Becoming Frugal


Recently Derek and I have been on a budget mission.  We want to start saving more, and pay off our student loans.  After looking at our monthly bills and expensive and comparing that to our income, there was a big discrepancy.  Where was all our money going?  As a teacher and web developer we should be living much more comfortably, but still it sometimes feel like we are living paycheck to paycheck.  Something had to be done..STAT!

After looking at my debit card statement I noticed an issue.  I am a shopaholic.  I go to Target weekly.  Usually for one or two things, like cat litter.  But for some reason Target charged my $120.00 for litter.  What?!  Oh yea, I did see a cute dress, but it was on clearance.  And there were really cute pillows that I had to have.   And it wasn’t just Target, the stores were all listed there for me to see.  I often tell myself I am “saving money” by shopping at out local outlet mall, but the shopping spree didn’t put money in my savings account, it took A LOT out of my checking. I always considered myself a frugal shopper.  I was completely off.  So I made a pledge, no more shopping.  If I need something, like cat litter, I go in to the store and buy just that one thing.  I literally have to look down at the floor and walk fast.  All the sparkly things catch my eyes too easily.

Then last night while relaxing on the coach with Derek I had an epiphany.  We sat feet-to-feet on the couch each with our laptops.  Derek working, me on Pintrest.  The whole time the TV was on.  What a waste of electricity.  But it was more then that.  We were “watching” Wedding Crashers, a movie we could of easily found on Netflix or Amazon Prime, both of which we pay for!  So right then and there we decided to cancel cable.  We will keep internet though our cable provider and bring our bill down from $180 to $54 a month.  That’s an extra $126 we can use to pay off debt.

Our other thrifty missions include the basics; no more takeout, having friends over rather then going out (our average Saturday night cost over $100!!!!), no more shopping unless we absolutely need it, and making healthy dinners based on what is on sale, not what crazy recipe I came up with.  We plan on limiting the amount of time we go out for dinner to special occasions only. We are also planning on joining a CSA next month.  I am very excited about that!

Then today I decided it was time to simplify our lives.  Down size.  Do without clutter.  I began at 7:00 am with the small task of getting rid of enough clothes to get rid of my dressers (I have two large ones).  Derek’s dresser as falling apart and we were discussing getting all new bedroom furniture.  No, instead he will have one of mine, and I will paint them pale yellow once the snow melts.

Anyway, the purging of unnecessary clothes became additive.  Before I knew it one broken dresser was empty and in the living room waiting to be recycled.  My drawers were organized, with plenty of room for the loads of laundry to be done.  I did the same to my closet and desk.  And now I am sitting in my kitchen waiting for Derek to come home and help me carry the 8 large bags to my car so I can donate them.  The sad thing is, I still have a large wardrobe,  it is by no means considered minimalistic, and I have two totes in the storage closet full of summer clothes.  It made me sad to realize how much money I wasted on clothes and shoes I hardly wore.  I have a Bloomingdale’s gift card sitting pretty in my desk, waiting to be used on a summer dress.  That is the next time I will shop, nothing until then!

The best part is how the bedroom looks and feels.  It is much more serene without the clutter.  I want to be in there!  It will undoubtedly be a much more peaceful sleep tonight!

Any advice on frugal living would be much appreciated. In the mean time, here is a picture of Darla, our newest baby.

Photo on 2014-02-17 at 20.36 #2

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