Saturday, December 06, 2008

Shopping and Saving Money...

Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. ~Author Unknown

So.... yesterday, DH was working from home so I took the opportunity to go running around without the dog (or worrying about her cooped up in her crate for too long). DD wanted to go to the mall. I thought -- heck, it's NOT the weekend, and it's early in the morning, it shouldn't be too bad.


You know what? They may SAY people are spending less, but I'm here to tell you that they are NOT shopping less. Every single place I wanted to go was packed. No parking at WalMart (seriously... NO PARKING) so we didn't go in. We had to park out in the boonies at the L.L. Bean Outlet. People were circling the parking lot at Barnes and Noble waiting for a space to open up. They had so many construction barriers up to "guide" traffic at the mall that I couldn't get to where I wanted to go. We finally just gave up.

Amazing. Now I remember why I like to finish my Christmas shopping early. I'm paying for it this year. I wonder what great gifts they have at the grocery store?


On Thursday, Maria Zannini mentioned a bit on her blog about how to be frugal in this time of high prices and low (or no) income. I made a few comments there, but she suggested I make a couple more here.

You see, my DH and I try to balance living for today with planning for tomorrow -- and that's not always an easy thing to do. I don't believe that pinching pennies so hard you're miserable and never enjoy anything is a good way to live.. because, after all, this life could be over in a flash! So enjoy it ... but enjoy it wisely.

My DH's coworkers think he's loaded with money. After all, we own a home, have nice vehicles, a boat, a snowmobile and I am able to stay home with our daughter. We must be rolling in the dough. Right?


But we live by this bit of advice: Don't buy it if you can't afford it.

Sounds simple enough... but it isn't. Aside from our home, which has a mortgage, we own everything. No loans. No credit card debt. We lived on hand-me-down furniture and thrift store clothes (actually... we still do! LOL), but we waited to buy what we have until we could pay for it outright. We scrimped and saved and cut corners.

Now I sound like I'm preaching. That's not my intent! But folks look at my pretty, shiny, clean 4Runner and think it's brand new. It's NOT -- it's actually a 1992 with 250,000 miles on it. We bought it outright eight years ago and take really good care of it (I'm fortunate that my DH was a Toyota mechanic before going high-tech).

We seldom eat out -- that's a HUGE chunk of change, isn't it? And, the food we eat prepared at home is usually food I've gotten on sale. Except in cases of great need, I don't buy it if it's not cheap. I'm blessed with a basement (half of which is for food storage) and a big, box freezer. The freezer costs $15 a month to run, so I took time to decide if I was going to save that much money on meat, bread, veggies, etc. I do.

I buy the loss leaders, and little else. Rinaldi spaghetti sauce on sale for $1 a jar (I never pay more than that)? I buy 40 jars. Canned corn on sale 3/$1? Woot! Give me a case. Best time to buy meat (here at least) is on Tues and Thurs -- because on Tues, they're trying to get rid of what didn't sell over the weekend, and on Thurs, they're trying to clear out to stock up for the weekend. Chicken breasts on sale for $1.50/lb? I'll take six packages -- DH can eat off those for months. So, instead of paying $50 for a meal out, I can translate that $50 into a week's worth of meals or more.

Clothes for DD? I buy next years at the end of the season this year. A winter coat? No problem... got it for $10. Snow boots? $5/pair, so I buy three sizes. She's good to go for awhile now.

So, now when DH wants to go snowmobiling up north, I don't worry so much about the cost of gas. DD wants art lessons? Okay. Obedience class for the dog? No problem. I want to buy a couple of books? Toss 'em in the cart.

We have money for the extras, because we don't LIVE on "extras".

Comments? Thoughts? What do you do to make ends meet?


Have you entered to win an autographed copy of "One Love for Liv" yet? Why not?


You Are Chicken Noodle Soup

You are a traditional and conservative person. You value the past, and change frightens you.

You are very loyal, especially to your family. You prefer a low-key life, with lots of time spent at home.

You like soup because it's easy, quick, and cheap.

You tend to have a favorite soup you stick to. Why change a good thing?

That's mostly right -- except I make all kinds of soups! I love soup... mmmm....



Ceri Hebert said...

I'm clam chowder.

I'm going to that website. I can learn much. I'm definitely not in the same catagory as you in many ways, but I should say my DH isn't. If it were me alone things would be different. For the life of me I can't get them to eat store brands most of the time. BUT I do love a good thrift store. The Nashua Salvation Army is my favorite place. And I go with my mom. I take a Wednesday off and we head up there. Senior citizen's get an extra sale, 1.00 on some of the tag colors, nearly everything else half off. She "buys" all the SC specials. I love it.

You are good inspiration! Now I feel like a trip to the grocery store!

Maria Zannini said...

I'm glad you took up the challenge, Marianne. :o)

Maybe we can play tag and post different money saving ideas every so often.

One thing that overwhelms shoppers and keeps them from finding the lowest price is not knowing what a good price is.

A price book can be a godsend. It's a little notebook where you list the products you normally buy and then list the prices you see from the various stores you visit. Eventually, you'll know what makes a good price without checking your price book, but with prices fluctuating all the time, it's a handy tool to keep with you.

Ref: We have money for the extras, because we don't LIVE on "extras".

That's a wonderful mantra. More power to you, girl!

MomJane said...

I'm chicken noodle soup, and so we are very alike. Am I like you, or are you like me?

I feel sorry for some of the people around here. I have been talking to a few, and they are really worried about their finances. They have loads of bills, new cars (with payments) and were living on their savings, which have dwindled.

I have no credit card bills, no car payment, no mortgage payment, and lots of food storage. So I don't really worry too much, except for others. This is going to be a tough time for many people. I am going to check out that site you mentioned too.

Dru said...

I learned the value of money when I was laid off. The best part of being laid off for me was getting rid of all my debt. If I don't have the money to make a purchase, then it doesn't get bought.

Because I've been burned before, I don't lend out money. When I recently did my floors, I saved all my money so that when the bill came, it was paid in full. Everything in my house is fully paid for by me.

Unfortunately I can't buy in bulk because I have no storage space.

If you don't care too much about what the Jones have, and live within your means, this recession we are in won't change your lifestyle too much.

quiz: I'm Chicken Noodle Soup.

Sarita Leone said...

You and I think very much alike on the subject of buying.

We don't buy anything we can't afford. Own everything, including our home, thank goodness. And we grow a large percentage of what we eat. When we want something, we save for it until we can afford to pay for it.

Most of our pleasures can't be purchased, either. :)

Hope you're having a nice Saturday!

Melissa said...

I'll check out her website. My sister and her husband and me and mine are going to read and Dave Ramsey's total money makeover together, starting in January. It should be interesting.

Tori Lennox said...

I'm chicken noodle soup too.

I don't buy things if I can't afford them either. When I first got sick I had a lot of debt and I ended up having to file bankruptcy. I didn't want to, but I couldn't work, so I couldn't pay anything off. It was such a massive relief to be rid of the debt even if it screwed up my credit.

Now I'm very careful about my money. Living with my parents helps, though I do pay them rent.

Diane Craver said...

Great post. I also feel fortunate that we only buy what we can afford. While raising our six children, I was able to stay home with them because we made sacrifices but still had a good life. We did buy an old house in bad shape and after living 12 years in it were able to sell it for a profit. Of course, we did the remodeling to save money.

Brandy said...

We were stupid when we were younger and are paying for it now. However, we have learned in the past few years that if we can't pay cash for it, we don't need it(well, except for our house *G*). I buy groceries as cheaply as I can and can usually get meals to about $5-$10 a day.

I'm chicken noodles soup. Hmm, I tend to make stew more than soup. *G*

Have a terrific day and good luck shopping!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

We actually do the same thing - other than our house: no. debt. None. We don't buy things unless we can afford them. And like you, we don't eat out often or do a lot of "extras". We also made The Frugal Gazette our secular bible for a bit. And I have no qualms about second-hand anything.

Michele said...

Wow, GREAT advice!
Wish I could follow that philosophy.
Attorney fees don't fall into the category of scrimp and save for it. Who knew we needed one? LOL
but yea, I buy stuff like fruits and veggies at my grocery store that 'have to go' yet if eaten that day or the next are still yummy and ready to eat right away.

I go to the bread outlet stores and stock up on breads.
I never buy spices from stores. I go to the little shops - local country stores- and they sell it double or triple the size the stores do but less than half the price.
During the summer, I use the local farmer's market. I miss it already!
And sometimes, like BJ's or Costco, I"ll split with my mom on stuff because I too have limited storage space.

I wish I had a root cellar like Yanks of old. Those were a practicle solution too. New constructions don't include them though.

Great post, M~!!!

Michele said...

OH, I'm Chicken Noodle soup too!
Gee, what Else could I have been?

MaryF said...

The one thing I can't cut back on is eating out. We do dinner once a week, lunch once a week and breakfast once a week. Yep, that's about $80 a week, but it's something we love. We don't go to movies, we belong to the online Blockbuster, and only get one DVD at a time. The boy and I take our lunches to school, though the dh eats out most of the time. I get the sale stuff as much as I can, though I don't buy as much as you :) No designer clothes or any of that - I don't like shopping!

We've been in credit trouble before and know what it's like!