Saturday, February 9, 2008

A new leaf or two

I'm trying to do some good things around here. I wish I could say I was working on an end to famine and disease in the basement but I have decided to start smaller. I'm trying to eat a little better and save more money. Or rather I should say spend less money. This week I've done pretty well.

Flyboy is the money mind in the house, well kinda sorta. He comes up with where he wants the money to go (savings, college funds, IRA's...) and I find a way to make it happen. We both crunch the numbers. He looks at the big picture, and God bless him for it, and I manage the bills and run the household. Neither task is always easy on one income.

We knew from the get go that when we had kids I would stay home with them and I really couldn't imagine it any other way. Flyboy is gone so much and has a schedule that has neither rhyme nor reason that I wanted our kids to know that one parent was always here. It may not be for everyone, but it's what works for us. But we knew that on one income sacrifices and tough decisions would need to be made.

Anywho I'm drifting here.... so this week we tightened the belt even more to see if we could and to my surprise its worked out ok. This week I had a predetermined amount of cash and that was it, no using the debt card. I thought by the end of the week I was going to smother flyboy with a pillow out of hatered but I have come thru like a champ. I have almost half of it left! (I did tell him that I get to roll that over and I might make up a discretionary fun fund with it or something as an incentive).

Here is what this has taught me this week -
-to really shop smart at the commissary, I planned out meals so I could pick up all the ingredients and I really stuck by my list (we live 45 min away so I cant be running back and forth all week, nor do I want to keep picking up forgotten items at the regular store for WAY more)
- I dont have to go out and do something everyday. Sure it gets a little boring staring at the same white walls at home but we went out for walks, did some painting, cooked some, had a fun playdate, things that didnt cost $$
-When I am out in a store I really thought about my purchases. A bunch of little 1 or 2 dollar items can really add up. I found myself thinking that I didn't really need this I had something that I could use at home instead.

You would think that this wouldn't have been some great ephiany for me but I like to think that I knew about this it was just in the deep recess of my mind and I needed a practical reminder.

If you dont mind sharing... what are your money saving tips?


  1. I eat at home as much as possible. A lot of times I'm tempted to run into town and just grab something because it's just me and I don't want to cook or I'm bored with the food at the house... but I spend soooo much more money that way.
    I also separated my savings and checking accounts at different banks. This way I'm less tempted to transfer money out of my savings if I have to go through the hassle of going to a different bank.

    Congrats on doing good with the cash this week!! I'm just me and I find it hard to balance my budget... can't imagine how difficult it would be for a family!

  2. hmmm... money saving tips... don't go to the mall or the bookstore. =)

  3. oh and i finished the book by wally lamb. the ending was really very satisfying. it made the whole book worth it! you were right.

  4. We eat at home every night, except for special occasion. Very rarely, if I have to do a whole day of running I will grab something on the go.

    I read...ALOT. I use the library instead of buying books. It keeps me at home and off the internet where I can spend money! One of our weekend hobbies is going geocaching. It is free, only costs the gas to get there, and it gets us out of the house with exercise. Most of the caches are located in state parks on trails. The kids love it too. They get to get something out of the caches we find and then we leave something in its place. There is only one rule - No whining in "treasure hunting" as we call it for the kids.

    Those are a few of the things I do, and this is getting long! :) Hope you all have a great weekend!

  5. Making a meal list has helped us SO MUCH. We only live 2 minutes from the commissary, which presents an entirely different problem; it's way too easy to avoid planning and just buy stuff every day or two. Meal planning really helps us spend less, especially since I use a list every week where I add other household goods, like diapers, batteries, etc, so I get it all at once. I have a bad habit of buying other stuff if I walk into a store, list or not.

    And the million plastic bags they use to bag our stuff are actually really handy. I haven't bought trash bags in a long time, nor do we spend money on fancy diaper pails and bags - we just tightly bag the stinky ones. It works really well.

  6. I take my husband's debit card away! hahaha

    But seriously, he is the spender in our house. I can't get him to get that money out of the ATM is actually OUR money and not free money.

  7. Great topic! Here's what we do:

    1. No newspaper. We read our news for free online.
    2. We'll go on "no eating out" binges. If we don't have time to make food at home, we're allowed to purchase pre-made food from the grocery deli since it's still cheaper than a restaurant, but we make the effort to be prepared.
    3. Make our lattes at home. Target has stove top cappuccino brewers for like $20, and they do a fine job. Another $10 for a milk whipper, nuke the milk, and voila. Latte for way cheaper than $4 a cup!
    4. Use Costco/Sam's for stuff we tend to buy a lot of anyway, like the big vats of organic lettuce for salads we eat every day or for juice and milk for the kids.
    5. Use canvas bags at every store we go to (they often take some money off the bill as a thank you) and on the rare occasion we hit Starbucks, we take our own to-go mug for the ten-cent discount. Every penny counts, right?
    6. We have - and purchase - tons of books. Luckily, my job as a writer means most of my book purchases are a tax write-off. Even so, I'll get with friends and we'll trade. If I know a friend has a book I want to read, I won't buy it... unless I need to write in it. ;)
    7. We'll buy games (even card games like Magic) to play instead of spending money on a sitter and a movie. We once forsook eating out and dates on the town for six months, using the grocery store method and weekly Magic tournaments, and ended up saving up $1000.
    8. Repurposing stuff. Instead of buying new plastic containers and bags, I save the glass and sometimes plastic containers from food purchases and use them instead.
    9. Making my own cleaning products - it's cheaper and less toxic to the environment (and sometimes even works better).
    10. Eating healthier. When you're cutting out excessive meat and replacing it with more veggies and grains, it's cheaper. When you're not buying cookies and crackers and chemical-filled pre-processed foods, even making your own cookies at home is healthier - and cheaper!

  8. I'm impressed with your cash week. You already have so many good tips. My favorites are:

    just don't go shopping. I can often put off shopping for a few days, getting by on what's left in the cupboard.

    the library. they offer fun stuff for the kids. and loads of books and movies. I heart the library.

    Just say no to fundraising. It seems like someone is always fundraising in our neighborhood. Sometimes I start saying no to everyone. This works for those parties (pampered chef, stamping, etc) too.

    That's all I can think of.

    I need to do better...

  9. Rather than make a weekly grocery store trip, we go every night. So we only buy the things we know we are going to eat that night and then food never goes bad and goes to waste.

  10. list list list! we make menus for the week and buy only those things we need to make those meals, as well as what we need to make lunches. We don't eat out (well, DH does when he's TDY, but only one meal a day and buys fruit etc for the other two meals at the commissary) I make lists to go to other stores (target, bed bath etc) and that's IT! bookstores... well there are a couple of authros for which I will wait for a paperback and ONE only that I get hardbacks... otherwise its the library. and there is No Money Monday - we don't spend anything on Monday or Tuesday (again, TDYs are different) automatice savings from chequing into savings account.


  11. i wrote comments back to everyone... it was long... very long. and then a certain blonde hair blue eyed 14 mth old came along and hit a key and now its not here. So this time I just want to say that all your tips were FANTASTIC! And I'm going to borrow quite a few of them if yall dont mind!


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