With all this talk about how badly our economy is doing it’s easy to see how most everyone considers what we are going through as “extremely hard times”. I however prefer to see our times of restraint as an opportunity to hone my micro-economic skills on the home front and become more financially savvy. I admit that we do live in challenging times, however that doesn’t mean we can’t rise to the challenge with some gusto and grit! I find it to be an invigorating and rewarding pursuit, knowing that in the end if I keep my “eye on the prize” instead of letting it get me down, my family and I will all be the better for it.
Today’s topic was inspired by a post on the Egullet forum called A Week Without Shopping. In this particular post readers are challenged to skip their weekly trip to the grocery store and to “live off the bounty” found in their cupboard, pantries, and freezers. Form the post originators standpoint, most Americans make a weekly shopping trip, with an average bill of about $100. Of course this could be much more or less depending on the mouths you feed, where you shop, what your staple foods are etc…but you get the point. My favorite quote from the post is “Think about it from an economic standpoint. Times are tough right now. If you spend $100 a week on groceries, this experiment will put $100 back in your pocket quicker than you can say stimulus.”
Which got me to thinking…there are a lot of trips we make to certain stores or places, on a certain set schedule (once a week/month), without even really thinking about it. We do it out of habit, because we always have. I know I like going to Target Greatland and every time I ALWAYS walk out with something I hadn’t planned on buying! How often do YOU go to a store without *really* needing to? Yes, yes, the kids say they need fruit snacks and hubby wants more soda and you yourself could use more Apple Blossom Body Wash, but is all of that needed right now, this minute? Imagine this-you wait a week (even two) before running to go get those items…what would happen? The kids will complain a little (but your used to that), hubby *might* go get his own soda (doing you a favor), and you’ll have to use regular soap (and still be just as clean). Oh ok, I’ll help you out a bit. Feed the kids another snack hiding in the pantry/fridge/cupboard/behind the couch and switch hubby to coffee/milk/tea/water/juice/hot chocolate. See, so many options!
Imagine how much $$$ you’ll save by not walking into the store in the first place! All of those impulse “oh, it’s on SALE!” or “hey, I NEED that!” type of items. My mom’s favorite phrase was “It was such a good deal I couldn’t pass it up!”, and yes, she is a shopaholic. No matter what you may think, there are only so many “good deals” out there that you actually need to take part in, the rest just leave for everyone else. Heck, my husband is ecstatic that I no longer run the errands, we’ve saved so much money by having him run them when he goes out to pick up our teenager from school. The good thing about having him do them (besides saving me the trouble) is that he actually sticks to the list I give him, and just so none of you worry needlessly, we are all still alive and thriving without all of the impulse buys.
So consider taking the challenge! Skip grocery shopping for a week, or another stop along the way that you normally make when running your errands. Do you really need to go there? Can you go without something for now? Can you use/eat/make something else? Get creative, think outside of the box, and save yourself $100 this week! If you can do this once a month, you have the potential to save over $1200 in a year! Besides saving money, the other advantage to thinking this way is that less will go to waste, which means you are being a better steward of your finances and you are being more earth-friendly.