Friday, February 6, 2009

Where We've Gone Wrong, and What We Did Right

So, we're a month in to our little "saving money" experiment and it's been pretty good, overall, but we have slipped up a few times or not quite been on plan.

Let's discuss.

We've done well at the grocery shopping end. Every Thursday when the flyers come, I sit down and go through them meticulously. I write down each store and what deals they are offering. Then I cross-reference when I'm done and scratch off an item if another store is offering it cheaper. I don't write down EVERY deal, just the ones that are things that my family would eat. Then, on Sunday, we drive around to the stores and stock up. I think initially, our output was more than I'm used to spending. But it's saved us on subsequent visits because my freezer now has extras in it, and my toilet paper has lasted all month! So, I think the groceries are a success story. I plan on refining and tweaking it a little, but all in all, I think we'll continue with this path.

Alcohol wise I'd say we've done just okay. Mediocre success. I had said that we'd buy only the one case of beer and that would last for the month. Once it was gone, it was gone. Well, then the Superbowl happened and that required some "extra." Now that we have no events this month, I'm hoping to see an increase in our success rate for the next few weeks. And a downshift in drunken escapades. Just joking. We're not THAT out of control!

That brings us to eating out. I would say this is where we are struggling the most. Well, here and one other area that I'll get to in a moment. We had that Superbowl party, and that cost a little for take out wings that everyone chipped in on. We also had some pizza one night when everyone was just exhausted and not feeling up to making anything. I think we've eaten out once. So, not "horrible" but not great by any means. We'll have to work really hard on this one for the following months to come.

Lastly, we have been looking at our "wants" versus our "needs". I would say I do pretty well with this one. My husband however......he sees a deal and he'll pin me asking if we should grab it. My answer is always NO. Sometimes he'll bring something home and say, "it was just....X amount of dollars." I'm still working on him. Trying to wean him off of the deal. Even if it's a deal, if it's something we don't "need" it's no deal to us.

We also looked at trading in our vehicle for something more fuel efficient and a little smaller. We didn't want to go down to a car, yet. I don't think we are ready for that size difference yet. In the end, though the gas output might be less, we'd be paying slightly more per month to get out of our lease early. So, we'll revisit that next year maybe. It just doesn't make sense for us currently.

So, we continue on our path. I'm reading mommy tips on different websites for freezing foods and recipes to stretch your dollar. I'm on frugal websites and penny pinching websites. I actually find the whole thing kind of fun and almost like a game. I'm a nerd of epic proportions, I know. I'm not saying it's coming easy to us. Nor that we've met all of our ideals. But we're getting there. Slowly but surely we're making changes and working as a team. Everybody is on board and that feels good.

I'll keep updating as the process goes along and let you know where the path is taking us. I'm hoping "Month Two" is even stronger.

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