Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Mission Begins

For the past six years, or maybe longer, my husband has been getting on me about my spending habits.  We live in a modest but nice house, have plenty in our savings, no debt (other than a car and house payment), and good jobs.  Why shouldn't I be able to spend money??  In order to make him happy, I will occasionally break apart my credit card statement and detail where all my money goes and then try to minimize my spending in certain areas...Target and the grocery top the list every month!  My attempt may last a month or so, but then I find myself right back at square one.  (Big Monkey really needs this adorable outfit...this is the last I buy for her for the season!) Several weeks later I'm in Gymboree eyeing their latest collection and just have to have few things. And of course Little Monkey needs something new too! Forget the fact that I have huge tubs of hand-me-downs from big sis.  I almost cringe walking into the house after I've been out "running errands." The conversation always goes like this:
      Big D: More clothes for the girls??  Do they really need them?
      Me: Well, yea.  We are moving into a different season and she does grow!
      Big D: I get that, but you also have stuff in that bag for Little Monkey.  Doesn't she 
                  already have a bunch of stuff from Big Monkey?
      Me: Uh, yes, but, uh, some of the sizes for the season aren't matching up.  She is a little
              bigger than her sister at this age, you know. Besides, she needs new stuff sometimes
      Big D: Whatever.

Never fails.  But I have this obsession over little girls' clothes!  I love for my girls to look sharp, maybe because I have a hard time styling myself these days.  

Then there's the grocery shopping.  After an hour long trip, I come home and as we are unloading the bags I hear, "Don't we already have three boxes of this?" "Why do we need this?"  "You spent what on all this?"  I admit, I am bad about writing down what we need and making a detailed list so when I go up and down the isles I just throw things in the cart "just in case."  I make a once a month trip to Whole Foods to stock up and then once a week trips to Giant Eagle.  Our monthly grocery bill is out of control!  Another part of the "problem" is that I buy mostly organic foods.  Those who know me know I am a health nut, mostly when it comes to what my kids eat. That is something I will not compromise on, however.  As a matter of fact I have made my husband promise that if anything were to happen to me, he would continue to feed our girls organic food.  

Then it happened...I was checking my email and on Yahoo's homepage, there was a news story about a family of four who functioned on $35,000 a year and had money left over to put into savings.  Their monthly grocery spending was $350!  I could easily spend that on one trip to Whole Foods!  While I don't think I could ever get my spending down that low on an organic diet, I was motivated to see how close I could get.  I decided to only buy produce, lunch meat, milk and eggs from the grocery store for at least two weeks and maybe push it to three. (Could I maybe even get to four?)  I was going to plan meals from what I already had stashed in my freezer and pantry.  I took inventory of what I had stocked, posted the list on my pantry door and began planning my first week of meals.  I was successful at the grocery and only bought what was on my list.  After placing an online Gymboree order, I planned next weeks meals again only using what I have on hand.  (What? They had the entire store 30% and I had a coupon! I never said I found frugal yet!) 

So, come with me on this journey as I document my attempts at finding a more frugal lifestyle. (And maybe some other journeys as well.)