Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Listen Up!

Wondering how the Compacting is going? Well. Very, very, well. Shockingly so.

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!


Andrea said...

I have a question Ive been meaning to ask do you buy snack items for your family if so what do you buy Chris harasses me about him not ever having snack food but I refuse to buy junk food and I dont want a big chunk of money spent on snacks. Way too go on the compacting this is a topic Ive been talking with hubby about a lot lately as we are transitioning to one income we have to cut back on spending money on crap we dont need.

Supermom said...

WTG!!!!! How exciting!!!

Mrs Furious said...

I can't wait for Mr F to weigh in on this ;)
I pretty much eliminated snacks. He'll still sometimes buy them for himself.
Kid isn't much of a snacker so that helps. I don't want that shit in the house because I'll eat it. And it is terrible for Mr F. He'd love to have chips and shit around all the time.
We have popcorn. I make muffins once or twice a week after school (and then eat most of them). We have cookies for dessert.

I know... I'm stoked!!!

now off to hunt for the one missing library book I can't find....

Heather said...

Awesome! I must go find the links to this -- we're single income now, so we trying to figure out ways to save.

Marie said...

Incredible! Isn't it great when something actually pays off..and better than you thought! That is a HUGE chunk of ching!

(and love the disney goal..we're shooting for next october ((fingers crossed))..of course we go just about every year ;-)

P/F said...

The going out to eat thing is BIG for us. Especially because I usually get a salad that costs $9 to $12 when I could make it at home for pennies.

Also, I just bought 6 months worth of contacts for $220! I'm going to have to investigate Laser eye surgery because that is a ridiculous price.

P/F said...

Oh, and the coffee idea, Brilliant!
We make a pot of coffee everyday, and almost everyday throw away 7 cups of coffee. If there's a rare occasion where I need another cup of coffee, it is not to hard to brew another cup.

Dana said...

Talk about eye opener! I'm going to start tracking finances, just to see what we spend. I want to save money, too.

Robin said...

That is fantastic! I've been looking at our finances. Something's gotta change.

julie said...

Now how did you know that you saved that much...did you have that left over in the bank or was it because the credit card bill was that much lower? What would you have normally bought with that money? Was it groceries and random Target stuff? It is absolutely amazing. I am trying to only buy what I need, too. I actually cleared out most of the cereal that I had in a cabinet...like 6 boxes of a variety of kinds and like 3 boxes of some TJ honey nut cheerios that the kids eat most of the time. Ridiculous. I keep buying stuff whether I need it or not.

Mrs Furious said...

yes our credit card (which is how we pay for everything) was that much lower. I went from 700 on groceries to 400. It's harder for me to figure out Mr F's spending since I don't know if he was buying groceries or lunch stuff. But that is how much less I spent on groceries.
I can't even identify what all we didn't buy. I really just tried to toe the line when I went out and not go if it could be put off another day. I spent 100-200 less at Target then normal. So that isn't even the big savings. I think the lunches must have saved a hundred bucks or so. And we must have saved about 100-200 going out to eat. So there you go... I can only account for a max of 700 of it. The rest must be incidental shit... who knows?!

I will say this for everyone looking at their spending. When I looked at it before doing this I didn't think there was anything we could cut. Everything seemed like a legitimate expense. I never thought I could have cut my groceries like that.

Marie said...

$400 a month...and all organic?? That is incredible!!

Mrs Furious said...

It also served as portion control ;)

julie said...

I just bought my first half gallon of organic milk. I told Tom that it is not for us, only the children and that it is "drinking milk." He naturally thinks I am nuts and said 'as opposed to bathing milk?"

My kids drink 2 gallons of milk a week at a cost of about $6 for the regular, hormone-free milk. The organic variety would cost $12. I will slowly make the transition. One half gallon at a time;)

P.O.M. said...

That is seriously admirable! You're the bomb Mrs F.

Deb said...

I won't even bore you with what prompted a hard look at our finances and budget this month, but I told my husband this was possible without breaking a real sweat, and you are proof! I read him your post and he got pretty excited about it, too. The idea of saving that much on groceries alone was enough to put him on board with my plan. Thank you!

Mrs Furious said...

Mr F and I had another fucking chat about his spending. While I brought down my end he still doesn't realize all the little stuff he buys (often with the intention to return) and how much it adds up to. I'm taking his credit card away. I need to wait another month so I can get ahead of the bill cycle (yep that means we don't have cash to take out right now!) but then he's getting an allowance for gas and food. If he needs to go to a store he needs to have a list and stick to it. We'll see...

Claire said...

Congratulations - it is really inspiring to read your results - I really need to track my spending a lot better than I do - thanks for the encouragement!

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