Monthly Archives: January 2020

A Money-Saving Change of Pace

Sometimes a change of pace is really good for perspective.  For months I have been visiting the same two grocery stores every week.  I load up on most things at a discount store on Saturday, then Sunday I visit a more “upscale” store for things that are either cheaper or better there.  And I’ve been completely ignoring the fact that there are two more middle of the road grocery stores a little further down the street.

Yesterday I couldn’t stand the thought of the crowded aisles of the more upscale store on Sunday afternoon.  So I headed down the road to one of the other stores.  And it was amazingly refreshing!  I hadn’t been there in months, so it was kind of novel and exciting to be someplace different.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find lower prices than the discount store on some things I buy every week.  And there were sales on some things I was already planning to purchase there.  When I got home with my two bags of food, I had to spend a little time pondering why I never go there.  It’s only an extra five minutes in the car.  And I found some really great deals (as well as buying my weekly supplies of some things the discount store had been completely sold out of—was there some sort of a run on fat-free cottage cheese and frozen berries?!?!?).

The change of perspective was good for me.  I’ll likely build this store into my more regular plans.  Maybe I’ll go there every other week instead of the more upscale grocery store.  I’ll likely start studying their sale flyers for bargains on things I use.  And I’ll likely save money as a result.  And why?  Because I changed my perspective and tried something out of my norm.

You’ll never know how something will work out until you try it.  A random change of pace may turn into a new favorite plan!

The New Year’s Resolution that Scares Me Most

I’m terrible at budgeting.  It’s a hard thing to admit, given that I’m supposed to be some sort of expert on financial stuff.  I’ve tried apps and books and spreadsheets and everything else you can imagine.  And I always struggle.  I understand the concepts.  I know what I’m supposed to do.  I’m supposed to categorize things and track things and spend less than I earn.  It’s easy in theory and really hard in practice.

I think my big road block is that it’s a really big thing to tackle.  Tools and concepts make it easier, but I still just have to do the work.  And I’ve made it my resolution to do it this year.  But my plan of attack is different this time around.  I’m breaking it down into steps.  This month I am focused on one thing only:  tracking my expenses to see where my money is going.  After that is done I’ll be better able to analyze where I am overspending so I can shave my outgoing cash flow.  Then I’ll build the budget spreadsheet from there.  Then I’ll focus on paying debt.  Then I’ll focus on increasing income.  Then I’ll focus on saving more.  And so on…

It’s a lot of steps and the whole process is going to take a long time.  A very long time.  Months.  Years.  Until retirement, probably.  But starting is the hardest part.  I’ve always done it wrong.  When I tried to do all of the things at the same time it became overwhelming and I either failed or gave up.  I have promised myself not to let that happen this time.  I’m going to take baby steps.  And it’s going to be hard.  But now that I’ve put it out there, I’m accountable to you for this project.  And I’ll keep you updated on my progress.  Hopefully we all can learn some things together.