Debtmaven’s austerity measures

January 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm (Being Frugal, bringing lunch)

If you follow my blog you’ll know that I am trying to recover from a $1200 financial setback and have decided to follow my own austerity measures. What I’ve decided to do/not do:

No alcohol purchases. So far so good. J has bought 2 bottles of wine so far this year and I have declined both times to pay for it, and to drink it (I’m also trying to lose weight. alcohol = empty calories). I still want my irish whisky (NOT Bailey’s – they are hideously expensive) in coffee, so I will still buy that, but nothing else. I may try and give that up in my coffee, but I’m not quite ready for that. This is my biggest indulgence and my most difficult high-calorie item to give up.

No luxury coffee. Check! Haven’t been to Starbucks once. I still have $15 or so on a coffee card for a local place a block from work and only went there once last week. I’ll probably use this up, but it should still last a while.

No lunches out. 2 weeks in and still going strong! Have been making my lunches every day, even going so far as making a sandwich complete except for the filling part, and getting enough deli meat for it (and nothing else) at Safeway on the way to work  yesterday – $1.32! I’m trying really hard to prep in the morning, and I’m doing pretty well. I will probably start making a batch of soup every week sometime soon, to help supplement the routine menu I’ve been eating so far (1 apple, handful of nuts, hunk of cheese, baguette with avocado, lettuce, and sandwich meat and a bar for an afternoon snack). Last week was lentil soup 4 out of 5 days.

Minimizing eating out. It’s been over a week since eating out anything at all! Well, I did get a cheap Subway sandwich for $4 after snowshoeing on New Year’s day, but that was both  healthy and economical. And I drank water with it! We almost had lunch out on Sunday, but both J and I stayed hungry and waited until we were home. We’ve been planning our healthful dinners in advance. Hope we can maintain it – planning and cooking takes a lot of time and effort, especially adding in a few hours at the gym for us both (and with me working!) each day.

Buying more frugally at the grocery store. Spent a bunch of money at Costco, but avoided the big packages of red meat (yeah!). Went to the asian market for lots of asian style food (rice vermicelli for fresh summer rolls and bun  – that’s vietnamese vermicelli bowls (dinner tonight!!!). At metropolitan, the more expensive market that we shop for their high quality meats, we bought the basics. I spent a lot on expensive apples ($8 for 4 apples!!), but they are lovely and huge and one of the few I don’t mind eating (apples are not my favorite food). I didn’t get any big chunks of expensive cheese, we didn’t get much expensive dairy (no more half and half!). I haven’t bought any bad snack food items or desserts, you know, the $4 cupcakes, the $6 tin of amazing 2-bite brownies? Doing ok so far. I hope it continues.

Avoiding big purchases. I need some new winter clothes for snowshoeing. I could use a winterized, waterproof pair of pants, ones you can fall in the snow and they won’t get wet, but all I have is my summer pants that convert to shorts that I wear over long johns. I think it will have to stay that way for a little while. I think I need a new pair of sun glasses. The pair I have now fog up as soon as I breathe, so they are probably designed poorly. Not sure what I’ll do about this… I just spent $12 on the new pair and they suck. I have a ton of workout clothes and my sneakers are relatively new, so no new gym equipment needed for a while. I have debated about getting the personal training, but I think I should wait and keep at it on my own. I can probably look and find advice for some of the deficient areas I could use help on (pre-workout stretching routines, flexibility training, and a weight lifting regiment) without paying the $149 for 3 sessions.

Also, the idea of a flat screen tv keeps beckoning every so often, such as last week. I decided screw it, no tv, don’t spend the money, I don’t need to watch more tv. Whew! Clothes: I may have to go buy a few necessary items this week (the only 2 comfortable daily bras that I have both broke! The wire snapped in half, and let me tell  you, a sharp edged bit of metal digging into your tender parts is pure agony! and they both broke 2 weeks apart!! That’ll be $40-$50!!!). I don’t need any clothes, shoes, or anything so I won’t even shop for it, even if it’s on sale and cheap.

Vehicle. I still need 2 new tires, but to be honest, I think I can wait a month or two. Provided I don’t drive up to the mountains for snowshoeing/hiking, and just commute the 12 miles to work, I should be ok for a little while. I may need to get new tires in Feb. or March however. I’ll wait until I’ve saved up enough in my vehicle fund though first, and by February I’ll have $200 in it.

So how am I doing, 1-2 weeks into my austerity measure decision? Pretty darn good!!! I hope to continue to be tight fisted for at least through February. I’d gotten a little too lose and free with spending in the last half of 2010.

I’m hoping this year I can break the $10,000 mark paid towards debt.



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