SOCIAL EXPERIMENT, WEEK FOUR WRAP UP AND FIRST MONTH REVIEW
Wow, I can't believe it has already been a full month since I challenged myself to live more simply, support our local small busines owners, and most of all, avoid large corporations (and specifically, Wal.Mart). No one was more surprised than me to find that I was spending significantly less by shopping locally, as well as eating better, feeling less stressed, and needing/wanting less. You might remember that I said my average month's spending on groceries and household items was $400, or $100 weekly. This first month of my experiment I spent a total of $233.05! That is a savings of almost $170 (about 45%) and is enough to make an extra payment on my hubby's car. Yay!
Looking back at my itemized list from each week, I see a lot of things that we don't need. Though we have almost zero junk food in our house, there have been some things (um, chocolate) that we don't need that have slipped in. Eliminating those things during the second half of the experiment will be good for our wallets and our waistlines.
I am adding a new goal for the last half of the experiment: to cut our food bill in half (spending $200 a month, or $50 a week). This will be quite the challenge, considering that I have two children in diapers. But, I plan to purchase several more cloth diapers and hope to be phasing out the disposables with my youngest (I will be posting about this soon) . I plan to spend about half of my budget on fruits and veggies.
I didn't start this experiment with the goal of saving money. In fact, I fully expected to be spending more. But, since one of the results was a dramatic decrease in our spending (and we are oh-so-close to cutting our budget in half), I thought I might as well try to get our budget under $200, by not buying things we don't need. What really amazes me is that I considered myself a pretty frugal shopper when I was spending $400 a month. I used coupons, shopped from a list, didn't often give in to my children's case of the gimmies (give me this, give me that), and tried to cook healthy foods for my family. Maybe this is like decluttering your house. You can't just go in whole hog and get rid of everything. You see things in layers and as you slowly get rid of things, the more you see that you don't need. We slowly get conditioned, I guess.
Also, I must give a little shout out to my hunka' hunka' burnin' love (otherwise known as the Deer Slayer) who has killed two deer with a BOW AND ARROW (very impressive!) in the last week and a half. My freezer will soon be stocked with more ground deer and roasts than I know what to do with! Thanks, Hon!
Here is what I purchased this week at the Discount Food store.
-Gallon of Milk
-2 Boxes of chicken broth
-1 bottle organic dressing
-1 box of microwave popcorn*
-1 can fruit cocktail
-3 small bags of animal crackers*
-2 boxes organic fruit leathers*
-2 boxes of cereal
-1 bag of pampers
-1 bag of huggies
-1 bottle of juicy juice*
-1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
-1 box of wheat spaghetti
-1 large can of whole tomatoes
-3 boxes of Weight Watchers chocolate snack cakes*
*These are all for goody bags for a trip we are taking next week.
My mom, grandmother, the kidlets, and I will be heading out of town on a fabulous trip that I am very excited about (more on this later)! We will be gone almost a week, so to make sure the experiment is accurate, I will not be including next week but will extend the experiment by another week at the end. We do plan to cook most of our own meals and I will still be shopping carefully, but it will be hard to document my spending, so I am just going to "disqualify" the next week. :) I will resume the experiment next Thursday.