Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 14 – Two Weeks of Saving Money (Saving Cash)

It was two weeks' ago this evening when we decided to try to not spend any money for two whole weeks, beyond our regularly scheduled bills, utilities, and our mortgage. Although it wasn't easy, we did quite well in the end. Check out my post on Day 7 for the mid-week review. Here are the results of the second week of the experiment. Drum roll, please… TOTAL SAVINGS FOR THE TWO WEEKS – about $1320. Talk about saving cash! Wow. And we still have a lot more work to do. The experiment is NOT really over. Stay tuned to see where we go from here with a goal of saving cash. In the meantime, here's this last week's breakdown.

Money saved this week = $720 (estimated, of course):

  1. Food and dining expenses (including going to coffee shops, husband's lunches at work at restaurants, Farmer's Market) - about $370 saved
  2. Retro Black Tie Event in our neighborhood - saved $105 for tickets + $100 for a "retro" dress (I really would have loved going to this event.)
  3. Ladies' Night In with friends- saved about $30 by not going out (They knew I wasn't spending money, so they offered to stay in!)
  4. Electronic Gadgets $50 (My husband longingly went to Best Buy twice to look around)
  5. Clothing $50 (I'm planning to hit a consignment store and Salvation Army to check out the clothing bargains)
  6. Out of area YMCA $5 (husband was going to work out near work one day, but waited, so he wouldn't have the extra fee)
  7. I-Tunes music downloads $10
  8. Cut up a high interest rate credit card – priceless

Money Spent:

  1. Gas – Bought only 5 gallons for Beetle, and filled up the Toyota since the price per gallon was good (I could have gotten by on 5 gallons or less, though)
  2. Salt-free snacks – Spent under $6 for salt-free almonds and salt-free rice cakes, not entirely necessary, but greatly desired due to my low-iodine diet
  3. Co-pay at doctor visit - $10

What helped us through the two weeks:

  1. Regularly scheduled home delivery of half gallon of milk and dozen eggs
  2. Our last delivery of our pre-paid Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share of vegetables – which lasted us through the week, with lots of salad and various greens
  3. Netflix and Cable – Instead of going out, we have interesting shows and movies to watch (I know we could have cancelled them, and we're negotiating that now)
  4. Our fridge, cupboards, and storage – dried goods like pasta and rice, frozen meats, canned goods

The top ten things we ran out of, in alphabetical order, because it's hard to decide which made us suffer the most (editor's note (husband): lack of espresso was the most painful):

  1. Bread (but we made it from scratch instead)
  2. Espresso, caffeinated
  3. Fruit of all kinds, canned and fresh
  4. Gas for the cars (but we did buy some)
  5. Honey
  6. Jam
  7. Laundry detergent (husband says there are a few drops left, enough to eke out half a load, but I don't believe him)
  8. Meat and fish (beef, chicken, lamb, fish, pork)
  9. Olive oil
  10. Onions

The other staples we ran out of:

  1. Pasta
  2. White granulated sugar
  3. Cream cheese
  4. Yogurt
  5. Dried thyme and bay leaves - which we seem to use in every other meal
  6. No-salt tomato paste, no-salt Dijon mustard, no-salt tomato sauce, no-salt diced tomatoes – all necessities for my low-iodine diet
  7. Celery, White Potatoes
  8. Cheddar cheese
  9. Eggs (but we got more every Monday morning)
  10. Cheerios, Rice Crispies
  11. Plain popcorn and pretzels
  12. Scotch Brite Scrubbies (certain pans have not gotten cleaned very well for a week!)
  13. Believe me, there are plenty of other little things on the list, but I'm not going to write them all here!

What are the top purchases requested for tomorrow?

  1. Tomatoes and cucumbers – 4.5 year old son (Believe it or not!)
  2. Tomatoes! – 7.5 year old daughter (And even after pressing her for more ideas, that's all she wants tomorrow, she says, with salt and pepper)
  3. A good steak and beer – husband (Guess that's dinner for Monday night)
  4. Anything and everything that is salt-free and therefore ok for my low-iodine diet, but especially everything listed in #6 above, and red wine. - Katy

I know we can't keep eating out of our cupboards forever, but it is tempting. We need some better sources of protein and some fruits, in particular! But it has been a great experiment and an eye-opening experience. Tomorrow I'll share my master shopping list, my two-week meal plans based on what we already still have in the house, and some of our ideas for cutting more costs. Saving cash is our goal. What about you? What are you doing to save? What are your cost-cutting techniques? I'd love to hear what you have to share. And if you have stopped spending money too, send some comments to share with everyone! And let's hope that I don't spend all of our hard-saved money tomorrow at the grocery store!

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