...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.
- 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!