Thursday, May 15, 2008

About saving money

I have a very vague childhood memory of my dad yelling at my mom for spending too much money at the grocery store one week. For some reason, I remember how much she spent:

Twenty-three dollars.

For a family of six, and a couple dogs.

Isn't that laughable, now? That $23 seemed so excessive at the time (it was probably the mid-'60s)?

Today, we drop $23 at Panera Bread. For one meal.

At least we did until gas started tickling $4 a gallon. I'm starting to think that $4/gallon is the long-sought tipping point for folks to change their habits.

Because it's got me thinking about how to save money--not eating out as much, combining trips, carpooling to work (at least a day or two a week), shopping at old haunts like Dollar General, Big Lots, and Aldi's.

One of the best ways to save money shopping, but hard to do with busy days, is planning what you need a little more carefully. You know, plan your menu, look at your pantry, look at your sundries, check ads for sales. But I think I've reached my tipping point of time and money. I'll take the time now to save the money.

I like to shop for clothes and pretty things, and always try to find the bargain--TJ Maxx, Ross's, Marshall's, clearance racks are some of my favorite places to browse. I've added a new one this spring: Clothes Mentor. Second-hand clothes, gently used, brand names. I'm getting lots of compliments on my Clothes Mentor stuff this spring and feeling pretty economical too.

I'm having these conversations not just in my head, but with all my friends. We compare how much our last fill-up cost ($62! The most I've ever spent! is a common lament), and talk about carpooling and whether we're going on vacation or not, and what bargains we can pick up at Aldi's.

I've been reading about where gas prices are going, and it's as unpredictable as a Cubs score. One bunch of analylists are saying $100 a barrell oil (or even less) by the end of year. Another bunch says it's climbing to $200. I suspect it'll be somewhere in the middle, but tending towards the higher price point.

With that in mind, I'm instituting my new frugality measures. I'm not anticipating any big sacrifices, but who knows what my next tipping point will be. Keep an eye on the gas station sign.

How about you? How are you saving money?


Anonymous said...

I've always used coupons. This week, when I was checking out at Walgreen's, I presented my usual stack of store and manufacturer's coupons. The woman behind me said, "I never think of that. Maybe I should try it." She should--I saved more than $30--about half the total bill--on a handful of things I would buy anyway. I'm also buying less, but this has been a long-standing habit, as I am a freelancer. I wear my younger sister's old clothes. I don't own a TV anymore. The bonus: I have less to wash, dust or store.

BOSSY said...

Yes, must save money. It's Bossy's mantra. And she will begin, just as soon a she finishes paying off her unnecessary laptop.