The results are in... aka... the credit card statement has arrived! And take a guess at how much we saved in one month of Compacting?
1100 freaking dollars folks! Believe it.
Now here is the truly astounding thing... I still went to Target. We still ate organic. I even bought the kids some clothes. We did not go without.
Changes we made:
- I cut my grocery spending nearly in half by meal planning around what we had on hand each week and trying to buy as little as I could get away with. While I've been meal planning all along planning this way meant I was typically only buying fresh diary, meat & vegetables. Pantry items Mr F stocked up on at Whole Foods which saves us considerably.
- Mr F started taking a sandwich to work everyday. FYI my grocery spending included his new lunch.
- I enforced a "only make as much coffee as you are going to drink" rule. We had been dumping half our coffee every week... which was $7 down the drain. Might not seem like a big deal but it is the small things that add up!
- I shopped (at Target etc) only for what I needed RIGHT then. Not things I might need next month... that is definitely my habit at both Target and the grocery store. By cutting out my "anticipatory needs" at each shopping trip (a serious challenge I assure you!) I cut my spending in half at almost every trip.
- Instead of ordering pizza we started making frozen pizza on Friday nights (or this week homemade).
- We didn't cut out going out to eat entirely but we definitely made cheaper choices and really weighed out if going out was worth it.... sometimes it wasn't (that's when you want to have a few frozen pizzas in the freezer).
That's it. Basically by being more conscious of our spending we cut out a thousand bucks of unnecessary spending. That seems crazy to me... but it is true. Did it take some thought and self control? Yes. But was it actually difficult? No. I wasn't sure we'd save that much even if we cut out all spending outside of food and gas... I'm shocked. And I didn't cut out all spending. I think adopting a "do I need this today" shopping test is key. Does it mean you might have to go back to the store tomorrow? Maybe... but I think you'll find you don't.
I'm excited to see what our savings are for this month. I'm hoping that we'll be able to stick in the same range of spending (which was the lowest since we've had kids). If we can that means we are covering tuition and an addition $300 bucks that could go to something fun like a VACATION. I feel so much more in control and positive about our financial outlook... and that is saying something!