Five Ways We’re Saving Money

saving money

Since cutting out my salary so that I could stay home with Maggie, we’ve been trying to get creative when it comes to different ways we can save. We’re [currently] not made of money [but one day will be]. So, for now…here are a few things that we’ve done recently that are helping us big time.

1. Refinancing — My husband Colin saw that mortgage rates were at an all time low, so we decided to go for it. We used the same mortgage broker from when we bought our house. If you’re interested in doing this you could use the same broker from when you bought your house, or you could ask around for recommendations from people you trust.

This was pretty much a no brainer when we realized it would be easy to do, and that it would keep an extra $150 in our pockets each month.

150 a month

2. Cutting cable + house phone — This one was a tough one for me. I LOVE TV AND I’M NOT ASHAMED OF IT! The thing is, even if you get an awesome rate from whomever you use (we had Verizon Fios) there are still so many shitty little charges attached to your base rate. If you’re ‘triple play’ rate (or whatever you have) is $114.99 for the bundle (a land line, internet, and cable) then you still have to take into consideration the extra charges — $19.99 for the cable box/DVR, and $15.99 to have Showtime (what can I say, I love Shameless and House of Lies!).

So, we decided to get rid of Verizon altogether. First we decided to get rid of our land line and cable, then we decided to get rid of Verizon. We never really had a problem with them, but when comparing internet prices — Comcast was significantly cheaper than Verizon’s (for internet only), so we decided to switch to them and only get internet. Now we pay $29.99 a month for internet. We invested in an HD antenna in order to get basic cable (PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and a few others) and an Amazon Firestick (we have Amazon Prime as well — $99 a year — so we can access a ton of movies and TV shows through that). We also have Netflix (thanks, Mom and Dad!).

With these options we have plenty to watch, I never miss out on my shows, and we’re saving $120.98 a month.

120 a month

3. Insulating our attic — We decided to have a home energy assessment by Mass Save (we live in Massachusetts) which was a super easy process. They usually only take about 1.5-2.5 hours to do, and the specialist doing the assessment will give you a custom list of energy saving recommendations for your home in order to make it more energy efficient. (If you’d like to start the process, here is the Online Home Energy Assessment — a good place to start). The specialist recommended we insulate our attic — they set up the appointment for us with one of their contractors, and it was done in about half a day for $500. We’ve already felt the improvements in our house, and BONUS! we also got about $300 worth of free energy efficient light bulbs for our house during our assessment.

This will save us around $350-$400 a year. And since Mass Save pays 75% of any weatherization improvements to your house (with up to a $2,000 cost), we will most likely insulate our walls next year for a similar price. MORE SAVINGS, PEOPLE!

350 a year

4. Low gas rates + Cumberland Farms app — If you live anywhere near a Cumberland Farms (are they only in Massachusetts? The north east? I don’t know…) you NEED to have the Cumberland Farms Smart Pay app on your phone. We synched it up to our checking account so when I pull up to the pump I just open the app, sign in, type in what number pump I am at, and then I am ready to pump. No need to take out your credit card, or go into the store to pay in cash. Super easy. Also, ding!ding!ding! you save .10 cents a gallon when you use your app! Any little bit helps. (You can also get a Smart Pay gas card if you don’t have a smart phone).

I use my smart phone for everything else…it’s about time I start using it to save money. Especially to save $150-$200 a month on gas.

150 to 200

5. Shopping at the cheaper grocery store + meal planning — When you start seeing results from money saving changes, finding ways to save even more money basically becomes a game. It’s a challenge that lasts forever. It’s fun! (Yes, I’m a weirdo).

Anyway, we have two close grocery store options by us — Market Basket or Stop and Shop. To be honest, I like the atmosphere at Stop and Shop better than Market Basket. It’s rarely crazy in there, it’s smaller, and everyone is very friendly. However, it’s definitely more expensive than Market Basket. Market Basket is much bigger, and quite a bit busier, but the staff is always just as friendly as Stop and Shop. When we shop at Market Basket vs. Stop and Shop, we see a significant difference in our bill. So we have made a commitment to consistently shop at Market Basket which may sound like a really simple change to make, but it actually is kind of tough. I had been used to going to Stop and Shop for a while, and once I’m in a routine it is hard for me to change that routine. But ever since making a conscious decision to shop at Market Basket, I have been sticking with it for about a month now and I think it’s safe to say that it is now part of my new routine.

And part of my new routine has been to do my weekly grocery shopping on Monday mornings instead of Sunday evenings, because Market Basket is a zoo on Sunday evenings. Panic attack central.

Second part of #5 is meal planning. I’ve been trying my best to stick to meal planning on Sunday afternoons or evenings. That way I have meals planned out for each night of the week, and a very specific list to adhere to at the store. This helps me stay focused, makes my trips quicker, and it makes it harder for me to stray from the list (therefore, not wasting money on unnecessary items). The app Pepperplate has been helpful for me. It’s free, and pretty straightforward. It helps you to organize your recipes whether they are originals or recipes you found online, create menus, plan meals, and make your shopping list.

Two things I REALLY love about this app are the fact that it’s super easy to share recipes with others via email or social media, and when you’re in ‘cook’ mode — the screen doesn’t dim and lock on you. I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS.

Shopping at Market Basket and meal planning has helped save us around $100 a month.

100 a monthHere’s what the Pepperplate app looks like:




When we first started to think about new ways we could save money, we decided to look at the big picture. Where are we spending unnecessary money? How can we cut back and simplify a bit? Switching to Market Basket instead of Stop and Shop was one of our first money saving decisions, and I whined about that because I thought something so small wouldn’t be a big deal.

However, like I said, every little bit helps — and when you cut out five little bits one by one, you’re saving a big chunk of money every month. That’s more money in your pocket for things you want to do with it (whether it be going on a vacation, redoing the kitchen, paying off student loans, etc.) I’m all about cutting out unnecessary spending, and I am on a mission to continue to do so. (Except cutting out my Heavenly Donuts coffees a few times a week…DON’T TAKE MY COFFEES AWAY!!!!!)

Actually, we’ve got a nice little Saturday planned

Today is Colin and my two-year anniversary – I woke up with a migraine and a pain in my neck – pretty much sums up the two years we’ve been together.

I’m only kidding of course – Colin has been amazing since the day I met him. But I did really wake up with a migraine and a bad pain in my neck so i wasn’t lying about that.

My anniversary treat made me feel much better! Colin got me a beautiful set of pearls and I got him a watch (they don’t call us the A team for nothin’! .. Actually no one has ever called us the A team, except us maybe. And only because we’re lame.) Due to the pearls, my family is now worried for us. Apparently one of the many Irish folk tales says something about the fact that you aren’t supposed to buy pearls for someone else. How is Colin supposed to know that? He’s a Guido (yes, even with the name Colin!) So, you’re only supposed to buy them for yourself. My Nana used to say that ‘if you buy pearls for someone else, there will be tears.’ So now my brother thinks we’re gonna break up. My sister told me I had to give Colin $1 so that I ‘bought’ the pearls for myself. If we break up I’ll give him back the damn pearls so he can take them to a pawn shop and get some money back, how’s that?

We’re making  a nice anniversary dinner tonight – steak  au poivre, sweet potatoe fries, baked mac and cheese and some red wine. For dessert we have a slice of vanilla bean cheesecake and a slice of cookie dough cheesecake (Colin stopped at the Cheesecake Factory on the way over today – he’s pretty good, I’m not gonna lie.)


For our anniversary we went and did some really fun and romantic things such as going to Costco to get new contacts and Whole Foods for some grocery shopping. Our trip to Costco was interesting; we had to drive out-of-the-way to get there so I just wanted to run in and out. When you’re hoping for something to go smooth and quick, does it ever? I told the woman I didn’t have my prescription but that I got my exam there with the Costco eye doctor. She looked for it and found it. She asked me how many boxes of contacts I wanted, they had them in stock, she rang me up, I paid, I was all set. I was pumped cause it didn’t take long at all!

But not so fast…

While I was making sure I had everything, I saw that the name on the prescription I was holding was my sister Megan’s, not mine. Excellent. I went back to the lady at the counter to tell her, and thus the craziness began. She went in the doctor’s office to get my prescription cause she couldn’t find mine at the counter. She came back with the prescription, I said I’d like five boxes please, she returned the wrong contacts, she rang me up for the right ones, they only had four boxes in stock, I said I’d just take four then, she gave me the stink eye, and then her two co-workers came over. I thought I was going to get kicked out of Costco for causing such a ruckus. Three people were trying to figure out how to void the coupon, how much money I was supposed to get back, ect. etc. They were arguing and giving each other ‘tude right there for everyone to see. I was getting anxious and it seemed as though my migraine was sneaking back in. I finally escaped Costco with my contacts (and two bottles of wine – after that experience I was ready to pop one open before we got to the card/receipt checker person!)

Next was Whole Foods. We had to get our ingredients for our anniversary dinner and I decided to do my grocery shopping for the week. I’ve never done a big shopping trip at Whole Foods but I was pleasantly surprised with how much everything cost; I got everything I needed and it wasn’t bad at all! Some granola, banana chips, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, green grapes, bananas, humus, english muffins, spinach, onion, cucumber, red pepper, carrots, chicken breasts, ground beef, yogurt, peanut butter… Lots of good, healthy groceries. When I got home I made a fruit salad for the week, sampling some fruit as I chopped and let me tell you – the fruit from Whole Foods is delicious. Highly recommend it.

On a more random note… I think I want a pet lamb. Dogs are soo last year.

I take back my dog comment. Look at this little bugger – my niece Lady. How could you not love her?


It’s 8:14 and we haven’t eaten yet. Colin’s cooking and I better get in there to see if he needs any help…….