good lessons.

Having PB changed everything for Ben and I. And he changed things for the good. Besides the obvious things, like schedule and routine changes, he has also changed our spending habits. Before PB, I wouldn’t say that Ben and I were frivolous spenders, but we didn’t always think twice before we made our purchases. It was much easier for me to go to a store, grab something I liked, and buy it without really thinking about what I was doing. We were still pretty conservative with our money, but we didn’t go out of our way to save money.

With PB in the picture, our habits have changed for the best! Babies cost money. A LOT of money. But we aren’t necessarily changing our ways because we can’t afford to live right now. We are doing it for the future. We want to give PB the best life we can. We want to build a house (someday) and we want PB to be young enough that he can enjoy living there. With that being said, we knew we really needed to bear down and start saving. So we sat down and made a good, adaptable budget, and started highlighting ways we could save some money.
Here’s a couple of things we are doing:

1. Carpooling. Gas STINKS right now. I have a 45 minute commute, and I pretty much pass by Ben’s work (He has a 25 minute commute). We can’t carpool every day, but we are able to do so about 2 weeks out of the month, which saves us about $200. Not too shabby.

2. Paying closer attention to coupons/sales for food. I am so NOT a couponer. I wish I were, and I wish I could walk into a store and pay $2 for $500 worth of groceries. But I’m trying to make small steps, like grabbing a couple of coupons in the Sunday paper for things I know I’ll use. I have also started making a good grocery list based on the weekly sales and ‘semi’ planning my meals ahead of time. Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve noticed about $30-$40 worth of savings each grocery trip. Again, I’m such a rookie at this, but my goal this year is to get better at meal and grocery planning.

3. Gardening. This idea began when I went to the grocery store and green peppers were $1.69 a piece! I thought I would pass out in the produce section. I think we cook with green peppers in at least 80% of our meals. We live on acres of land, so there was really no excuse for us. My parents have had a garden in the past, but I’ve never really had anything to do with it. So this year, Ben and I bought some seeds and stuck em’ in the ground. We both have NO clue how to garden. But lo and behold, about 2 weeks later, real, live green little plants starting popping up! We were pumped. We’ll see how it turns out.

4. Being conscientious when I shop. I have a friend (who shall remain nameless) who is the HARDEST person to shop with. She can walk in a store the size of a bathroom, spend 2 hours in there, try on everything in the store, carry half of it around, and then walk out with nothing. It drives me nuts! I am/was the opposite. I walk in a store, see something I like, and buy it. I don’t even think twice about it. Now, as much as my friend’s shopping habits drove me nuts, I’m trying to be more like that. I’m thinking long and hard about my purchases now, and if it’s not on sale, or at a good price, it won’t come home to mi casa. It’s been a harder change for me, but I’m actually starting to enjoy shopping this way. When I find a good deal or bargain, I get PUMPED. I recently found a pair of really cute, dressy shorts for $11. I got so excited I didn’t think I would make it out of the store. I felt like running through the store and giving fist pumps and chest bumps to all the employees.

5. Being more conscientious in general. Like paying more attention to turning the lights/tv off when we’re not using it, and combining and limiting our trips in the car. We’re being more resourceful with our leftovers, and watching how much we eat out. We’re trying to be more ‘DIY-ers’ and tackle projects on our own, rather than paying someone else. (And let me say, that has actually been really fun; we are definitely rookies in every sense of the word, and we have a long way to go, but its super fun to learn).

6. Using the web. There are TONS of great blogs/sites that have great DIY resources. I have found some awesome projects that I’m working on that are great money-savers. I also use pinterest to find and store some really good ideas.

7. Celebrate the savings. Saving money has actually been fun for Ben and I. We like to think of it as a competition (against the stores I guess). When we go shopping or out to eat, we try to find the best sales and deals. Finding a good deal gives us an awesome sense of accomplishment. We’ll sing a little cheesy song we’ve made up and give a couple of high-fives and then walk out of the store feeling like a couple of money-saving bad ‘butts’. I know. We’re nerds.

I think I could write forever on this topic because we are learning a new way to save every day. It’s definitely a process, and something that takes a little time to figure out and get used to, but it gets easier (and more fun) every day. When I think about the payoff (giving my family the best life I can), it makes it all worth it.

Our little garden. See, there are real, live green plants in there! How the heck did that happen?!?!


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