This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.
Two weeks later, and the landscape in my pantry is noticeably different. When I started this challenge, I had zero room in my freezer, now I can stock up on frozen pizza when they come on sale (with a coupon as well).
So far, I have spent $100 worth of grocery store points, $70 worth of Optimum points and $29.34 cash. This is for 2 adults. Now that I’m down to $20 cash, I’m starting to feel more of a challenge of how much longer I can do this. I still have $50 of grocery store rewards, but am seriously reconsidering “wasting” my Optimum points in $10 increments for milk and eggs. I know I won’t be able to last as long on my original plan if I don’t use them, but I’m thinking that the long term benefit outweighs the short term boost of lasting an extra week or two on my challenge.
On the other hand, I’m stepping up my effort to spend less on groceries without sacrificing too much flavor and quality. Remembering how much sausage meat was last time I bought it, after I found ground pork on sale for $0.88 lb, I’m trying my hand at making sausage. I’m preparing them as patties for now, and if I like the results enough to keep doing it, I’ll see about acquiring a stuffer for future use. I’m using my bread maker more as well. These things that take extra time and planning really don’t feel like a burden. I’m almost enjoying the extra work, maybe because I know it’s not forever unless I want it to be. On the downside, I have put on a few pounds, I think mainly because I’ve been eating more carbs and less fresh veggies than usual. Time to find a balance in that department.
I did splurge and spend $5 on a sushi platter to complete a meal I had most of the makings for at home. I had the edamame and the miso soup. $5 seems like a lot of money on this challenge.
Part of my motivation was to be able to finish paying my Christmas bill off, which I have done, but then one of my cats needed an emergency visit to the vet (bleeding from his ear), so my net benefit has not been as great for January as I’d hoped, but at least I’m still on the good side of the ledger.
I’m glad I’ve been doing this, I find it too easy to stray from my plan, and even though I know I am getting better month by month at controlling spending, sometimes it is good to go to that “painful” point, so when I go back to what was uncomfortable, I’m happier being there.