Today I want to talk money. Everyone's favorite topic, right? When the idea of sharing who your splurge and save was floating around the blogosphere I wanted to share my thoughts but kept being pushed to share my shortcomings with money. Yes, you read that. Be transparent and share how I make less than excellent choices when spending the money my husband works so hard to earn. There are 3 areas that I am constantly overspending in and I'm going to share those with you along with a plan for each to cut back that unnecessary spending.
PROBLEM NUMBER ONE
Our Food Bill
If you were to ask James, I go the grocery far too often. And I probably do. Ideally every week I go and I'll shop for one week at a time. I spend about $110-$130 a week without making an attempt to coupon or watch sales. The next week I'll go and do the same and so on. So, in a 4-week period I spend between $440 and $520 at the grocery. Add to this the times we dine out for lunch during the week (Connor and I once and James 3-4 times if he isn't packing his lunch), the nights when I'm don't want to make dinner and we get carry-out and our traditional after church lunch and it's easy to see our food bill inch closer to that $800+ range. THAT'S INSANITY.
My solution to this is to be prepared to have lunches made for James each week with a simple meal plan session on Sundays and prep our diners with a menu. I've done them in the past and it's always helpful as far as prepping goes and planning our week. I also need to create meals that make tasty and worth wanting for leftovers so that I can have those at home during the week or James can take them to work with him. I'm not opposed to leftovers, just some are better than others. I'd like for James to have the ability to dine out once a week for lunch and then as a family on Sundays. That alone can save us around $120 a month.
PROBLEM NUMBER TWO
Buying for Connor
This is where I really need the most assistance. I can't tell you the last time Connor didn't leave a store with something - popcorn and a juice from Target, a new toy, something from the clearance rack, a new book. You get the idea. We can't make it through Hobby Lobby without him asking for candy at the checkout. I will admit I am a "yes parent" and it's something I struggle with and work on daily. However, I need to stand firm and say no. While sometimes it's just a $1, every bit adds up and if I'm being real, he is borderline spoiled these days. Additionally, I do want to admit I'm also known to buy him things when he isn't with me and then treating him to the item "just because". This is ludicrous.
My solution to this is a super easy one... if only I could stick to it. Connor goes to school 3 days a week. Any shopping I need to accomplish needs to be done while he is in preschool from 9:15-12:15. If he isn't shopping with me, he can't ask for a toy. I also need to stay away from aisles of weakness such as the clearance clothing and the new PJ Mask section of Target. Just this week I purchased the last car for his PJ Mask collection and he didn't even have to ask. I was the one who suggested it. Had I not bought that car, my total would have been $12.99 cheaper. Hello!? Obvious solution.
PROBLEM NUMBER THREE
My personality is very much the type that if I want something, I want something. This doesn't just go for items while shopping. If James and I are talking about going on vacation, I'm usually good with the first suggestion and want to book it right away. The same goes for when I'm shopping. If I see something, full price, clearance, doesn't matter and I want it, it goes in my cart. THIS IS NOT GOOD. Now before you think I may be confessing some hoarder like tendencies, I'm not. I just know that I spent an extra $5-$10 every time I go to Kroger (our main grocery) or Target.
My solution for this is to create a list (which I'm so bad at!) and stick to it. If create a list and only shop once a week from that list, I'll get what I need and won't have multiple trips to the store, opening me up for more impulse shopping opportunities. One area I need to learn to move away from is Target's Dollar Spot. I don't know that last time I visited the store and didn't add $3-$5 to my bill thanks to those inexpensive "must have items". If I were to go 3-5 times a month, that starts getting awfully close to a blown $25.
See how my problems are small but all this adds up? If I were to put this into practice starting February 1st, I could save about $150 a month by MAKING SMARTER DECISIONS WHILE SHOPPING. How simple is that? Well, obviously not too simple because I can't seem to wrap my head around it.
Come to think of it, maybe February will be my first ever NO SPEND month. How does one do that? Well, I'm about to find out!
Where do you find yourself spending more when you should be spending less? Share your money struggles with me in the comment section below. I promise you are not alone.