My Tightwad Transformation

I’m not really a person who could be considered to be a tightwad.

I do consider myself to be frugal, or at least I did… That is until I stumbled upon this book:

To my surprise, I was already doing a few things to help save my family money and to stretch my husband’s paychecks to enable us to maintain what we perceive as a comfortable standard of living.

There are also lots of things I’m just not willing to do (I’ll make and use cloth diapers, wipes, and menstrual cloths, but I’m not about to spend time washing Ziploc baggies and tinfoil…) Just to save a buck here or there.

I think each person has to determine for themselves what they’re willing to compromise. For me, I use water and electricity to do more laundry, but I am not willing to budge on my brand name coffee. Some things I can’t find at a bargain anyway because only certain brands of items are compliant with my many allergies. Could I spend less money on foods? Sure, if I want to sacrifice nutritional quality, or spend more time and money at the doctor’s office because of anaphylactic reactions. For me, it’s more about quality of life than quantity saved.

My tightwad transformation financial goals are basically the same as my fitness goals- to give myself more wiggle room, to be less tight in the pockets,to be able to splurge on special occasions without guilt, to be healthy, fit, and stable, and to have cushion in the appropriate places.πŸ˜‹

For my family here’s what our goals look like:

  • Save more of our income than we spend
  • Cut the grocery bill without sacrificing nutrition
  • Grow more of our own food
  • Be able to give more generously to charity
  • Get what we can second hand, borrowed, or in trade.

My first step is to trim the grocery bill.

It’s outrageous and I have a post about the rising cost of groceries here. My family is currently spending between $350-400 on each grocery trip, which happens every two weeks. That is up to $800 a month on groceries. To put that into perspective, that’s more than my mortgage. That’s more than my car payment, electric bill, water bill, phone bill and internet bill combined. That’s more than I paid in property taxes last year. Are you seeing the insanity?? I did learn today that a large reason my grocery bill is higher than it was three years ago is not only the growth of my family, but the move from one state to another. My old state had a sales tax of 7% where as my new state has a sales tax of 9.75%! That means that I’m spending nearly 10% of my total grocery bill and not getting any food for it!!

Despite savings of almost $90 this grocery trip, I still managed to spend nearly $400 on 89 items! That’s including my customer rewards card savings and coupons I clipped.

I clip coupons, and generally try to avoid being conned into buying anything that I wouldn’t normally buy. But I’ve been making a crucial mistake- I’ve been looking at dollars saved instead of amount spent. I’ve been getting everything at one place instead of shopping for bargains. Well, not anymore!

I took the advice of the Tightwad Gazette and I started putting together a price book. This is a binder with loose leaf paper containing every item I regularly buy in alphabetical order, its price, price per unit from 5-6 possible stores. The idea is that over the course of a couple months, I’ll have compiled my own price comparison guide and can turn to it to see what items to buy from which stores and whether or not “sale” or “coupon” items are actually discounted or if I’m falling for marketing ploys.

Price book example, pg 32, The Tightwad Gazette

I’m using my meal planning/grocery list notebook to compile my frequently purchased items. And turning to my receipts to check prices on certain items.

All that ink and paper is only for two weeks worth of groceries

This project is going to take a lot of effort as it requires that I obtain prices for various items of various brands at competing stores in order to assure I’m getting the best deal. It seems crazy and really involved. But guess what? IT IS! AND I’M DESPERATE! because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year, it’s that to make my goals happen, our family has to be sustainable in everything we do, and our grocery bill is NOT sustainable as is, especially if our dreams of a large family were to come true.
So today begins my transformation into a tightwad, and price comparison research. Only time will tell if my efforts have been in vain.

2 thoughts on “My Tightwad Transformation

    1. That’s been my trepidation in this- it’s a lot of effort in itself, let alone updating it consistently! Maybe our economy will stabilize in the next 4 years? Here’s to hoping!

      Liked by 1 person

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