in your house that needs to get used, and come up with meals that seem appealing. If nothing appeals, use www.foodblogsearch.com and search ingredients (for example, this week, cabbage and pork shoulder are both on sale at the closest grocery store. Searching for those ingredients together gives me interesting-looking stews and braises, but doing them separately could get me pulled pork and coleslaw. Options! Tasty tasty options!)

Basically: 3 minutes on the discount food site, 2 minutes on a search engine, and I've got up to 6 options for meals that look amazing and that I actually want to eat, using only what's at rock-bottom prices at places that are accessible to me.

How I halved my food budget in less than 10 minutes of planning per week, ladies and gentlemen.

Geostache

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Re: Setting a good example... ish.
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2016, 01:19:16 PM »
That app sounds amazing! A quick google search for one state-side led to this. I haven't tried it, so YMMV:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grocery-pal-in-store-weekly/id339684652?mt=8

Thanks for the great idea, Kitsune! It will certainly save a lot of time meal planning (which for two picky toddlers, has become the bane of my existence!).

elaine amj

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Re: Setting a good example... ish.
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2016, 01:34:23 PM »
Love the sound of that app - is there an English version?

And that is so incredibly awesome your coworkers are considering a change! That's really rare - most people are usually just stuck in whatever mode they are on.

Kitsune

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Re: Setting a good example... ish.
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2016, 01:48:59 PM »
Love the sound of that app - is there an English version?

And that is so incredibly awesome your coworkers are considering a change! That's really rare - most people are usually just stuck in whatever mode they are on.

The website I linked to seems to be French-only, but it's also Quebec-only. I know there are options variable for various parts of the US, so maybe google that? (It CERTAINLY beats flipping through flyers for 15 minutes!)

I'm so impressed with them! And I'm really pleaesed - it's not like I was trying to preach The Gospel of Savings and Paying Off Debt, but apparently setting the example of how one can live in a way that they envy while on 80% salary while paying off debt means that they can't tell themselves that the hole they're in is 'normal' and that 'anyone else would also be in this situation', since there's actual proof that, no, not anyone else would be.

(Remains to be seen whether they actually DO make the changes... but at least the desire is there)

elaine amj

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Re: Setting a good example... ish.
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2016, 07:36:46 AM »
For the Canadian side - I just downloaded freebee and Flipp - both get strong reviews. freebee actually has a native Blackberry app  while I got Flipp through the Amazon store.

I'm going to fiddle with them and see how I like it. i have been using Grocery IQ for my shopping list (because it is cross platform and syncs across devices) but it looks like I can do that directly in freebee.