Wednesday, April 13, 2011
One of the best things about our nearly-annual trip to Key West is that I have a whole week to reconnect with the kind of life I want to live. My life here on the micro-farm is certainly pleasant, but it is easy to get caught up in the demands of Hilltop Communications, the second shift job, our dancing, the housework, and the gardening/preserving. All of these things are very enjoyable, but sometimes they each take on a life of their own, and I feel like I'm along for the ride. The vacation always gives me a chance to reset this and reexamine my priorities. This time out, I found that I don't want to give up or lessen any of these demands, but rather that I think there is a place to add a new priority to my house schedule.
Mr. FC&G and I jokingly launched what I call "Project $2.5 Mil" upon our return, based upon the amount of money we need to buy the house we fell in love with in Key West. This will probably never happen, but it is a fun way of reminding ourselves that if we want to add more fun to our lives in the form of vacations or day trips -- or if we want to have an even-better nest egg or some flexibility in our work lives -- we need to cut out unnecessary expenditures in order to afford the things that give us the greatest pleasure.
One of the obvious spending targets is the grocery store. As you know, food and sundry prices have been and will continue to rise, and meanwhile, I have gotten a little lazy. We really don't buy a lot of food, since we grow our own, buy freezer beef and meats, and cook a lot from scratch. This has lulled me into a false sense of security that, as long as my purchases were things I didn't really need, they counted as discretionary rather than necessity and somehow were therefore not grocery budget issues. (I know, I'm confused on that logic too.)
But last week we spent $139 at the grocery, and there were very few groceries there! Instead, there were health and beauty aids, household supplies, and then junk food. And that means that the first step in Project $2.5 Mil is that the junk food needs to be cut in half or more. We both have fairly extreme sweet tooths (teeth?), but from now on, we are committing to buying a box or two of cookies at the store, and if we run out, it is either wait for the next week's trip or get in the kitchen to start baking. I expect the strawberry shortcake recipe will be getting a real workout, since it is quick to make, has relatively little sugar, and invites the possibility of consuming some fruit with the cake.
Better for our budget, and better for our health. And the bonus is, if we ever do buy that house in the Keys, we'll still look good in our bathing suits!
What is your next target for cutting back?
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 10:53 AM