Here are some money and time saving tips that I have utilized so far, trying to incorporate the "spend less, live better" philosophy now going into the 4th week! I know many of you are probably already doing these, and kudos to you! Better late then never for me!
1. Make my own coffee! - Savings about $11-12 per week, so about $45 per month; time saved standing in line and stop at coffee shop - about 10 min. Not a big deal in the time or money saving department, but it is the first thing I do everyday to recommit to the mission, so a psychologically important one.
2. Stopped buying lunch - Savings about $25 per week, about $100 per month; saving about 15 min daily between picking out the food and standing in line. Kinda miss the super nice lunch lady, though, that would tell me daily she hoped I have a safe day. I always wonder if something really unsafe happened to her...
The above two have already given me 20-30 minutes more time to complete my work at work so I can watch a whole extra episode of Weeds when the kids go to bed! Totally addicted to this show. We are on season 6 so, no spoilers for those of you that have already watched it! Love all the nudity.
3. Remember Frau Unibrow from Austin Powers? My husband does not find that lady sexy. Have eyebrow plucker in the car - pluck at lights, for few seconds before getting out of car, routinely, etc. Have saved $40 since last appointment at the end of October. Also, saves time going to appointment.
4. Consolidating laundry to once per week; Still not great at folding and putting away (see November post); my eldest will put away her own, as does the hubby. The littles at least get theirs' in their own baskets...It's ok. The public school knows they are not orphaned or homeless, just a little wrinkled and mismatched.
5. Not going out to eat twice weekly - this is the easiest money saver of all; easily $70-80 per meal after taxes and tips for the five of us, so about $150 per week savings. We have settled on once per month. Just went out today for first time in over 3 weeks and amazingly, it was not exciting. Sadly, this is not making me loose weight...Isn't it supposed to?
6. Planning out dinners and making enough for lunch leftovers - huge time and money saver. Our grocery bill is now about $120 per week for 5 people. Used to be about $170. I have stopped buying almost all prepared food and buy less vegetables (yup - we throw out a lot less) in an effort to not be delusional (clarification : the delusion adjustment only pertains to vegetables). In addition, we do a Sam's run about every six weeks for things like TP, paper towels, detergent, etc. but are more careful to not buy things we don't need (like all the movies, books, gel pens, sticky notes, sheets, plush bathroom rugs, etc. they have). We have flour, rice, sugar, etc in bulk.
7. No more land-line phone service or satellite/cable TV - saves about $100/month.
8. Avoiding going to Target at all cost. Enough said, right? The marketing people that run that show are evil geniuses who must be circumvented.
9. Drinking less alcohol - this one was hard, but man, that stuff is pricey. As tend to be my visits to "Amazon" under-the-influence. For some reason, it can feel crucial to have ALL of the Junie B. Jones books in case the public library has one checked out...I am, however, seriously considering starting a grape harvest this spring. I will keep you posted.
10. Using items we already have at home. Right??? There are enough arts & crafts supplies to run a preschool, enough non-perishable food to survive the apocalypse (with some mild scurvy), and enough medications to get several households through several flu seasons. My husband is of the "belts and suspenders" philosophy...sometimes, though, it feels like he also needs a parachute and a life vest.
$1100 per month saved, so far, not to mention all the stuff we wanted to buy but knew we didn't need. If you include gas, entertainment (hiring babysitters!) and foregoing unneeded splurges, it comes to $1500 per month saved.
There is a lot of reminding and pep-talking that go into this but slowly all the changes are becoming habits. In the end it feels great. We use less, produce less trash. Also, my kids expect to get less "stuff" which is the super awesomest ever.
When you see the huge dollar number we are saving so easily, I am appalled wasting has gone on so long. Apparently, It was easy to get into a routine that doesn't take any thinking. It seemed all these things were helping me save time, but under close examination, looks like that wasn't really the case. For example, making big dinners to carry over into lunch has been relatively painless with planning. There are minutes saved not having to make a separate lunch, not waiting in lines, etc. etc. What do I do with all my spare minutes? Stress less, cook healthier, and spend more time with my family.
Things I will not be able to give up, possibly ever, much to my husband's dismay:
1. Cleaning service that comes every 2 weeks. They lift the furniture and roll up the rugs. No normal person does this cleaning their house. (Jenny, you are not normal). I either pay them, or a marriage counselor. Seems more efficient this way.
2. Monthly massage. It's either this or a pharmaceutical option. Again, seems more efficient.
3. Locally produced anything. Hope I don't need to explain this one.