Monday, November 5, 2012

November update

I haven’t been feeling particularly bloggie for the past month, life has been a lot more hectic than usual and I’ve found myself taking on too many extra responsibilities and getting burned out in the process.  Add to that some pretty big curveballs that S and I have recently experienced and I’ve just turned into a big mess (and turned back to some of my old nasty spending habits)!  

To remind myself of the journey I’ve been on for the last year with the debt pay-off and financial overhauling, the next few posts I make are going to be dedicated to the ways I’ve changed over the past year.  Hopefully, reminding myself of all the big and little things I’ve done in my day to day life to get me where I am today will get me back on the straight and narrow.

I’ll start with the food, one of my biggest areas of weakness!  Here are the top 5 changes I’ve made over the last year that have reduced my monthly expenditures in the food department:

#1: Reduced the junk food and meals out.  When I started a year ago I was spending a small fortune every month on junk food and eating out.  I calculated around $250 a month went to completely non-essential food like soda, chips, lunches, drinks and dinners out.  In retrospect, now that I actually know how to track my spending, that number was probably a lot higher.  I’ve cut that amount in half and am still working on whittling it down by packing plenty of food including snacks for work, making more interesting food at home, and just plain saying “no” to my food cravings!

#2: Amped up the meal planning.  Part of cutting back on spending for eating, drinking, and snacking out was to be better prepared with food on hand at home.  I was already pretty good at making and sticking to a list for the grocery so making an actual meal plan was just one step further.  By planning out meals and snacks I’ve been able to really reduce the amount of food waste we have and be better prepared for all our meals and snacking urges!

#3: Discount shopping.  The nice thing about having a meal plan and list of household items that are needed is that I can now hunt for sales, coupons, and cheaper alternatives.  I’ve pretty much mastered the art of maxing out the discounts at my CVS and get most of the household goods there.  I’ve also got a handle on what stores have the best deals for the staple food items, I regularly use coupons (which I previously thought was such a time-hog it couldn’t be worth it), and I shop the discount rack at my grocery store and then prepare/ freeze the soon to expire food ASAP! 

#4: Went  vegetarian (kind of).  Meat is freakin’ expensive so we have been experimenting with a mostly vegetarian diet.  I was kind of shocked the first time I did a “meat-less” grocery run, my grocery bill was automatically cut by at least a third!  S was already comfortable with a vegetarian diet since pre-me he was a strict vegetarian and my transition was actually kind of fun getting to look up all sorts of new recipes to try out!

#5: Making it from scratch.  Sure opening a can or box of something is convenient but making things from scratch has really saved me a ton of money over the past year.  Take beans for instance, a great and cheap protein staple for the new semi-vegetarian diet we are trying.  A can of beans is somewhere around $1 but a bag of dry beans is also around $1 and makes the equivalent of 4 cans.  Dry beans are not at all hard to make and, unlike the canned beans, don’t come with a ton of salt already mixed in. 

So that’s how I’ve reduced my food spending each month in a nutshell, looks good to see it written out and definitely is the reminder I need right about now that I can stick with the positive changes I’ve already made!  

No comments:

Post a Comment