Welcome to The Vicky Challenge!
For anyone who might have missed it here is the introduction The Vicky Challenge. Read this first.
I have always considered my work at home to equal money saved is money earned. But I have never actually added it up! Vicky told me she knows what she saved the family and "earned" for the year and I was amazed. Why didn't I think of this!?
So this year I am going to do my best to count my savings and I am pretty sure this will be encouraging and motivating to me plus inspire me to save in new ways, maybe ways I had not considered before! Maybe to learn new skills, make subsititutions and be more creative. I certainly learned a lot of new ways to save in 2015. Changing chemists saved us $600 alone!
If anyone would like to join me please do! I am going to try and make it very easy and very flexible. I think even after one week most of us will be shocked how much our savings are. In many cases we would be hard pressed to go out to work and end up with that amount after you subtract tax, fuel and work related expenses.
Now, this is about the finances. We frequently talk about the money can't buy values of what we do in the home. These things are all above priceless. In this instance we are looking at the financial side and not implying at all that this is more important. It is just the other side of it all.
Since I know many are facing reduced incomes, increased challenges, anything encouraging and motivating is interesting to me. Plus I like a challenge. Challenges motivate me!
I also hear so often someone say that they are under pressure "to contribute financially" as they are a stay home Mum or whatever the circumstances. Or working part time etc. This drives me crazy. It is extremely insulting to think that a persons hard work at home is worth nothing and means no one has bothered to acknowledge it's worth. If even one week of this challenge was to prove to someone how much they save the family then it is worth it.
If you work part or full time your efforts at home are still saving money. I know ladies who make meals all Sunday afternoons or gifts in the evenings and many many things. All these things save a huge amount of money.
I am going to use a small note book and fill it in each day. If I am out and about I will jot things down and fill it in at the end of the day. You could use your phone, computer, diary or whatever suits. I will do weekly totals, then monthly then the whole year.
Week one will be a bit of an experiment. There are things we each have to decide ie what to count.
I am not going to count housework. I do that anyway. But maybe if you have a cleaner and decide to do it yourself you would count that.
I am going to count the amount I save doing my own hair since I know I save a lot this way.
I am going to count that I send all of Andy's lunches, snacks and coffees each day to work.
I will count the amount I save on a gift by making it, the preserves I make, when I make a birthday cake and so on. Many of these ideas you will find covered in Vicky's original article.
Also I am counting the amount I save painting my own house! I will ask my friend who is a painter how much he thinks it would have cost. I'll save all my dockets from paint, brushes etc and subtract all of those and at the end of the year add in the savings in one lump. I think it will be over $5000 anyway.
To do this we need to know at least roughly the cost of things. This is an interesting exercise! I took a photo of the bakery price list so I know just how much are sausage rolls for when I make trays of them! Even that amazed me!
If you consider the things you do yourself or make yourself try and gather prices as you go about your normal things. I am counting doing my own nails and toes since once I paid for those things. I snapped a photo of the price list as I went by the salon the other day. Easy!
To make it really simple this week try and update yourself on the cost of things. As if you do that you will easily be able to add that amount each week or each month accordingly. So it is only one time to work it out. In my case this applies to the lunches and my hair, nails etc.
Being entirely out of touch with hair services I went into my two closest salons as I went past and picked up price lists. Chloe assures me these two salons are not particularly fancy ones, just nice. So prices are pretty normal for my area.
The two price lists only differed around $10 at most for each service.
After fainting I calculated that my colour, trim etc is around $225 per month. I cannot go a month without touch up colour but I will go with a month. And to get out of a salon you have it dried etc. Anyway it is $225 a month minimum. (By the way it costs me about $15)
So each month when I do my adding up I will add $225. I don't have to work it out over and over. I'm done.
Then to Andy's lunches...
Another shock! He takes a double coffee in the morning, morning tea, lunch and some nuts or fruit incase it's a long day for late afternoon. I checked a sandwich or roll and the type of things he takes in the bakery, subway etc. I have come up with it would cost about $22 a day. Which is horrific but thats what it would cost to buy. That is $110 a week. I followed up and asked two girlfriends how much their husbands and family spend on food at work. And this lined up as "normal". Truly it would be cheaper to stay home I think!
So again I don't have to work this out over and over, I will just add this amount each week.
Savings ie meat on special I will count those savings. These are easy to work out from the prices on the goods vs what we paid for them.
Odd things we need to check out. ie I am about to pick a few buckets of peaches. I will guess the weight per bucket and times it by the price of peaches in the store. This means checking on current prices but that's easy enough. Then write that in my savings.
Anytime I see the price of something I often make I will record it and maybe have a little price book so that I have the information on hand as I need it.
We want to make it as easy as possible.
Even if you do not want to do the challenge I hope you notice how much things cost and how much you are saving! Also sometimes thinking of things differently gives us ideas! We might decide to give up something expensive and find a substitute and realise we just saved some ridiculous amount per year. Many times something seems a small saving until you work out what it equals over a year. Suddenly it is a big saving.
We have to note that prices of goods and services vary widely according to where we live. I notice the US ladies food prices are much different to ours. We have to go by our own local prices.
What we choose to count and not count will vary. That is a personal decision.
You may or may not want to say how much you saved! That is fine. You might like to share HOW you saved and your successes and failures rather than numbers. That is ok. As long as you are feeling happy, saving and feeling motivated then that is all that matters. If you have an idea that someone else might use please share it. Heavens it is only that Vicky was telling me what she does that made me realise what I could be doing. We get ideas from each other. Something you might say may be a big help to someone.
I am counting from Jan 1. So this week I only have 3 days to report. Partly by luck my savings in the first three days are crazy!
Andy was not at work so I have no lunches to count.
The first big one was my washing machine broke down. It is pretty old and Andy looked at it to see if he could fix it but no. Well, I follow Laines advice. If I have a chance to have a back up appliance I do. And about a year ago I found a brand new washing machine put out in the flats near us with all of someone's furniture! I reported it here. At the time I googled the manual and printed it and saw it was worth over $800.
So that is right now $800 for our efforts and putting this away. I cannot tell you how glad I am about this!
Next on Saturday we finally pulled up terrible carpet from our bedroom as we discovered there are lovely polished floorboards underneath! It was a huge and messy job. We both worked all day. In the end our floor went from this:
I know polished floorboard floors would cost a lot to put in. However they were already there...
So I will count we didn't hire tradespeople we did all this ourselves. Last time I had a tradesperson he was about $100 an hour! Man hours was all day for the both of us! I will just count $500 savings and be conservative. I would also say this added value to our house.
So I have $1300 to write in my savings book, without even thinking of anything else! Talk about a good start! I am going to be very interested to see what a week holds and then what my total is at the end of January.
What you do with the savings is another personal thing. Some of us, including me at times, will save in one area and allocate the money to another. ie last year I saved in lots of areas and used the money on building up my pantry and emergency fund.
You might like to save for a holiday or lower the mortgage or anything at all!
But many times the fact is we have saved an enormous amount of money and it's money we don't have spare to actually put anywhere. It is more a case of value adding and having and doing things we could not normally afford. There isn't cash to send from A to B. Instead our efforts have greatly increased our families lives, meals, beautified the house, allowed us to give lovely gifts and all sorts of things far above our actual income. Either way is wonderful.
Your efforts build up your home enormously. Financially is just one aspect but I want you to see how huge it is. Laine always made a point to showing her husband what she had been working on, what she had achieved that day and how much she had saved. I thought this was wonderful. That man knew how hard she worked and how far she made his hard earned wage go. That made them a great team. I loved that. He knew she could take $10 and turn it into much more!
I will re start my count from today and report a full week next Monday. I have a grocery shop to do so that will be my first chance to save. It will be an interesting week!
I am hoping to add many new savings by doing things I haven't even thought of yet! One really good way to make huge savings is to identify your leak or weakness. It might be magazines, work lunches, takeaway food or lottery tickets! It could be anything... but if you know what it is finding a solution to that one thing might mean thousands are saved this year. Many things have very simple solutions. This is the challenge!
This first couple of weeks of January I am setting the scene for the year. I have some extra posts as I think about the whole new year and how to go about it.
Wednesday we will start The Christmas Challenge. I start making presents now toward next Christmas and also all the birthdays during the year. There will be loads of ideas of what to make, how to present it and at the end of each month a show and tell. But the rest I will post on Wednesday! (All your savings on gifts will also go into your Vicky Challenge savings!)
Have a wonderful week. It is so exciting to get going into the new year. Today is beautiful, sunny and mild. I can't wait to report back next Monday. I am sure there will be lots of astonishment as we work out what we saved!xxx