Radvent Day 8: Saving

The $5 I have right now in grocery money
Scott and I have been trying to save money for years now, but particularly the last 2-3 years. Finances are rough in this economy, and our jobs aren't exactly the highest paying. We live in one of the most expensive metro areas in the country, we own property and multiple small businesses. This year has been the tightest by far, and we've had to really get creative with our purchasing in order to save money.

The biggest problem, probably to no one's surprise, is that we spend upwards of $700 on food per month. I know we're foodies and I love cooking but that is ridiculous! I do also tend to think that if you're spending the majority of your income on something, it should probably be good food ... but still. I know. It's a lot. And keep in mind, we buy pretty much the cheapest wine imaginable, so that's not even a huge part of it. And I'm only talking grocery shopping, CSA fees & farmers market here.

Anyway -- we've been changing the ways we spend all year to try to save. A couple of months ago we went to a mostly cash-only system. This has really helped us see how much we're spending at any given time. We are working on paying off our credit card debt. Unplanned expenses, like cremation, and the car breaking, and the receiver on our TV breaking, certainly come up, and that's a major bummer. But we've been focusing on what we need, not what we want, and that has made a difference. It's amazing to me when I see how much disposable income many of my friends have, but I try to remind myself that they probably aren't able to save up for anything because they're spending all on club nights and takeout. Sorry if that's your life; I'm not judging you, I'm just drawing comparisons to my very different situation. I choose not to do those things so that I can spend $700 on groceries per month, duh!

Anyway, a lot of this stuff is personal, so I'm going to go through Megan's list instead of airing more of it:

Don’t be a consumer today.
The only thing I've been planning on purchasing today is wine/groceries at the store. The only one of these things I think I absolutely need is wine. Kinda hard for me to justify not getting it ... but I have enough cash in my wallet (of our grocery money) to purchase it today, so I think that's OK. Other than that ... I have zero plans to purchase things. Fortunately, our life situation as of late has been that we can't do impulse buys. We're also trying to save up for some important purchases, like a new camera for me, and an actual vacation for us. We haven't been on vacation for more than 3 years at this point and we're in desperate need.

Realize you are fully equipped. You have enough.
Hey, guess what? I don't have to buy that wine after all. It's true: I do have everything I need. I'm going to cook dinner tonight and have some wine from the wine fridge with it. It's nicer wine than we typically drink, but hey, how about a special occasion? I don't always need to go to the store, or even spend that $5 today. It feels really good -- freeing, even -- to say that, and know that it's true. I do have enough -- more than enough. And today I'm going to be creative about utilizing all of it.

Invite a friend over to help you cook with what you have at home.
Usually I'm a huge control freak in the kitchen, but I'm feeling inspired by this. Normally I'd invite Susie over to do this, because she's also a vegan and a great cook and a foodie, but I'm actually thinking of doing this particular thing on new years. Normally we have a new years party, but this year I think we're doing something smaller. A smaller party. And I know at least one of our friends is coming over ... maybe she'd like to help out with me, and bring some stuff of her own? I love the "pooling resources" aspect. And if that doesn't work out? I've been meaning to cook a shared dinner with Scott for ages. We do that so rarely, yet it's so much fun when he gets to flex his cooking muscles and remind me how great he is, and I love it when we're both working in the kitchen at the same time.

We're also not doing presents this Christmas; so ... sorry, family. I hope you understand. The good news is that we already have everything we need anyway. 

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I'm participating in Radvent this year via the ever-awesome Princess Lasertron, and you should too!


  1. I love this. My roommate is constantly complaining about money and her job. I always tell her that it *is* actually possible to make less money and have less things and still be happy.

    1. We're happy. We would be happier if we didn't have to be terrified about money ALL THE TIME, but we really appreciate all the little things, and that's more important than being able to waste tons of money. Not having any certainly makes you appreciate what you already have!

  2. Love this!! Thanks for this post, seriously. We (especially my hubby) spends a LOT of money on food. We could definitely scale back.

    1. We have found that spending far less money on prepared food (like restaurants, takeout and stuff) has made the times when we DO go out for a meal or get takeout MUCH more special! <3

    2. I love that you said how your out to eats are more special now. We go out to eat once a month and it's so exciting when we do. If we did it all the time it wouldn't be as exciting and I think that's something not many experience because most people go out to eat or buy processed stuff all of the time, and rarely home cook. So I think you make a fabulous point!

  3. Oh I just love talking money and budgeting! We too are big savers.

    When it comes to groceries I think it depends. I'm thinking of getting very personal on my blog and publishing my budget, as a way to show how to live on a budget. Our grocery amount is $500 per month. I've gotten in this discussion with others, when talking about Whole Foods she called it Whole Paycheck. I started to wonder, is it so bad for your grocery allowance to be a decent size? Since you are vegan, you know how important a good diet is to health. Personally I think people's budgets for groceries should be higher and the stress on buying quality food to nourish their bodies should be higher. Here's the catch though. I say that and people think I mean let's go spend crazy. That's not what I mean. I eat a whole foods plant-based diet. We don't buy processed stuff. I have an allowance of $25 a month separate so that we get one out to eat, that we very much look forward to. Basically what I'm getting at (because get to the point, Aubrey) is that I think society doesn't put enough emphasize on diet. I think we aught to sacrafice other things so that we can spend more money on good quality, organic, non-GMO, non-processed planty foods. If we invest that money there then we reduce any money on healthcare and other things. So my husband and I gave up things like cell phones and cable, a while back, and other things so that we could afford to go all organic, to constantly have fresh veggies in the fridge- even when he was unemployed for two years. I just think it's a good investment. I don't think you disagree with me and maybe I'm getting a bit off topic but it made me think about that is all. :) Cheers!

    1. Also I missed the latter part of your post where you talked about being able to spend $700 on groceries because you give up other things. It too amazes me at how much disposable others spend. Often I can't even call it disposable income because they are using credit cards and loans to buy more and more stuff. It just boggles my mind.


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