» My big money saving plan. Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk!

My big money saving plan.

I am all laid up and sad with allergies this morning, so I thought i’d alleviate some of my boredom by sharing this money saving list i’ve been putting together in my head this week. Money problems are like herpes, you see one little red spot and pretty soon it’s invited all of its friends to inflame your life (P.S. I do not have herpes [P.P.S. I have nothing against people who have to live with herpes]). I don’t want anyone to think that we’re about to file bankruptcy or that i’m hinting at something (unless you really have like, a grand you’re not using), but the only way for me to not have no extra money is to clearly stop spending so much of it, so this is what i’ve come up with. It’s a set of rules that is guaranteed to save me money, without totally putting a damper on my consumerism.

  1. No bottled drinks!  I mostly drink tea and water, but occasionally I will get a bottle of Vitamin Water or a bottle of Yerba (expensive), and rarely, a soda.  If I only get two bottled drinks a week, and they cost $1.50 each, that’s $3 a week.
  2. $40 a week grocery budget, including the Farmer’s Market.  I will go to the ATM every Saturday to get cash for the market like I always do, and that’s my food money.  That’s not too restrictive for one person, but it will keep me from nickel and diming my money away on expensive processed foods that I can do without.
  3. No soy yogurt!  Soy yogurt + banana is my breakfast of choice, but the yogurts cost $0.80-1.20 each (they are sometimes on sale), and that adds up if i’m eating one almost every day.  This is the only specific food i’m banning from myself, as I rarely buy things like tofurky slices, vegan ice cream, etc. on anything close to a regular basis.
  4. No new (or new to me) clothes, even if they’re on the clearance rack.  I often justify buying new clothes because they’re on sale.  I really don’t need new clothes, I haven’t donated any in a long time so I have a glut of clothes.  I have jeans in a wide range of sizes, I could gain or lose 10 pounds tomorrow and still not need new pants.
  5. No dvds, even if they’re only a few bucks.  We have a large dvd collection, so large that Brian and I weeded out over 50 movies and t.v. shows and I still barely have room for them.  So not only do I not have the spare money, I really don’t have the space.  We never buy t.v. shows on dvd brand new, but even on sale that’s still $15-25 per set.  And I have plenty of t.v. shows to watch!  This got tested hardcore today, as Amazon has the Daria series for $27.  But I remained strong.
  6. Remembering the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’.  I need food, pet food, and Chester’s pills (he’s currently ingesting about $40 a month in liver and thyroid supplements) and some gas money.  I do not need sports headphones, new cookbooks, or to go out to dinner.

That might sound very un-fun, but part of the reason for making up these rules for myself is so I have money for other things.  Like going to the $5 movies (saw Machete last night), and throwing my underbums at going to see Ted Leo at the end of the month.

That’s all I can think of, but if anyone has any other suggestions of things that you probably don’t think drain your wallet but do, let me know.

posted: 10 September 9
under: life, lists

  • I am a big fan of using coupons as well. The Couponmom site is really great. I try to buy things in bulk and buy dried beans instead of canned; frozen fruits/veggies instead of fresh (during the winter-when produce costs more). If you go to the farmer’s market at the end of the day; you get produce cheaper. When I see cheap, over ripe bananas, i buy as many as i can, then freeze them.
    I think your list is great. It doesn’t sound un-fun; it sounds responsible and it sounds like you’re making sure that you stay in control of your life. It sucks to be an adult.

  • Tracy

    I think you should write a zine about living on a $40 per week grocery budget and make some money.

  • Megan

    I keep telling myself I need to do this. I, too, have a soy yogurt problem. I put one in the freezer every night after dinner and eat it once the kids are in bed. nom nom nom.

  • It’s amazing at what happens when we start writing a list to see where are money is being spent. Wants and needs. A couple of months ago I read John Robbins “The New Good Life”, what a great book! I highly recommend it.

    If you do want to rent DVD’s my brother told me about Redbox, it’s a big metal redbox located in markets, that is loaded with hundreds of dvds for $1 a day. You can find out where redboxes are located by going to redbox.com!

  • Liza Vegan

    LIBRARY, LIBRARY, LIBRARY = FREE

    They are usually up to date on dvds. And if you want to dive into a phenom story try out the remake of Battlestar Galactica. The miniseries started in 2003ish and the regular show ended I think last year.

    The story is somewhat like Star Wars in its mythological themes. But WAY better acting, directing, producing, writing.

    Engrossing and relevant issues are raised. Thought provoking and entertaining!

  • Suzanne

    (I love the remade Battlestar Galactica, soy yogurt, especially the coconut ones which are even more expensive, and libraries!!!)

    I’d also have to add that coffee and alcohol can be major financial drains, and, after giving them up for other reasons (I’ve recently become obsessed with running and they dehydrate me) I’ve been really happy with the money I’ve saved.

  • Angela

    How about… I send you $20 and 5 free soy yogurt coupons in exchange for “vintage” copies of Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk I & II? (I keep hoping you’ll sell them again some day, as I missed my chance to buy them before becoming a vegan.)

  • Great list. I totally feel you on the soy yogurt. my preschooler is a big fan too so I can’t cut it out completely. Lucky for me though, the big tubs are just under $3 – she loves vanilla, so I don’t get stuck buying the little ones (though I secretly prefer the blueberry!).

    We are also about to cancel our digital cable TV and just keep internet, since we can get a lot of stuff through netflix now. I am trying to also find little odds and ends to cut out and save money. Good luck!

  • Mo

    I gave up on single soy yogurts a while ago. Now I get a huge thing of plain if I feel I absolutely have to have yogurt.

    I understand your list so much. Since moving here, I have had a hell of a time finding a job. It’s so frustrating because I used to make most of the money. I bought what I wanted when I wanted.

    Living on one income really changes priorities. We pay bills, buy food, get gas…and feel lucky if we have enough to actually enjoy life. Bah. It’s depressing.

  • I started using Mint.com to track my spending. Really helped me figure out where I was overspending. Making a budget and pulling out only so much cash definitely works though! Can’t overspend what you don’t have. =) That’s my next step. Now that I have a budget set up, I’ll be using cash for variable spending so I won’t spend too much on a whim.