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Monday, January 24, 2011

Bachelors Degree in Thriftiness

Like everyone else, my family has been hit pretty hard with the economy the last few years.  Regardless, we made it work.  We scrimped and saved and we've gone with only one car for the last three years now. 

See, the economy took a dive right before Willie got out of the air force and we moved across country. Despite our high hopes, Willie was unable to get a job in even a similar field of work since we've moved here.  I won't give you the exact figures, of course, but let's just say we've grown used to living on about a third of what we should be, with an extra mouth to feed even!

It's been hard, to say the least.  It's been a lot of sacrifices and prioritizing. I mentioned the other day that it's almost my turn to go back to school.  I don't know why, since I've certainly had the longest course ever in living a thrifty life.  I should be getting my bachelors degree in thriftiness any day now.

Our biggest problem area, like most families, is groceries. I've had to learn to stick to a list.  I mean, wow! I never realized how many pointless things we bought before, but even now if I don't make a list, I watch our total quickly exceed what it should.  My trick is to plan 8-9 dinners for 2 weeks.  I know that sounds wrong, but when you shop using whole ingredients rather than boxes, it lasts so much longer! For example, if I want to make chicken and broccoli Alfredo, I would buy frozen chicken breasts (or a whole chicken), a couple of heads of broccoli, a box of pasta, Parmesan cheese, butter, and heavy cream.  I'm certainly not going to use a whole chicken or an entire package of butter. I most likely won't use all of the Parmesan or pasta either since my family eats maybe half a box of pasta.  See? Now I have all of these extra ingredients for another meal!

As of this week, I've even begun using coupons.  In fact, Saturday I sent Willie out on our very first coupon run.  I need to re-install the printer program on my computer since I had to wipe it clean recently, but I found cellfire.com thanks to a friend.  This site lets you register your store rewards cards for the grocery stores you frequent, and you load coupons right onto your rewards card.  It's awesome! You just let them scan your card during check out like always and the coupons are automatically deducted from your total. Isn't that amazing?! I never thought I would be the type to use coupons, but after talking to so many people that get things practically for free, I decided I must try it! This week's grocery shopping trip will most definitely include as many coupons as I can get my hands on.  It's time for me to take that step and save even more money.

Anyway, hopefully by including coupons into my weekly shopping, I can save even more money, therefore putting more money in our pockets. In a way, it's almost like getting a pay raise! Until there is an actual pay raise in our future, we'll just have to stick with our thriftiness.  Maybe this is supposed to be a life lesson.  It's better that I learn this now, when we don't have money so that I can continue to use it one day when we are  both working and bringing in a good paycheck, right?

1 comment:

  1. I've been couponing since xmas and it can definitely save you a ton of money. I hope it works well for you too! I'm not like some of those crazy good couponers but with practice I hope to learn to save half off my groceries too. If you haven't already, check out deal seeking mom. She's one of my favs on FB and she is always posting coupon deals :)