Today’s mantra: Establish frugal habits and execute on them every day.
Today’s action: Think through a typical week and identify every opportunity where you can plan ahead and save money.
I talk a lot about food because it’s my biggest source of wasted money and my downfall is usually lack of planning. Monday was a prime example of this. My husband has renal failure due to a genetic disease that caused his kidneys to fail when he was 8, and he does dialysis 3 days a week. One of his weekly treatments is on my day off (Monday), so I go with him.
His treatment is first thing in the morning and he’s hooked up to the dialysis machine for 3 hours. With the time it takes to get hooked up and taken off, we’re there for 3 ½ to 4 hours. And conveniently there’s a grocery store right across the street. When I’m on top of it, I’ll make myself a shake or oatmeal for breakfast and bring a healthy snack. When I’m not so on the ball, my go-to is the only vegan shake at the grocery store that costs $2.30 for an 11 oz shake- not the most filling. I usually have to get some fruit or nuts to fill it out.
My husband is indecisive about his food, but he usually wants a bagel or muffin, so right there we’ve spent $5-$10 on breakfast when it could have been avoided if we’d just planned ahead and brought food with us. After dialysis usually isn’t much better. He finishes up right around lunchtime, so it’s not uncommon for us to grab food on the way home (another $10-$15). And that’s every week! It really adds up.
But like Liz says, no excuses! I have managed to plan ahead for Mondays before, and this isn’t something new, it happens every week. I just need to sit down Sunday night and make a plan. A plan for success! Too cheesy?
Another easy way I try to save money is to track sales of our household and toiletry items. I used to buy all our toiletries from Walmart and they have a handy little app that lets you scan your receipts The app then compare prices with sales around town and will credit you back if another store was selling the item cheaper. So it not only saved money, but it also meant I had a digital record of all our toiletry purchases.
I spent an hour going through the app, noting the price and how often I purchased each toiletry or household item. This record has been invaluable! I have a baseline price for each item and I know how many I’ll be buying each year. I highly recommend making a list like this, even if you just track the items as you buy them throughout the year.
I buy most of my household and toiletry items from Costco now because I was able to determine it was a better deal, and because I know how often I need each item, I know how much to buy when it goes on sale. It took me a while to convert to the ways of Costco, but now I’m in love! I’ll write a post sometime about how I use Costco to save money and eat healthily.
What ways has planning ahead helped you save? Have you found some areas you can improve in?