Since the new year began, I've been trying to better prioritize and simplify my life. Do I need to take advantage of every CVS deal out there? Does it really help my family if I disrupt everyone to go use a $3 coupon that is expiring? Is the pay of a small freelance job worth the impact on my family? In these last couple weeks, I have discovered the most interesting thing. I'm saving a lot by not trying to pinch every last penny.
How is that, you ask? I'm not exactly sure yet, but I'm gradually starting to figure it out. Eliminating small errands and jobs that takes me out of the house means that I'm home more. And that saves me money. Here's how:
- Spending more time at home means that we have decent meals, planned ahead and prepared from actual ingredients. It is hard to be tempted by the golden arches when there is a lovely roast in the crock pot at home. In addition, I'm eating leftovers for lunch and snacks because I'm right near the fridge when lunch and snack time come around. I'm also a lot better about using the stuff in my pantry and fridge if I'm not near a store every day.
- My car gas bill has dropped dramatically. I've never used a lot of gas, but now I'm filling up every two weeks instead of once a week. I'll save at least $50 a month. In addition, I'm putting a lot less wear and tear on my car, and my maintenance costs should be lower.
- We easily have time to go to the library regularly. My kids are delighted to have new reading material on a regular basis! Not only am I eliminating the cost of occasionally buying a book, we can also borrow DVDs and audio books. My goal is to eliminate movie rentals, including the ones from the store and the On Demand movies. Don't forget all the other benefits of using the library.
- I've discovered that we do not need more clothes. My washing machine has been running a couple of times a day and I am nearly caught up with all the laundry. My kids can barely close their dresser drawers! The problem wasn't too few clothes, it was too few clean clothes. It is hard to keep up with the laundry if you are never home, especially if you are cautious like me and don't let the washer or dryer run when you're not home. Not only do I not need to buy any more clothes, I think that maybe we need to clear out some of the things that they don't love and wear. We'll be able to bless someone else with our unneeded clothing and maybe even get a tax deduction, too. On the subject of clothes, I am wearing more of my older, comfortable clothes instead of my nicer clothes. I'm sure that they will last a lot longer if I'm not wearing them everyday.
- I've eliminated a lot of shopping. If I run into Target because my favorite T shirts are on sale, I'm likely to come out with a dozen things. And I find it hard to pass up really good deals on things that we'll need "someday." Less time in stores = less money spent, at least for me.
The biggest benefit of staying home doesn't save any money at all – I feel so much less stress when I'm not running around all day, I get my chores done, and I have time to take care of my home and family the way I want. Peacefulness plus money saving: I think I like this.