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A sound family budget?

  1. #49
    jaz1311 is offline Registered User
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    Hi

    one way to save money is to buy things you need out of the main shopping area.

    Like clothes for my boy, I saw a jacket I would like to get for him it was HK$599 in central and I found the same jacket for HK$399 in Hang Hau.

    P3 stroller was HK$2980 at Ocean Terminal and I got mine for HK$2400 at Hang Hau.

    All these savings add up

  2. #50
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    things i stock up on when i'm in canada:

    deoderant
    favourite shampoo (aussie mega)
    favourite toothpastes (aim, close-up, arm & hammer)
    CHOCOLATE
    beef jerkey
    sweets & candies
    marshmallow cookies
    special sauces etc that i can't get here
    dog treats

  3. #51
    HK2008 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks again to all the ladies who contributed to this thread with your great saving tips I know now that it's kind of cool to be wanting to make the best value out of the limited amount of income(unfortunately), even by being a little 'thrifty'. Please keep the good ideas coming...

  4. #52
    snagito is offline Registered User
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    HK2008, it's a great thread and you have given me food for thought.

    I am really tired of shopping at the big supermarkets for tired, old and overpriced vegetables, and really want to start exploring the wet markets. Was not sure how to go about it and found this YWCA course (Sadly I can't attend as have another meeting on that day) but thought will post the link in case you, or anyone else is interested.

    http://www.esmdywca.org.hk/Courses/C...urseid=1004669

    Also, just wondering: Is there anyone out there who regularly shops in the wet markets on HK island who'd be willing to show me around - I'd buy you lunch with all my savings ...Thanks!

  5. #53
    MLBW Guest
    I was thinking about some of the practical things that I have found helpful for budgeting. It might not be that useful to some of the ladies here who aren't on a super tight budget. I am starting to see two distinct camps here: Those who want to be thrifty and those who must be thrifty. And maybe there is an in between group of those who could be more thrifty but it's not of absolute urgency. Anyway...

    But, for us:

    -We use the "envelope system"--so when my husband (or my) paycheque is deposited in his account, he withdraws the money and I separate it into envelopes--Rent, Food, Utilities, Savings (10%), Church Offering etc.... So, essentially, our paycheque is already spent at the beginning of the month. So we operate on a cash basis. We "pay ourselves" first (through savings). When the money in the food envelope or clothes envelope or whatever envelope is gone--for us it's as if there is absolutely nothing left (even though, the savings envelope may have money in it and our bank account still has money in it--that is untouchable--not even an option).

    -We also order our food at the beginning of the month online from Park n' Shop so our food supply for the month is already bought. We have a make-shift pantry. Of course, there will be some things that we will buy fresh throughout the month--such as vegetables, milk, eggs and other dairy products. But, going online really gives me the opportunity to sit and think carefully about my buys and edit my list (I have enve saved my list for later and came back to it)--and because I buy all the food at once, I get the free delivery for my food. One tip, though--if you're buying a lot of food, it's better to split the list into segments of $600/HKD each--if you order over $500 HKD you will get free shipping anyway. Then, just set up the delivery date for the same date and time (they will figure out that the multiple orders are yours). The reason why it's good to do that--is that for each delivery, the delivery people only get paid $30 HKD and if you are buying like many kilos of rice or water or heavy things and they have to pack them into your house--they only get paid $30 HKD from Park n' Shop for that. However, if you split your order into several $600 HKD segments, they will get paid $30 HKD for each segment--which is really good for them--because it is hard physical labor to do that. So, just keep that in mind.

    These two things are really helpful for us.

  6. #54
    jaz1311 is offline Registered User
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    Hi Ladies

    For those ladies who are staying in Clearwater Bay, Sai Kung, Hang Hau, TKO. I would be able to show you around the wet market if you like. Thats where I do most of my shopping. Currently its only me and my baby here in HK so the pre-pack veg and meat is too much for me, so I shop at the wet market where I can just buy whatever I need.

    I also shop at the neighbourhood stores around here for bargains.

  7. #55
    MilkMonster is offline Registered User
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    MLBW - we do the same as you but instead of taking out the cash, I use Microsoft Money to virtually allocate funds at the beginning of every month. I have an 'account' for each expenditure: Rent, Dogs, Medical, Groceries, Dog Walker, Travel, Houshold bills, etc.

    The great thing about this is that I can calculate easily how our spending habits would have to change if we, for example wanted to pay more in rent. Then I can see immediately that I would have to lower saving, groceries, misc expenses by such and such amount. So we always know what we are really able to afford.

    Actually I've set up the computer program to automatically distribute the money, so we have already spent from the day we get paid. And yes, we always put money into savings first and don't touch it ever.

    We've got 2 dogs, so every month the money I put aside for them is greater than what we spend on their food so when they have to go to the vet, there is money 'saved' up to cover those expenses. Same goes for travel, we actually 'save up' every month for our travel and don't go unless our virtual account says we have enough money to go. We also carry forward any under-expenditures to cover any unexpected things that come up.

    Every week I will take the receipts we've collected and enter it into the system to keep check of how we are doing for the month. at the end of the month if we are short on our food budget, we will eat tofu and veggies for the last week of the month just so we are within budget. We also do this if there are a few additional nights out for birthday parties, etc. that we didn't plan for.

    Another tip, we try really hard not to waste food. If I over shop I end up throwing away rotten foods and it's such a waste of money!! Before we grocery shop, (which we limit to once every 10 days) we spend the 2 days before eating the fridge, clearing out anything that we may have to throw away if we leave it another day or 2. Not our favourite thing to do but it keeps us from wasting.

    For us, we choose to spend our money on travel, but it doesn't mean we have excess money or don't have to budget, it just means that instead of paying for higher rent, or putting my boys in nursery for the time being, we travel as a family instead. We still must budget. in the end i believe that every family must budget in order to grow a solid financial safety net.

    Tip for wet market shopping:
    When starting out, if you're not sure how much things cost and don't want to be cheated, you can always say, give me $8hkd worth of vegetables. This way you can see what $8hk gets you and you have a good reference point. Same goes for fruits, something like I have $50hkd, what can i get? The poorer local people do this depending on how much money they have available for food on that day.

    I also would recommend you always pick your own produce instead of letting them pick for you. If you get a dishonest seller, they will give you 50% fresh produce and 50% older items so then can off load their loss. If they say it's sweet, it's not always true. Once you find a seller that you are comfortable with, stick with him/her, your loyalty will be rewarded with discounts and honest recommendations.

  8. #56
    HK2008 is offline Registered User
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    MLBW and MilkMonster, excellent practices! I think it's easy for me to say 'hey I want to save some money starting from now...', but to make it achievable, I need to sit down and do some good thinking on how to design the budget. I might take MilkMonster's approach and do it by monthly-then carry the previous months balances forward, then it'll be very easy to tell whether my budget is a realistic one and whether adjustment is needed on certain items; and I especially like the idea of 'do not spend on something unless the money is saved up to cover those expenses'. This will definitely help increase my level of self-dicipline. MLBW and Carang, I'm hopeless with cash. I think it's one of the most scary monsters that human beings had created...Then again, it's equally scary to think that I might just as well be sticking my head in the sand with credit card numbers...

    There is also one thing I found in common with both of you: you don't grocery shop on a daily basis. And I think I just found out why I'm always doing needless shopping: Firstly I think going to the shops is a great fun and good way to kill time; secondly I don't have a menu planned ahead and will only know what I'll cook until I see the produce. That's why I also end up picking up something that I don't need; or some luxury items which are not meant to be consumed on a daily basis!(soooo guilty there...) Now I know how important it is to plan the menu(aiming at five days first), then probably reduce to one shopping a week, then I don't have to fight temptations all the time. What a great discovery! I'm seriously over the moon now by the prospect of greater savings without too much sufferings(for me to let go of something that I've seen/touched and badly wanted is like hell).

    MilkMonster or other ladies out there, how do you decide what percentage of income should go to savings? MLBW saves only 10%, does it seem to be on the low side even when each individual situation is very different? What do you suggest could be a reasonable and doable benchmark? I personally think 50% plus is excellent...It'd be interesting to know someone can actually achieve that, or maybe I'm just day-dreaming here?

    Many many thanks again for your food for thought...

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