2011 brought great insight into my spending habits, both good and bad. I kept incredibly detailed financial records last year and found it helped tremendously in curving my expenses. I know what my weaknesses are and I know where my strengths lie. So, my number one resolution this year is frugality.
Goal Numero Uno- Shop Local
Some of you, including my mother, are going to say that this will prove more expensive. But in what? Food? Yes. But, if I am striving to shop local, it’s going to keep my out of my weak areas (i.e. Target, the mall, etc.) The Manpanion and I were talking about charitable giving not too long ago and he realized that he was an isolationist, meaning he likes to keep his money in our community. I like that. Charity starts at home and so should the shopping. Start local and if I have to buy outside of Columbus or even Georgia, at least buy American products. I like knowing that I am supporting my friends-many of whom own local businesses.
Goal Numero Dos-Cut Out the Extras
This is a hard one for me. I told the Manpanion that we shouldn’t go to the movies on NYE because while we had the popcorn bucket, we had no passes to go with it. We don’t NEED to spend $50 to go to the movies. Eating out is also an expensive habit. Lunch is a HUGE weakness for me. I love lunch. More than any other meal. But I am determined to brown bag it this year. This includes gas, new clothes, jewelry and…gulp…books.
Goal Numero Tres–Keep the Utility Bills Down
I am already pretty good at this, but I could do better. When Caroline moved in with me, we talked specifically about the air conditioning and the heat. In the summer, the air should stay between 73 and 75 degrees and in the winter it should stay on 68 degrees. Turn the fans on and put on a sweater and socks. Water is something else I could save on. I am the QUEEN of washing a few little things because I want one item cleaned. Yikes. Cable/Internet are hard bills to lower since they are usually done by contract. But, you can ask my Knology rep., I am not afraid to negotiate.
Goal Numero Quatro- Use Coupons
To a certain extent, I think it embarrasses the Manpanion when I whip out the coupons at restaurants, but I think he thanks me
on the inside when the bill comes back and he sees our savings. I don’t want to be all crazy when it comes to my couponing experience (I’m no reality TV star), but I do want to spend responsibly. If the coupons are there, why not use them?
Goal Numero Cinco- Do It Myself
At this point, I feel like everyone should start to become slightly fearful. I am no oil changing ninja, but I have a Manpanion, siblings, and a Dad who have offered to step up to the plate. Washing my own car isn’t going to be a problem either-we even have a little shop-vac. Dry Cleaning is the biggest question I have. I don’t think I can do that, although I am open to suggestions. I use coupons like they are gold on this one. Men get great deals, but women totally get scammed. Geesh. My mom used to wash, dry, starch, and iron all my dad’s dress shirts. The Manpanion and I have talked about this…I’m guessing for the general happiness of our life as a whole, that should probably be a last resort. Haircuts could also be an issue, but pedicures might actually be fun to do myself and I’ve got a 10 year old brother who would probably jump at the chance to walk on my back.
Goal Numero Sies- Healthcare
Healthcare costs are outrageous. And that is the understatement of the century. I encountered my first job with benefits last year and had to take a couple of deep breaths when I saw the amount taken out of my check. Wowzas. This is an issue. With the exception of my little case of appendicitis last fall and some joint issues, I am a pretty healthy chick. I rarely go to the doctor and I have no regular medication that I take. My parents use a co-op of sorts called Samaritan Ministries. It is a heck of a lot less expensive and has completely covered several broken bones, lots of Garcia babies, and a couple of major operations. Yes, the mainstream health insurance is about to go bye-bye.
I have other resolutions…but this is the one I am determined to succeed on. Living within my means has never been an issue, but I want to start thinking about the future and there is no better time for that than the present.