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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Be Prepared and Save Over $500 a Year

Ok, I have to confess. I stop at convenience stores regularly. I also go through the drive-thru a couple times a week. Now, before you unsubscribe because you now believe I'm a frugal hypocrite hear me out.
I have a change cup that I keep in my car that is specifically for these purposes. Sometimes if I'm running errands, I like to stop and get a coffee or soda. See, I know I'm supposed to stay away from coffee houses and their $4-5 prices. But it's so easy to justify grabbing change out of my cup for a quick coffee or snack when I'm on the go. And sometimes when Haddie and I are out and we pass McDonald's and she starts asking for a "hambooger" it's a little too easy to dip into that cup and get a couple of items off of their dollar menu, to hold us over until we get home. That's frugal right? We didn't order a whole meal, just a couple $1 items. That's how I would justify it to myself. That and the fact that it wasn't coming out of budgeted money, since it was leftover change from different things.
Well, this morning I was reading an article where a mom was cutting down on her grocery budget by eliminating convenience foods, but since I've already done that I started questioning what my convenience items were. I was shocked by what I came up with!

On average we buy:
Three soda or coffee's a week @ $1.29 each X 52 weeks = $201.24
Two snacks a week @ $.99 each X 52 weeks = $102.96
Two dollar menu items twice a week is $4 each week X 52 weeks = $208

That's $512.20 a year that I could be saving!!! All from a change cup! I hadn't realized until I did the math how much I was spending. So what am I going to do to prevent this?

Be prepared! Definitely going to be putting coffee in a thermos or iced tea in a bottle to take with me before I leave, and making sure my little one has a full sippy. I'm going to keep storeable snacks in the glove compartment or console, and throw a couple of apples in my purse before I leave. I am still going to keep my change cup in my car in case I ever have a quick emergency like needing to use a pay phone or a gallon of gas to get home (I'm bad about forgetting to fill up!). But I'm going to empty that cup into a jar at the end of every week and every month me and the kids can roll the coins to deposit into our savings.

So, do you have any convenience items that you can cut back on?



Jumping and Building My Wings on the Way Down said...

Hey hun! Thought you would like this website:


Jami said...

Thanks, Kelli! I love DIY sites!

lfhpueblo said...

I'm not going to make my husband as many Lean Pockets for his work lunches. I did this when I was in a rush and it was easier to throw one in the microwave than making him a sandwich. For now on I am going to start making his meat and cheese (I can use low fat kinds) sandwiches on whole grain breads and freeze them ahead of time in their individual containers. The thing is when you freeze them, you pretty much have to use mustard as the spread. He likes mustard, and I checked the mustard in our fridge for calorie comparison to the light mayo. The mustard won at 0 calories per serving. You have to be careful though, there are some high calorie mustards out there. I have already been getting his vegetables ready ahead of time in little individual green containers, they keep so well in these that I can make 5 days worth at a time and they keep. That way I only have to pop one of the containers in his breakfast/lunch box. Another way to save money, is buying regular oatmeal and not the individual package kind, let the kids flavor it with fruit preserves, honey (if they're old enough for honey), and when peanut butter is no longer a ? safe, it.
I always take water with us to drink, no matter wherever we go. I get thirsty easily, and this sure cuts down on impulse buying of tea, bottled juices and waters.

Jami said...

Hmmm, I never thought about freezing up sandwiches. Does the bread get soggy after thawing?