Monday, March 2, 2009

Confessions of a "Reformed" Shopaholic

So I just finished listening to (yes, I said listening) a funny book called Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Why was I listening instead of reading...well, it was one way to make use of my wasted commuting time. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but I can listen to a good book on the way to and from work. It was quite fun actually.

Anyway, getting back to the book. I have to say it was a hoot. I also have to admit....I might have once been a shopaholic in college. I wasn't in debt or anything, but I could have been. I shopped just about as much as Becky Bloomwood. Although I wasn't as addicted to the labels as she.

So how do you change your ways? In light of this Financial Crisis we are in according to the news, I thought I might reflect on some daily, weekly, and monthly spending issues one could focus on to help save a little dough.

So daily, my vice is coffee. I have only recently come to really enjoy a daily cup of joe. Oh how I love the flavored concoction I can buy at Starbucks for almost $4 a cup. So I wondered if I could save some money per week by making my own. I went to the store and found some flavored brew and instant (for time's sake) I might try. It turns out that this works well for me and I save about $20 per week...or more if you count the scone or muffin I throw in from time to time.

So weekly, I usually go out to lunch most days of the week. Yes it gets expensive, but I really hate my own sandwiches. I have not really been able to bring a brown bag everyday...but when I do go out to lunch I try to make a conscious choice to spend less. Subway has a great sandwich for about $5 and if I bring my own chips and is a pretty cheap meal. Another way to avoid the dreaded sandwich is to bring in leftovers from home. You end up not wasting the extra food you cook and save your family from leftover night.

Monthly, I try to save a little at the store. We shop about 2x per month for big trips and weekly for the little things that need replacing more often. So before I go a menu has to be planned. I decide realistically how many meals I am going to cook in a two week period. I then think about what I actually want to cook and put those ingredients on my shopping list. I also add a couple of "emergency meals" just in case we get tied up and I can make the planned meal. Emergency meals are frozen pizzas, lasagnas, etc. Planning is really important when grocery shopping. I think we all tend to over purchase. You don't have to plan to the letter, but at least having an idea of a meal plan helps to control spending.

So now, I am off to see the soon as I have time!