Mother + Savings: shopping smart January 06 2015, 0 Comments
The tough thing about being a city parent and walking everywhere is that I am literally walking by my favorite coffee place, my favorite sandwich shop, my favorite everything, every day. It becomes more than just a place to get coffee. The employees become friendly, they literally watch my kids grow, or notice my new hair cut, or, tell me I am running late (how do they know my schedule so well?!). It is a relationship. Well, last year I broke up with my coffee shop and bought a coffee maker and began making my own coffee. I am embarrassed to admit how much I was spending! Buying one, sometimes two, coffees a day really adds up. Even the 'cheap' coffees are about $1.50, and let's not even talk about the fancy coffee drinks that push the $5 mark... for ONE, tiny little cup. So, after my coffee maker purchase, the coffee, even the cute travel mug, I vowed to never buy coffee again. OK, so I am not perfect, I still buy a cup here or there, but mainly I brew at home and carry my travel cup around. Huge savings!
The same thing goes for food. Man, is it easy to stop and buy a bagel with cream cheese. Or a yummy scone. Or, that meaty, organic bacon sandwich. But, man, is that convenience pricey. Much cheaper to buy a dozen bagels, individually wrap them, toss them in the freezer, and ta-da! A week's worth of breakfast at your fingertips. I am already in the kitchen making breakfast and lunch for my kids, what is one more thing to make? Again, huge savings!
Now dinner. Man, am I tired at the end of the day. I do not want to cook. My family is hungry! But seriously? Sometimes our delivery takes up to an hour. And I always think, man, I could have boiled some water and opened a jar of sauce and we could have already eaten! In our house my husband and I plan to order two nights a week. Friday and Saturday, right? NO! I have learned that weekend ordering is not worth it. Places are busier, which means it takes longer, items are often forgotten from our order, or, it is simply delivered cold. So, I have switched it up and we order two nights during the week and I enjoy that end of a busy day reward. Yes, I am splurging, but it is an enjoyable splurge because it is helping me out and I can enjoy it. The other 5 nights I utilize the slow cooker on weeknights to help me out, or, cook two meals in one night so that it is an easy re-heat night. I am saving, and enjoying - a double win!
This year I am up-ing the ante. Have you seen those articles about saving $1,378 in one year? You save a certain amount each week and some say put it in a jar (I love that visual progress!) while others say put it in a bank so you aren't tempted to open that jar (mmm, not a bad idea! Out of sight, out of spending!) I have seen two ways to do this - both resulting with the same amount at the end of the year, both requiring you to save a certain amount each week. Some suggest starting small, save $1 week one, save $15 week fifteen, save $40 week forty, etc, etc, until the final week when you save $52 week fifty-two. Others say it will be hard to save the larger amounts at the end of the year while spending money on gifts, preparing for the holidays, etc. So, some suggest start with a bang and save $52 week one, and decrease the amount, $48 week five, $43 week ten, etc, etc, until the final week when you only have to save $1 that last week.
So, let's do this. I am going to do it the decreasing way, and I am putting $52 in my savings account this week. Will you join me? We will send weekly reminders, and I will tell you what I cut out each week in order to get my extra money to put aside. This week was easy. I avoided the after-Christmas sales and took some of my Christmas money and put it right back into the bank. As much as I want to get a sweater at 75% off, do I really need it? No. So, into the bank my $52 goes. Let's do this!
Photo: Vogue (Sep. 2008) by Steven Meisel