Monday, October 13, 2008

New leaves score ideas

By nature, I am a free-spirit spender. I can walk into a store with a list in hand that only has 3 items on it (you know - a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter...) I shouldn't be spending more than $10 (at most.) However, I will invariably walk out of the store $200 lighter and a shopping cart full of all my "must-haves" that really aren't "must-haves" at all...more like "want" items that I simply...well...must have! The other tactic that drains the dollars from my wallet is seeing an item on the shelf, and I can't remember if we have I'll just purchase it to be safe rather than sorry - and it never fails that I actually have the item (x2) at home. So that is how I shop. David, on the other hand, is a "necessity" shopper, and almost to a fault. I can hand him that same list of 3 items, and he can talk himself out of the entire purchase. It amazes me, this ability he possesses!! Trust me, I don't have it! And with the way prices have been going lately, I'm tired of being broke all the time. David brings in a decent check, and it's a steady one. But by the end of each pay period, we're just about to the point of counting change to get a couple gallons of milk. We shouldn't be doing that, and I'm disgusted that I feel that way. So, I have been totally trying to figure out ways to keep our money in our pocket and not in the pocket of some big company.

It's been about a week now, and this has been really heavy on my mind. I made a start by disconnecting our land line phone. I even reduced our cell phone bill. But I needed more than a couple phone bill reductions, so I spent a good part of Sunday online researching new and clever ways to be "frugal." (That word alone has some interesting mental pictures attached to it, but I'm realizing that it means living better for less. If that is all it means, sign me up for becoming...frugal!) Some of the ideas were brilliant, and some of them were not so new or clever. Some were simply common sense (that I obviously didn't have) such as enjoy what we have. Watch movies we already own or borrow them from a friend. I can re-read some of my favorite books as opposed to buying more. There is also this crazy place that I was pretty sure hasn't existed since high school. They are called "libraries." We can borrow books and even DVDs from there! Amazing, isn't it?!

Here's a no-brainer...Coupons. The concept is brilliant - buy something you use and have a coupon for, and you don't pay full price for the item. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. If it were easy, I would have been a pro at it by now. I've been using coupons for a while now. And although I do save money, it is minimal...I still walk out of the grocery store having spent $235 but I saved $7.85!! Woohoo!!! I guess it can all be in the point of view, right? I saved, didn't I?! But I want to be that person who walks out of the grocery store with an overflowing basket and only spent $37...and saved $124. HOW do they do that? And it isn't all generic either! If you can do such a feat, I am in awe of you and I sing your praises loudly!! Honestly? I'd even be happy if I spent $124 and saved $37 - its still better than what I've been doing! So grocery shopping is one huge area of interest for me. I want to spend as little as possible, and still have good food to eat. I did a lot of reading on how to do this. Today was my first test...I was armed and dangerous with a vague understanding of what I was supposed to do. It was fun...and it worked! Check out my loot! (*mind you, this was a stepping off point, and I pretty much have a stocked kitchen. Today's trip was simply taking advantage of the sales, a concept in grocery shopping that has always eluded me)

I know, it doesn't look like much, but it is...

  • 2 jars of Classico pasta sauce (buy 2 for $4 and get 2 boxes of Barilla FREE!)
  • 4 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios for $7
  • 8 cans of Spaghettios (4 for $2)
  • coffee for $6.99
  • 5.75 pounds of Fuji apples ($0.88/lb)
  • 22.4 pounds (yes, you read correctly, twenty two+ pounds!!) for $1.88/lb

To sum it all up, I should have spent $144.54 for all this stuff...doesn't look like that much in the picture, does it?! But did you notice the 22.4 pounds of chicken? Those are boneless, skinless chicken breasts!! I spent a TOTAL of $64.16.......that is a savings of *drum roll please* $80.38!!! That translates to a 56% savings today. And the best part was I only bought what I went in there to buy! I'm so proud of myself! (Yes, I did intend to purchase 20+ pounds of chicken. I was physically ill when I realized that I've been spending $3.15/lb for chicken at Sam's Club, because it's Sam's Club and everything is cheaper at Sam's Club because it is in's Sam's Club! I was wrong - way wrong!! It isn't cheaper just because it's Sam's Club as I have clearly just learned!) I still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to cutting down my grocery bill. I have a few ideas what to do, but it's going to be putting them to practice that will be interesting. I hope I can.

Other ideas I've learned about or come up with for saving a penny here and there include:

  • Taking our cans and plastic to a recycle station and getting paid for it. There is no sense in the school getting the money from my son's Gatorade bottles, or even the garbage company because they pick up the recycling with my trash every Tuesday. (And Dad, if I had a scrap metal problem here, I'd even do that!)
  • Unplugging the things not in use - like the coffee pot, my flat iron, the cell phone chargers, night lights during the day, etc. (thank you Oprah show!)
  • Have family game nights by candlelight. I love hurricane lamps. I've played a card game or 3 by light of a hurricane lamp during a power outage. So why not make our own "power outage" and save on the power bill and have quality family time?!
  • Cut dryer sheets in half. A box of 80 magically becomes a box of 160
  • Don't buy drinks or snacks while on the go. Take them from home!
  • Spend-free weekend. Assigning a weekend where NO money is spent is going to be a challenge, but I hope it will pay off since this is when we end up spending a lot because we are out as a family.
  • Bake my own bread. I even have a bread machine! Its probably time to dust it off and put it to work!

This list is just a few of the things I have come up with. I don't think any of them are too crazy-out-there. I'm not ripping the electrical wires out of the wall, or grinding my own flour or anything like that. But they are simple things that could/should work for me. And if I end up with a few extra dollars in my pocket because of it? Even better!

So what are your ideas for keeping the money in your pockets? Please share them with me! I'm game for all the ideas I can get!!!

And so I close this rather lengthy post with these famous words, because I'm gonna need a new motto...
"I think I can...I think I can....I know I can...I know I can!!"

1 comment:

  1. What a great deal you got on all that chicken! I know when PPC is gone, I'm going to invest some time into becoming a better shopper. Hopefully you will have all the kinks worked out by then and can run me through the ropes.