Monday, August 9, 2010

Operation: Penny Pincher

Okay, so we all know the economy is crappy. There's really no nice word for it, but there are plenty of not-so-nice ones. Even though I personally don't have to worry about our next paycheck (at least not yet), I'm still raising 4 kids on one (not so big) salary. I gave up my career climbing the corporate ladder in retail in early 2006 when Mr. Smartypants and I discovered we were expecting. Good thing. A week after I quit, we found out we were having twins...and no one wants to pay that daycare bill....I promise. Well, four years later and one more baby, we are still living on one income. And plan to continue to do that until further notice (i.e. they all go to school and I get bored...ya right). Being a Stay At Home Mom (known further as SAHM) has its advantages: my laundry stays done *smirk*, my house stays clean *snort*, and I always have time to cook warm, wholesome meals for my family *choke*. But the most important advantage is that I get to hang with my kids all day. Hey, preschoolers can have some deep conversations (Mom, why is Dora's dress purple?) Regardless of our reasons for my lack of paying work (I work, trust me, I just don't get the lovely paycheck at the end of the week...Mr. Smartypants would have to win the lottery to afford my paycheck anyway), we are living on one income. So I feel my job is to stretch that income as far as humanly possible. This is the way I can "add" to the family bank account. If we can live well on as little as possible, then there is more money at the end of the month to do whatever with. So what does this novel of wandering thought mean? I'm trying hard(er) to save money and I'm taking you along for the ride.
This mission we're on is a journey through all the money saving techniques and tricks we can find. My ulitmate goal: find the best way to save the most money while feeding my family yummy, nutritious, healthy meals. I will be posting often about this with daily and weekly missions to save money. I would love for you to try these ideas yourself and let me know whether or not they work for you. Some people swear by coupons and national chain drugstores, others, Wal-Mart, still others, warehouse clubs. I will be trying several different popular techniques and reporting my results and my opinion.

This week's mission: PAY ONLY WITH CASH

I don't mean avoid using my credit card. If you're using your credit card to pay for groceries you either a.) need to see a financial planner and a credit counselor or b.) have your finances in such good order that you need not participate in this...just keep using your card, paying it off at the end of the month and collecting those frequent flyer miles....oh, and send me a postcard from which ever cool place you go to with those miles.

What I mean is I'm going to use COLD HARD know that green paper stuff we used to get in birthday cards from Grandma, before she started sending us Paypal payments for our birthday.

This is the theory...if you go to the store with only your budgeted amount in your purse, you are less likely to spend extra money on impulse buys like 8-2 liters of Dr.Pepper just because you found them for 35 cents each because you don't have to security of your bank account balance to fall back on if you go over "just a little bit".

My pre-shopping opinion of this:
This could work beautifully or this could backfire seriously. My concerns: Making sure what's on my list won't exceed my budget before I ever go. The time consumption involved with keeping a running tally of my spending while in the store shopping.

My goal: Pay only in cash, come in $10 less than budget, treat myself to starbucks with the leftover cash.

My shopping day this week is Thursday morning and I will have only Moose with me. Itchy and Scratchy start preschool this week (wooo-hooo, party at my place!!!) I'll report back Thursday afternoon/evening with the results.

What do you think about this?

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