Step 19: enjoy a date night

It’s easy to skip out on the fun stuff when you are trying to save money.

So when $15 dollars falls into your lap, you spend it on fun stuff.

Trust me, it’s for your sanity.

Here is what you do:

  1. Pick a favorite restaurant (Our’s in the Chinese place down the road)
  2. Find a coupon/gift certificate for said restaurant (Apparently you get a lot of these when you move)
  3. Don’t forget your $15 dollars (It’s the cornerstone of the whole idea)
  4. Enjoy your entirely free date night!  (During these trying times anything that does not come out of your budget is considered “free”)

It will be the best tasting meal you have ever had.


Step 18: have a garage sale

Garage sales can be a great way to earn a few extra dollars.

Especially when you are newly-wedded paupers with loans to pay off.

Fortunately for us, the in-laws decided to have one this summer.

In exchange for my help, The Hubs and I were allowed to sell our junk treasures at their sale.

Turns out garage sales are a lucrative business.

10 hours of bonding with my father-in-law, chatting with the neighbors, and arguing with pushy bargain shoppers, and we earned a whopping $15.

Don’t roll your eyes at me.

That’s 15 more dollars than we had yesterday.




Step 17: get a banking app

After deleting CashStrapped, I spent an unnecessary amount of time fretting over how to track my spending without constantly logging into my computer.


There’s an app for that!

Apparently The Hubs downloaded it weeks ago. A few clicks and a password and all your banking info is in the palm of your hand!

Most banks (unless you are an admirable human being who uses a ma-and-pa family bank) will have a banking app.

It turns out this is an even better idea than CashStrapped because The Hubs and I both have access to it.

Welcome to the 21st century, self!



Step 16: delete your money-tracking app

It turns out that I am terrible at tracking my spending.

I never, ever remember to enter my receipts into the app.

Therefore, I never, ever know how much money I have.

Since I can easily not know how much money I have without the app, I’ve deleted it.

Next time, I will try a free app instead of wasting 99 of our precious cents on one.

Step 14: earn money with a credit card

Though we are remaining true to our debt refusal pledge, the hubs and I realized that, in certain situations, we can use our credit card to earn money.

Yes folks, you read that right. We can actually use that evil piece of plastic for good.

Back when we set up our bank accounts, we signed up for our bank’s credit card in order to get free checking accounts. We ended up with U.S. Bank’s Perks+ card.

Here’s how they describe it:

Perks+ Rewards

  • Earn 2x points on Gas and Grocery net purchases for the first 12 months.
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent on everything else.
  • Redeem for rewards you want – redemption starts at 1,700 points for brand name merchandise, 2,500 points for gift cards, 5,000 points for cash back, and 25,000 points for one airline ticket (up to a $400 value) on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates.

Here’s our plan:

  • All major purchases will be put on the credit card. (We consider “major” to be anything over $50.)
  • As soon as the purchase shows up on our online statement, we pay it off with an electronic transfer from our checking account.
  • Use reward points as needed for travel, cash, or gift cards!

Side note: This plan is for items we have budgeted for; new shoes, car repair, filling up the gas tank, etc. It is not for impulse purchases!

Another side note: There are many credit cards out there with similar rewards and cash back benefits. Research to find the one that works best for you!

Step 13: refuse new debt

Now that those pesky cards are paid off, we need to make a promise. A refusal promise.  A promise to refuse all new debt. That’s right, if it’s not in the budget, it’s not going in the cart!

But what about emergencies?! Start an emergency savings account. Your card is retired.

Repeat after me:

I [insert your name here]

solemnly pledge

to leave my credit card zipped away in a hidden compartment of my purse

and if I can’t handle that

I will lock it away in the fire safe hidden somewhere in the apartment

I promise to refuse all new debt

and only purchase items I can afford.

Now go shake hands with your hubs and make it official!