What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, September 27, 2013

Financial Peace Friday

...In which I try to keep my head in the financial game by thinking on (and acting upon) ways to save pennies, make pennies and stretch pennies.

One big change (challenge) I have given myself is to stretch the shopping days out. Until last month my schedule included a weekly grocery shopping day~ usually on Mondays.  That trip takes 30 minutes up and 30 minutes back.  During the school year, that's a school day, which threw our whole school day for a loop.  And while I was uptown I would convince myself to step into several different stores, just to browse for sales.  Well, without fail, I would find SOMETHING to buy.  I am a bargain shopper to the core.  I don't wince at spending under $5.00 on something- in fact, I am kinda proud of it.  But nickle and dime-ing things can add up!

So as I was considering options on helping to tighten our budget, I realized that while many people clip coupons to save money, for me that might not be as beneficial.  Clipping coupons would have me uptown MORE often to get the bargains and since my temptation is to find good deals and buy them, I thought perhaps staying away from stores altogether would equal more savings in the long run.

By moving to a monthly grocery day, I have saved money in mileage, gas money (which is nothing to sneeze at these days) and plenty of moolah in the way of food.  I have also freed up our Mondays so we don't jam school in between the cracks of the afternoon and I go in the evenings so I can get done more quickly than when hauling four children along for the ride.

It requires a lot more forethought though- let me tell you.  I have to buy ALOT of everything, to make up for the whole month which means I have to know WHAT to buy which means I have to have a monthly food plan.

There is no way to buy enough dairy needs to accommodate a whole month of our families' needs- that would be about 14 gallons of milk!  So on our library days, I go to a small mom-n-pop shop right by the library to pick up the milk.  (By next summer though, when our Penny has her calf, I won't need to worry about that anymore!  Yay!  Happy thoughts, happy thoughts!)

So, that has been my first step to saving money.  And it is a biggie.

Other ways I worked to be a better financial steward this week:
  • I finally finished sorting all the winter/summer clothes.  I sorted clothes into "DONATE", "YARD SALE" and "CONSIGNMENT SHOP" bags.
  • I accepted several generous bags of clothes from church friends on Sunday- who single-handedly supplied my eldest girl and my youngest boy with all their winter needs!  What a blessing these ladies are!  I hadn't found anything for Corynn at yard sales this year and now she even has a winter coat! And Judah has some "new" shoes which his HUGE feet (that grow to new sizes within a month it seems) desperately needed!
  •  I cleaned up all the leftovers and almost-finished things in the fridge before they spoiled by making soup and smoothies, among other things.  I hate it when food spoils in the fridge.  That is SUCH a waste of money (and for gardeners: a waste of TIME).
  • I spent a bit of time, while sorting clothes, listening to this.
  • I paid bills on time.  
  • I paid the full auto insurance quarterly amount instead of paying in installments (saving the $5.00 per installment charge.)  
  • I harvested potatoes from the garden.
  •  I went to a free knitting class at the library.
And the best for last:
  • Here is a HUGE ONE that I am so thankful for:  I called the billing department of the hospital where I spent two visits in the emergency room a few months ago and asked if they would give me a discount if I paid my bill in full instead of in small payments.  I didn't grovel, I didn't beg, I just asked.  They gave me 20% off like it was totally no big deal!!!!  A HUGE savings for a 2 minute phone call!


Julian said...

Awesome! We have six. Another ones graduating this year. Have to tighten our belts. These ideas are great. I'm not sure how once a month shopping would go. I coild do sams once a month instead of every other week. Gives me something to think about. Have a great weekend! Christina

Jill Foley said...


I used to shop every other week instead of weekly and noticed a big change. Now I'm back at weekly and often run up to the store mid week because I'm so close (a mile away). It's time to rethink that.

Unknown said...

Please do a post on your monthly grocery list- Would love to see how you do it and if it is not to personal what you spend! Always looking for ideas to save! Thanks so much for posting a financial peek, it is inspiring!
Cheers, Gretchen

Catie said...

About a month ago my hubby took over our finances and I thought it would bother me to not know what every penny is going but it's actually very freeing! :)

I still really enjoy reading about ways to be more frugal. It's very inspiring! What a blessing it must be to have such a big garden to glean from! I hope that's us someday. :)

Miranda Hupp said...

You go, girl!

Anonymous said...

Do you not have health insurance?

Ulli said...

Awesome, Rebecca! Keep it up!

Anna Yager said...

The cash discount thing is more common than you might expect - you could try it with car maintenance bills for instance. And not only is shopping monthly a great time freer, as you found, but it makes a lot of sense when you have a pantry full of things you've put up from your own garden. There's much less variety in food down here in Mexico, but because of that the meals are simpler to plan and cook, although still quite tasty and nutritious.

bobbi @ revolution of love blog.com said...

You struck a nerve because I was just thinking I need to go to the store less often, not because we are far away but we are too close. It is far to easy to pop in with a short list and come back with a lot of extras I couldn't resist.

I think this week I'll try to do a pantry only menu plan. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

BTW, I came to your blog from a comment you left on mine. So glad I did. I am loving your posts. :-)

Rebecca said...

Christina~ I am not sure either- this is only our second month! ;-) And even then, there is a 'cheat' week milk run, so I guess technically, it isn't once-a-month shopping in its truest form just yet. When we start having our own milk- then we will be able to do it 'right'.

Jill- as much as I hate the long drive to the store, I am very glad I don't live TOO CLOSE or I would be there TOO OFTEN! (The Lord must have known my weaknesses. ha!)

Gretchen- coming up!

Catie- I can't imagine that feeling! Lucky lady!

Miranda and Ulli- thanks! You gals are great cheerleaders!

Anonymous- we don't. And no- we won't with OBamadon'tCare either.

Anna- I never seem to have a problem using up what I have put up. Thankfully. That wasn't always so, of course, but I have come to learn that if you work hard at canning- you'd better be canning things people will EAT otherwise your time is a complete waste! :-)

Bobbi-I am glad you are here! Thank you for coming back! And, personally, I REALLY love pantry-only-challenges. I love kitchen challenges in general, like the time I challenged myself to use as many eggs as I could in one day and it turned out to be some outrageous number like 75+ or something like that. That was a fun one too. Good luck with your menu!

Amber StepstoSave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber StepstoSave said...

That's wonderful that the hospital was able to give you a great discount!

I'm also trying to shop less for groceries. The more I go, the more I spend. I also enjoy being in the house more and I am not a fan of running errands.

I also sorted through our children's clothing and sorted them into the following:

- Keep ( for next year or sibling)

- Yard Sale

- Ebay

- Giveaway

- Reuse

- Garbage

Hope you have a great day!

Rebecca said...

Amber- I totally forgot to include the 'keep for later' pile! (duh Rebecca!)

Thanks for your comment!