Skip to main content


One of my goals for this year was to reduce my debt and reform my spending habits. I am pleased to announce that, three months into the year, I've actually done quite well in this regard. (Let's not discuss the progress of my other goals just yet.)

I have not used a credit card all year. Not once! The only "extra" purchases I've made since January, by which I mean things other than food, gas, and bills, have been: Two $5 skirts for Phoebe (I am sunk the day my kids decide that clothes from Target are uncool, or when Phoebe ceases to be excited by the "new to her" clothes from the hand-me-down bins in the attic); Scholastic book club orders (because who can resist those); some small things for the kids' Easter baskets; anti-virus software for my laptop (ugh); a new car battery (double ugh); and some birthday presents. Oh, and Kindle books, although I also cashed in some "reward" points on my credit card, which I hadn't even known I was accumulating, for an Amazon gift card, so most of my Kindle books have been free to me. Woohoo! I have actually gotten to each 2009 payday with a bit in reserve from the previous paycheck, which is a bit unprecedented.

I've also started going to the "cheap" grocery store instead of the "nice" grocery store. Honestly, I haven't noticed that much of a difference, except that the cheap store has a poor selection and the cashiers seem flummoxed by my cloth grocery bags. I may give it another month and switch back. I've even started clipping coupons, although I don't think I'm particularly good at the coupon game. I tend to buy things I wouldn't have anyway (Life cereal! Save $1 on two boxes! But I don't really want two boxes of Life cereal anyway!). Plus, it seems that most coupons are for items that aren't very good for you. You can get a coupon for fruit snacks, for example, but not for real fruit. It seems that to really save money at the grocery store, you have to compare all the area store's specials and figure out whose doubling which coupons and buy in bulk when things are really really cheap and...well, I don't have that much energy to spend on grocery shopping. I'll do what I can.

The month coming up may be a bit more expensive than the previous three; there's Easter, and we're planning a trip to the zoo, and of course Mallory has to go see the new Hannah Montana movie...but I'm actually going to budget for these things, rather than shrug about the cost and hand over the plastic to pay for it. What a novel concept! What an empowering habit I'm developing! If only it had started, oh, about ten years ago.


Anonymous said…
Wow very impressive! I agree about the coupons. I tried to do it for awhile and felt that I was buying things that I wouldn't have otherwise, and also that it was a huge hassle. I do think that in order to use coupons well, one has to spend some time comparing prices and REMEMBERING how much an item is for longer than it takes to place it in the pantry.

aimee said…
Awesome! I am proud of you. I want to start doing more frugal living too but no coupons for me. I agree with your reasons about why.
H Noble said…
I tried coupons too and have had the same results as you guys. I just try to buy smart and avoid impule buys, and that works well for me. If you do decide you want to get into the coupon game, check out a relatively recent post on Ludlow's blog off of our site. Charissa is amazing at saving!
MomofK9s said…
In my quest to live a more simple life and to cut down on the clutter I only cut out coupons that I know I will use. (I used to cut them all out.) It saves a lot of time and energy and there are some good ones especially for paper products and canned stuff. I also signed up for an e-newsletter from Food Lion that high lights the specials. I have tried to shop in the "nicer" grocery stores and I just can't bring myself to pay more for stuff that I can get elsewhere. And as much as I can't stand Wal-mart for several reasons, in this economy their prices are cheaper and I hate to admit but my ideals will just have to suffer.

Popular posts from this blog

New Math

This word problem was on Mallory's math homework last week:

Lesia has 32 stickers. Diana has a few stickers. Lesia adds their stickers. She has to regroup when she adds. How many stickers does Lesia have? Circle the number.

We puzzled til our puzzlers were sore, but we still couldn't figure out the answer. I wrote a note beside the problem: "Mrs. G., this problem didn't make sense to either Mallory or her parents."

The next day the paper came back with a note from Mrs. G. She circled the last line of the problem and wrote:

"Misprint! This should have said Diana."

Okay! Whew! I was relieved to know that I wasn't, in fact, dumber than a second grader.

Except then I realized that I still didn't understand how the answer could be 3, 5, 6, or 8.*

I can't wait til she gets to algebra.

*Unless what they're calling "regrouping" is what we used to call "carrying the ones." In which case the answer would be 8. I think. Maybe.

Yard Sale. YARD SALE!

Anyone who doesn’t hear Tom-Hanks-as-Woody-the-Cowboy screaming that line…hasn’t spent much time around small children. Or at least around small children who like to watch Disney movies.

We had a yard sale this weekend – we being me, Chris, his sister Amy, and his mom. Yikes, it was exhausting. There was much hauling of boxes and furniture and standing around and chasing Mallory and Phoebe about the driveway all Saturday long. I made a hundred bucks – not too shabby, I guess. Chris made about $75 selling the “dregs” of his toy collection. The main point, however, was to sell our old living room furniture because we’re getting a new sofa and chair today (it’s being delivered as we speak!). We did sell our beat-up love seat for $25, but there were no takers for the beat-up sofa sleeper or the recliner. Alas, but that’s the way it goes.

Most of what I sold was baby stuff – clothes, bouncy seats, playmats, and so forth. It was a relief to see it go. Right after Phoebe was born I had the urg…

Confederation, confederation, confederation

Mallory has a big Social Studies test today. She’s not doing well in Social Studies, this year. When I asked her why her grades were so low, she said, “I don’t like Social Studies. Besides, no one can be good at everything.” I thought this was a fair point, but let her know that it was not acceptable for her to do quite so poorly, whether she liked it or not.

We studied for hours for this test. We read the chapter twice, summarized main points, went over vocabulary words, filled in blanks and did true/false quizzes. There were moments when I despaired – as when I asked, “The villages of the Cherokee people came together to form a...” and she said, “Um...bison?” But I think she knows the material pretty well; honestly I’m not even sure what else we could have done to get her prepared. I told her we would like for her to get at least a B.

I know she’s nervous. I’m nervous for her. I slept poorly all night.

But, I also know more than I really wanted to know about the early peoples of …