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Tosetti Family Adventures PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 26 June 2015 08:44
By Melissa Tosetti
 
In November, Paul, Dante and I are going to Italy! 
 
We chose to go in November rather than during the summer because Paul and I hate crowds.  We also hate the heat and in keeping with the savvy theme of our lives, Italy is so much more affordable in the off season. 
 
I booked our trip via Groupon and am looking forward to writing about the experience on TheSavvyLife.com when we return.  But to give you a teaser, I managed to get everything listed below, for all three of us, for $5,300.
  • Airfare flying out of San Francisco
  • 3 and 4 star hotels in Venice, Florence and Rome
  • Train transportation to get us from one city to the next
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Insurance for the trip
Once there, all we will have to pay for will be meals, museum admissions, a rental car for two side trips we’re taking to Bologna and San Gimignano, souvenirs and gelato every day because we promised Dante.
 
With such a big trip coming up in 4 ½ months, we’ve decided to keep our summer entertainment spending to a minimum.
 
We have an extraordinarily light calendar this summer and plan to take full advantage of the time to take care of a handful of large projects around the house including redoing our backyard and building Dante a fort, well, actually, it’s a castle.  We’ve been saving for these projects so the money has already been set aside for them.
 
We don’t want to be complete homebodies this summer so we plan on visiting family including Paul’s dad who lives in Healdsburg, literally on the Russian River.  It’s all kinds of awesome when your family members live in resort towns!
 
We also want to take Dante to a few local destinations that we never seem to have time to visit including the California Academy of Science that reopened a few years ago after a long renovation.  With the admission price of $29.95 for adults and $24.95 for kids, that will be one of the more costly outings we take on this summer.
 
Dante and I made a great discovery last night that will impact our summer activities.  During our visit to the library, we saw a postcard about free museum passes that you can get with your library card.  The program is called Discover and Go.  There are over 30 museums listed that you can get free or greatly discounted admission to including the Asian Art Museum and the Tech Museum of Innovation. 
 
It’s likely that your library has a similar program.  It’s worth asking about! 
 
 
 
The Price of Trash PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 11:31
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Last Wednesday, I was in the middle of a video meeting with a client when my laptop shut down.  When I reached to turn it back on, the keyboard was hot enough to roast marshmallows.  It had been running hot for a few months so I decided to take it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy to have them take a look at it.  
 
Happily, we have a desktop computer that we upgraded last summer, with this scenario in mind. When I got back to my office, I turned it on and prepared for my next client meeting. Exactly one minute before that meeting was to start, my desktop caught a virus and I couldn't get it to work.  Within two hours of dropping off my laptop, I was back at Best Buy dropping off the desktop.  
 
Due to an unusually high volume of customers, I didn't get my desktop back until Sunday night. I decided to take it as a sign to focus on some of our summer projects around the house.  So, Paul and I spent two days cleaning out and organizing our attic.  
 
We ended up taking two car loads of items to Savers for donation.  We then headed to the dump to drop off two largish pieces of Styrofoam and three boxes of “stuff” that had no resale value for Savers.  We were shocked to find out the price of dumping those five items was $35!
 
Instead of getting frustrated by the unexpected financial layout – just to throw something away - I decided to take a lesson from the experience.   
 
I appreciate the impact of trashing an item and as a family, we try to be environmentally conscious of our purchases.  However, the lesson I walked away with is that when making a purchase, I need to consider the life span of the item and that there may be a cost of getting rid of it once it's no longer needed. 
 
 
Difference Between a Spending Plan & Budget PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 04 June 2015 00:00
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Last Thursday I presented a brand new workshop in Wichita, KS titled Your Spending Plan.
 
Attendees were asked to bring a list of their monthly and annual expenses as well as their income. During the course of the workshop, I showed them, like the title of the event states, how to create their own Spending Plan.  
 
I also showed them how to:
  • Reduce expenses
  • Plug financial leaks
  • Streamline spending
  • Implement the Snowball Debt Repayment System
The event was very well received and I'll be doing it again soon.
 
One of the questions I often get asked is what's the difference between a Spending Plan and a Budget?
 
Technically, they’re the same thing. They both tell your money where to go instead of you wondering where your money went.
 
The reason I prefer to use the term Spending Plan is that for most people, the word “budget” has a negative connotation. It feels like punishment.  Whereas the term “Spending Plan” brings to mind the idea of creating a plan for where you want to spend your money.  A much more pleasant way to think about money.
 
Since my goal is to teach day-to-day money habits in a positive manner, I much prefer the term - Spending Plan.
 
 
 
The Power of Smalls PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:26
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Yesterday I was on the phone with clients in Texas. They’re both professionals in their industry and they have two children in high school.
 
The focus of yesterday’s call was on how to save time and money at the grocery store. I asked them to tell me about their current routine. They have one excellent habit already in place which is to have a non-negotiable day to get to the grocery store. They then usually supplement that visit with at least one other trip during the week to pick up fresh produce.
 
As I offered a few suggestions such as to time their purchases with sales cycles and plan their meals around the weekly sales ad, they made a very honest comment. “We used to do all of those things, but as we got busier with work, decided it wasn’t worth it to pay attention to small savings.” 
 
I told them that I understand when you’re making over $100,000 a year, it may not feel like it’s worth the time save $.30 on a can of corn or $1 on a loaf of bread. But if you look at that savings cumulatively, it adds up
 
My family goes through three loaves of bread a week - Paul and Dante are sandwich guys. Their favorite bread goes on sale every 3 – 4 weeks. I only buy it when it’s on sale and purchase as much as the sale allows, freezing the excess. I typically save $1 on each loaf so that saves me $3 a week and $156 a year. That’s just for bread.
 
About 70% of the items I purchase for my family are on a sales cycle, meaning, they go on sale every 3 – 6 weeks. As much as possible, I follow the sales cycles and only purchase those items when they’re on sale, stocking up and then running through my inventory until it goes on sale again. 
 
With this process, I save an average of 30% on groceries. My grocery budget is $125 a week, which means I save an average of $40 a week. Multiply that times 52 weeks and it adds up to $2,080 a year in savings. Instead of spending that money at the grocery store, I’m able to save that money for something much more fun, like travel!   
 
One of my favorite shows is American Pickers which is about expert antique hunters who drive across America looking for “treasure” in people’s homes and backyards. Although they purchase a lot of really big ticket items, they say in almost every episode that, “Their bread and butter is in the smalls”. Meaning, that it’s the low priced items they buy and sell that keep them in business.
 
Whether it’s money coming in or money going out, paying attention to the “smalls” can mean big changes in your financial situation.
 
 
 
Do It Daily PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 15 May 2015 06:13

 

 
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