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The following is a guest post from Beating Broke, a frugaler at heart, as part of the Yakezie blog swap #10. This swaps’ topic du jour is “The Best Go Green Method to Save Money”. You can see my first-ever guest post as part of the blog swap over at Beating Broke today!

If I’m going to whole-heartedly jump on board with a green movement or alternative method of doing something, it’s gotta be frugal. I’m not going to spend a whole bunch of money above what I usually would just to save a few carbon credits. Composting toilets? Not a chance. I’ve got to pay that sewer bill anyways, so I’ll keep my fancy schmancy flushing toilet.

No, one of the biggest green money savers, for a frugaler like me, is the good ol’ two-wheeler. A bike. There are probably far better ways to go green, but few will save you money like a bike. How, you ask? Let’s start with the simplest, and most obvious, way. If you’re riding your bike everywhere, you’re likely not driving your car everywhere. You’ll instantly save a ton of money on gas. Tack on a few saved oil changes and other maintenance costs to the car, and you’ll probably pay for the bike in a few months!

It doesn’t end there though. You’ll increase your health, saving hundreds, even thousands, in health care costs. You’ll lose weight, and eat less, saving money on food. Then, there’s the green benefits! You won’t be putting as many of those nasty carbon emissions up into the air. Less oil changes, tire changes, and other maintenance mean a lessened impact on the environment.

Try and get any of those benefits from your composting toilet!

Even if you don’t ride your bike everywhere, riding it for enjoyment and as a recreation can still be good for your health and your pocketbook. If you really want to get full impact out of your bike, put a baseball card in the spokes and it’ll sound like a motorcycle! Now you feel like a kid again too! The benefits are endless!

Looking back:
For the month of January I wanted to achieve the following;
– $450 to my Student Loan
– $450 additional savings
– $100 extra mortgage payment

Now how things actually went, I did great!;

Actual:
– $450 to my Student Loan I paid back about $500 in January
– $450 additional savings I managed to syphon $304 into savings this month!
– $100 extra mortgage payment Completed this earlier in the month than usual, made the prepayment on Jan 17th where I usually make the prepayment in the last few days of the month. Woohoo!

All in all I did pretty awesome last month. I met two out of three goals and you will see in a few days why I still think I did really awesome. In fact, I think I did better financially than I have in four or five months! Good stuff. I’m not quite done yet with living pay-cheque to pay-cheque but things have massively improved! Figuratively speaking here’s how things looked for January;

Don't you like pie?

Housing does NOT include the mortgage, that’s included in the debt/banking portion. Included in the housing category this month was a new living room floor, not bad! My blow money spending went up slightly from December’s $160+ and still needs some more budget cuts. I throw all kinds of stuff in this category, this month included 2 symphony tickets for February, a new leather wallet, a NYE outing, skiing with my family and a credit check. All the stuff I don’t want to make separate categories for but that do need their own-non-specific junk drawer of sorts. I’m going to try to keep this category down to $100 for February.

Looking ahead, the plan:
$100 blow money
– $75 to my E-fund
– $825+ to my Student Loan
– $125 extra mortgage payment <- This is an experiment, I find that the 100 is getting me 2 about months knocked off the end of the mortgage so I want to see how much farther the extra $25 will get me. :p

The goals above are already giving you a hint at what I’m doing: I won’t be saving as aggressively as I have been and will instead be moving my focus to the Student Loan. I will be making some  changes to how I’ve been planning financially so far and I will elaborate on the how and why in my next article.

I’m amazed at how fast January flew by! How did your finances fare in January? Did you make a good start on your 2011 financial goals? (You can check mine out here)

My update on how December’s goals went is a little late but I was too busy munching on holiday snacks, oops. Sorry for being a week late!

Looking Back:
My goals for last month [removed outdated url February 24, 2014]  were as follows;
– $300 to Student Loan
– $350 additional savings
– $100 extra mortgage PYM

Actual:
– $300 to Student Loan Satisfactory; $211.01 actual contribution, Christmas put a bigger dent in the budget than I originally planned for and as a result my Student Loan repayment suffered.
– $350 additional savings Done! But $426.21 additional savings  doesn’t really make sense, why didn’t I throw the extra above my $350 goal on the student Loan so I made both goals?
– $100 extra mortgage PYM Done! I made the extra mortgage payment on December 24th. I have now shortened the original amortization period of my mortgage by 13 months!!!

My gift category as well as Blow Money category were areas where I overspent in December while I should have put more toward Debt/Banking in the form of Student Loan repayment. Something I hope to improve in January.

Looking ahead:
For the month of January I would like to achieve the following;
– $450 to my Student Loan
– $450 additional savings
– $100 extra mortgage payment <- I know this is becoming a steady repeat, but I think it’s important I keep doing this!

[removed outdated url February 24, 2014]

I’m going to mention car repair again because frankly I’m becoming a little scared at this point for the total bill. I’m going to keep slashing debt and saving money aggressively and keep pushing off the repair as long as possible, aka not using my car and being more careful/planing my drives. I should do that anyway to save on gas…

How did your finances fare in December? Have you set your 2011 financial goals? (You can check mine out here) [removed outdated url February 24, 2014]