Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This week's New Frugality

All right, it seems a bit of an obsession, but I really hope it's only becoming a habit. As I said yesterday, making small steps in some direction makes me feel really good and is actually giving me a better perspective on my own moneyhandling. Like many women, I think I feel as if it's great that I am independent and earn my own way (and I'm doing a good job at that!) but "unfeminine" to understand too much even about my own money. Weird, and a sign I still have places to grow.

In any case, I have been paying conscious attention to where and how I spend money, meaning flip out my debit card. This month's offenses include buying lunch at work, from the convenient cart in the lobby. Last month, I spent two much here on coffee, and now I have eased in to lunch...

Yesterday, I realized at 1:30, post-meeting, that I had class at 2 and needed lunch (something!) to not be crabby. So bought a packaged sandwich. Which tasted okay, but thinking later, I realized that was the first white bread I'd had in some time (left a sugary feeling and taste in my mouth). The good thing was that I ate, and the second good thing was that I went down into the green room in our basement and spent the 1/2hour with students, instead of in my office on the computer. So, good on me.

Also realized: I have let the breakfast/lunch habit slide . I am not pre-packing my lunch for Long Days at My U, and I am not preparing breakfast set-up for morning. Only coffee. And presetting the coffee might not be a good thing: when I can pour and go, I grudge the quick oatmeal cooking time (I know!) and pass it up. if the coffee has to perk... then I have water-boiling-time and oatmeal and coffee are ready together. Thinking about it consciously in terms of details and how to re-arrange them, it seems simple. So I am back on that wagon.

It is also better financially (hence, New Frugality!). Bringing a thermos of coffee for another lunchtime cup saves me about $1.85 of the $2 I would normally pay. Making my own lunch definitely saves me in a bit of money, but really mostly in terms of health. When I bring my own stuff, I include fruit, veggies, cottage cheese or yogurt, protein in hard-boiled eggs or sliced meats, and a bit of sweet in a couple of dark chocolate squares. This certainly beats a refrigerated sandwich on cold white bread with too much mayo. I also include enough for snacks, which keeps my blood sugar even, not spiking. Long term results: much better health and savings. See: thinking ahead and thinking consciously are good things. Now: to put them both into practice, daily.

In terms of this week's groceries, I saved quite a bit using coupons, sales, and a gift card. At Target, I spent $41.25, but saved $12.25 including the $5 card. At one grocery store, I spent $10.09 but saved $17.40. No, that is not a typo: I saved $7.31 more than I spent, and the groceries I bought will actually provide one meal weekly for more than two months. At the second grocery store, I spent $56.21 but saved $20.39 and gained a $.10 discount per gallon of gas. Which I promptly took advantage of and bought 10.8 gallons of gas, saving $1.08 total; not a lot, but every bit helps and I had to fill the tank anyway. So I spent $135.08 including my monthly Big Shop at Target and my monthly tank of gas and saved $51.12; which is 38% savings. Everything bought at Target will last a month or more, and the tank of gas will last until December (or longer) given my short commute. The only thing not on my list that I bought was Bon Ami cleanser, which I needed and forgot till I saw it on the shelf. For the meals I am cooking this week, I bought nothing: it was all already in-house, part of the pantry/freezer cleanse.

This is the result of more focused planning on my part, nothing more. So, good on me, twice!

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