I’m sure it says something about my personality when I say that the start of summer vacation motivates me like the start of a new year. What do I what to accomplish over the next few months? What activities do I want to make sure happen?
This probably sounds more hard core than I mean it. One of the perks of the teaching profession is summer break. Over the next several months, I can pursue some of my other passions outside of the classroom. For instance, I have never grilled a pork loin before and I want to try this summer.
Of course, topping the list of “need to accomplish” is writing my book–not quite as lighthearted as learning how to grill a pork loin, but rewarding and important nonetheless. I am easing myself into the writing process this week, but mainly I plan to devote my morning hours to writing. I also plan to blog about my progress throughout the summer. Stay tuned.
However, the focus of this post is my other important goal for summer: spend less money. I have a good bit of head knowledge about ways to save money, but the execution of said knowledge is the challenge. I’m not the type of spender who blows the budget on large purchases, instead it is the small purchases that cause me problems.
In January 2014, I wrote a post entitled Use What You Have about Brad’s and my commitment to trim our entertainment budget. By and large, we have been successful in this area. We don’t eat out nearly as often. We still have room to grow, but I know we are headed in the right direction when Anna says, “We never eat out.”
The reality of our situation is we have a child headed to college in the fall. In addition, we have some financial goals that we want to see happen–more money to our retirement fund, a trip to Europe, a healthier emergency savings fund, to name a few. So this brings me back to the drawing board to ask myself where I can find an extra $100 a month in our budget. That’s my goal: To free up a $100 each month.
I spent part of my Sunday afternoon this past week reading blogs about saving money, particularly in regards to grocery shopping since this is one area with flexibility. Much of what I read I already knew. But two ideas caught my attention and seem like a good place to start. The first is to move to cash only for grocery purchases. I have tried this in the past and had mediocre success. The reason I think it will work better this time ties into idea number two: only grocery shop once a week. By doing this, I eliminate impulse purchases because I will have a list, like every savvy shopper does, and I will have my cash envelope for that week with me, not at home sitting on my desk. When the money’s gone, it’s gone. Creativity will have to rule the day.
I announced my new plan to the family at dinner the other night. I told them if somebody eats all of the ice cream within the first two days of the week (this child shall remain nameless), then there is no more ice cream until I return to the store the following week. This applies to other snacks as well, which can be eaten quickly and mindlessly during lazy summer days.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, I would love to hear your best money-saving ideas.