Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thinking Like a Tightwad

After having signed out from the library books one and two of the Tightwad Gazette, I decided to purchased the hardback copy of the "Complete Tightwad Gazette; Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle" by Amy Dacyczyn.

Its hard to describe what this book has done for my thinking process regarding saving money. It makes the process of saving more of a game for me than a chore. I feel excited to save money. It's really a lot of fun. For my husband it seems he's feeling deprived, for me, I feel the opportunity to be creative and to prosper. I love the way my mind needs to analyze situations and their impact on the bottom lime. I recognize how on the surface it may appear I'm saving money, yet, in reality I may not be.

Today I ended up shopping at three different stores. We had run out of contractor bags and I didn't know where to purchase them. I didn't find contractor bags at the first store, but, as I was going through the store I thought I saw good prices on some of our regularly purchased items. However, I began to realize that unless I'm purchasing something on a weekly basis, I don't really know what a good price is for these items. I know what I usually pay for meats, fish, and produce, however, I don't know what I pay for other items like toilet paper, bleach, laundry detergent, etc.

I next went to Target, and, while I was there, I began to write down prices and ounces for things like laundry detergent, fabric softener, toilet paper, coffee, etc. I recorded prices for items that I buy on a regular basis. Again, no compactor bags.

Later I ended up at Kroger's. While there I wrote down the prices for the same items I wrote down the prices for at Target. By this time I'm beginning to realize that there are some substantial price differences between the three stores. Had I bought Bleach at Aco, I would have saved $1.00 per jug (sorry I don't know the ounces) . Had I bought 5 jugs I could have saved $5.00. But, since I don't know the price of bleach I didn't buy any.

Earlier in the day I had purchased ketchup at market because I believed $2.99 for 44 ounces was a really good buy. After seeing that Ketchup costs $2.19 for 36 ounces at Target I started to think it wasn't a great buy, but, it wasn't a bad one either. When I saw I could have bought 64 ounces at Kroger for the same $2.99 though I began to realize that I could save a bit of money if I'm aware of pricing.

When I actually did the math on that bottle of ketchup, Krogers ended up to be about .46 per ounce, the markets price worked out to .68 an ounce, and targets was .60 an ounce. I paid the highest price!

In the tightwad gazette the author recommends keeping a notepad with you and recording prices. When I first read that statement I thought that was ridiculous, then I found myself in a situation where it wasn't too outrageous for me to check on just a few prices. Now, I'll be taking a notebook with me so I can be more educated about what I'm spending my money on.

I'm not the type of person that would even consider shopping at all these different stores just to save a buck though! But, if, while I'm at the hardware store and I see a bargain I can at least know to buy it. Finally, since I don't plan on making a special trip to the hardware store, I can decide whether I want to buy the item in bulk because I KNOW it's a savings.

In the past my husband and I spent up to $1000+ per month for groceries. Because of all the changes I've made in the past few months, I have reduced this months budget to $400. Again, I'm not obsessed as to whether or not we make this budget, but I'd like to keep an eye on it so I can see the progress we're making.

Since changing our light bulbs, turning off lights when not in use, drying clothes on the clothes line (one of us is doing this), our electrical savings were 23% this past month.

I don't like rigidity, it sets up a situation where I feel deprived, so, rather than forcing myself to follow all these restricting rules, I'm allowing myself to create situations where I can succeed.

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