Thursday, July 31, 2014

cutting back

there are many things i could write to talk about my spending habits, about what they should and shouldn't be.  what i want to talk about in this post is small sacrifices that add up.  we live a pretty modest lifestyle.  we dont have a lot of debt, we dont make a lot of big purchases, we havent had cable for almost 6 years, etc. in fact most of money goes to general monthly expenses, giving, experiences (day at the pool, date night, museum, pedicure) and food purchases.  

that being said, we are about to have two children which is going to make a difference in the way we spend money.  for a while we will have two kids in diapers which can cost a lot but our biggest expense will be childcare. although i feel like we have found a great solution/bang for our buck, it will still be our largest monthly cost, period.  

below are some changes i have made this month that i think really add up.  there might be a few i cant pull off or choose not to follow through with permanently but i think its a good start (note: i am well aware that i should have started this months ago so cut me some slack).  
  1. starbucks - or as dave ramsey likes to call it "five bucks."  in may and june, our account reflects 12 starbucks visits, each of them being $2 to $8.  what i cannot track is the 9 times we might have stopped at the gas station to purchase one of those $3 starbucks frappuccino drinks. also, i think that the starbucks in target show up on your account as a target purchase so its hard to track those as well.  so far, july shows one starbucks purchase which was a meeting with a possible nanny.  i feel like i may have saved well over $50 this month on coffee purchases. 
  2. target - lets just keep it real here.  i can spend at least $75 every time i walk into target.  and of course i "need" it all.  one of the places i hate most in this world is walmart.  the main difference here is that i will do anything to get out of walmart as quickly as possible ... that includes sticking to my list.  on the other hand, target is this wonderful place that i just love to be.  i used to take henry there on the way home just because i "needed" milk or whatever.  of course, i would stop by the starbucks and get me an iced coffee to enjoy while leisurely pushing an entertained henry down every isle.  the conclusion of this story is $80 to $120, every time.  so far i have only been to target once this month.  the total was less than $50 and we purchased mostly target brand diapers (which are kind of awesome).  i do not plan on needing to return before the month is out.  i may have saved us up to one million dollars this month by staying as far away from target as possible.
  3. groceries - this is by far the saddest cutback i have made.  ever since i
    made the switch over to healthier foods with cleaner ingredients we spend quite a bit more on groceries.  i strongly believe that this is an investment in our health and overall well being.  i also believe that it is possible to purchase healthier, cleaner foods without spending an arm and a leg but it will require planning and effort that i am lacking right now.  this month, i have been getting our groceries from walmart which ends up with much more processed foods and junk food than i would like.  also, i have to say their produce has been disappointing.  it either lacks flavor or doesnt seem to last quite as long as it should.  the good thing is that i know i can fix this by finding other places to get better quality food without having to go to whole foods (aka one of my favorite places ever besides target). but right now, i am lacking the energy to make several stops a week with a toddler, 8.5 months pregnant so walmart it is.  
  4. beauty products/services - im thinking about growing my hair out.  its well past the time for a trim so i think ill save my money and wait out the ugly stage while on maternity leave.  i mean, if im going to grow it out, it may as well be while im taking prenatal vitamins, right.  this will not only save money on the cut every 6 weeks but i will also save money on products.  since getting my hair cut short, i have been using good shampoo, root lifter, and hairspray everyday.  this stuff adds up.  i am sure i could find cheaper versions of these products but to be honest i havent found that they give me the same results.  so, i have decided to go back to the no poo method.  i tried this in february of 2013 and i didnt hate it so im giving it another go.  mainly, i ran out of shampoo this past weekend and i didnt feel like forking over $8 for another bottle.  as my
    hair gets longer, i wont need to use other products either.  when its long, my hair looks the same with or without root lifter and hairspray.  its basically flat and boring but maybe i will be inspired and find some great ways to wear it.  if not, i know a great hairstyle so i will just chop it off again, no harm done.  something else i ran out of a couple of weeks ago was my face lotion.  its not super nice or anything but i didnt feel like spending $7 for a new bottle at target (see above) when i have a perfectly good jar of coconut oil.  that stuff is awesome and it is a great moistener for your face and neck ... well basically your whole body.  i have oily skin and yet it rubs in well and doesnt leave me too oily.  coconut oil has replaced a lot of my everyday beauty products.  at one point i started a post about it but then i realized every blogger in the world has done a post about coconut oil so i thought i would spare you.  the last thing that falls under this category is the fact that i have not gotten a pedicure in a while and i plan on doing my own as soon as i can reach my own feet easily.  pedicures are a luxury that i am willing to forgo for now.
  5. general awareness - aka, common freaking sense.  our office complex has amazing food trucks that come to a parking lot nearby.  i used to watch the schedule like a hawk and plan my whole week around these $8 to $12 meals.  the worst part is that those meals are worth every penny and mamma loves to eat :)  for july, i have sworn off these purchases.  besides a milkshake or two (paid for with leftover birthday cash) i have not purchased anything to eat for lunch and actually ate what i packed.  i know peanut butter sandwiches and cheese nips are not the most delicious and nutritious lunches but i have easily saved $50.  another thing that seems like common sense but i dont always follow is to stay off sites like pinterest and etsy.  these sites tend to make me want stuff.  even DIY projects can add up.  basically, the goal is to be content in what i have for now and concentrate on things we really need to prepare for sister.  
  6. communication - husband and i have always been pretty good at this.  i guess we tell each other about most purchases over $50 that isnt groceries or gas or surprises.  we communicate a lot about money but mostly i just let him pay all the bills and then he will let me know if i need to stop spending.  for the past couple of weeks we have been communicating a lot about spending and how to save and i check the account before my wonderful trips to walmart.  this helps with the "general awareness."
  7. budgeting - we have kept track of our spending over the past few months and husband always tracks our main monthly expenses.  i guess our next big step is to create a good budget and stick with it.  i think it will help out a lot with planning and saving and just keeping things as stress free as possible. 
.... and we made it.  i was able to get through the month without a weekly starbucks purchase.  who would have known, right!  i think we might celebrate tonight with some chinese takeout :)

how do you cut back when you need to?  any small changes that make a big difference in your monthly budget?  

1 comment:

  1. Target is pure evil genius. I'm with you on just trying to stay out because sticking to the list is impossible in that place! ;)


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