Talking In First Person…
Rory is probably going to kill me for writing this blog in first person, (he’s not… he’s editing it and keeping it that way) but I’m not going to pretend Rory is in anyway involved in making homemade bread. Besides, this is a blog for the ladies. So, let me formally introduce myself. This is Kristen, and my first actual blog contribution to The Road to Unemployment. See, I’m way busier than he is. Truly. I’m a registered nurse and am currently an assistant nurse manager of an Emergency Department that sees roughly 100 patients per day. I think nursing is perhaps the greatest job in the world, both in terms of finances and flexibility. Oh, and you totally get to help people too! One day I will get into that. But for now, let’s focus on important things; boxed wine, homemade bread, and dried beans. Let’s get started ladies (I suppose the men can continue reading too)…
I don’t consider myself particularly frugal. I know other people would beg to differ. Let’s just say I grew up with a healthy perspective about what is a “need” and what is a “want” in life. I also have a complete inability to pay people to do things I can do myself, hence why Rory and I have yet to have hire a housekeeper (despite his pleas that it’s worth the money considering how busy we are). In my defense, I feel like I have some very high end and impractical items in my life (expensive purses, jewelry, outdoor gear). I think it’s perfectly fine to be impractical (I mean I am!), but it’s the things we do in our daily life in terms of frugality to that add up to long term wealth. When you shift your mindset to embrace a lifestyle of 95% frugality and 5% luxury, not only will your bank account flourish but you will truly appreciate those items you splurge on. Read on…
I love wine. I don’t think there are too many women out there that will disagree. Rory loves wine too (a love developed while living in Europe, sadly the same place where he developed a love of overpriced, fancy cheese). Between the two of us, we easily drink a bottle or two of wine per week. I did some research on the average price spent on wine, which is a difficult figure to track down. Most of my research is pointing to $10-12 per bottle, on average. So, for discussion sake we’ll go with $10 a bottle, because I’ve never spent more than that on a bottle of wine. This makes our monthly average wine cost between $40 and $80 a month (depending if we average 1 or 2 bottles a month). This is a yearly cost of $480 or $960. Obviously one option is to stop drinking wine… but that is never going to happen. So how do we help defray a nearly $1000 yearly wine bill? Clearly we buy cheaper wine! So, we drink boxed wine in this family. At a cost of $18.99 for 5 liters, this makes each bottle cost an average of $3.80. This simple change takes our yearly incurred cost of purchasing wine to $182 and $364 respectively. This is a principle Rory and apply to many aspects of our life, particularly as they apply to household purchases such as food.
Compensating For Bread Inflation
Let’s use bread as another example. The cost of bread in the United States has been a hot topic, particularly when used as an argument comparing the cost of inflation to a stagnant minimum wage. The average cost of a loaf of white bread is between $2.37 and $2.43. This price will increase dramatically to between $3 and $5 dollars for more hearty, whole grain breads. Let’s say the average loaf of bread costs $2.50 and your family eats 2 loaves per week. This is a yearly cost of $240. A 5-pound bag of flour costs $3.48 on Amazon. This bag contains 20 cups of flour per bag, which translates into roughly 6 loaves of bread. Each loaf of HOMEMADE bread will cost $0.58, a yearly cost of $55.68. This translates into a yearly savings of $184.32! Are you getting the drift? Ok, one more example.
Beans Beans The Magical… Expense?
Let’s talk beans. We eat a lot of beans in our house. I’m a vegetarian (Rory is editing… So he would like to point out that Kristen’s version of being vegetarian is when she feels like it… Ask her about her bacon consumption) and Rory is cheap, so it’s an item we use frequently in our cooking. There are two different ways to buy beans, canned versus dried. What’s the difference and who cares? On amazon, a can of garbanzo beans cost $1.49 when bought in bulk (can size is 14.28 ounces). Garbanzo beans are great in making Indian/Pakistani type foods and of course hummus! Say you eat 5 cans of beans per month for a yearly cost of $89.40. 15 pounds of dried beans (on Amazon of course) will cost $36.95, or $2.46 per pound. In food conversion tables, ½ cup of dried beans = one 15-ounce can of beans and 1 pound of dried beans = roughly 2 cups of beans. So, what does this translate into? The same volume of beans when purchased dried costs $0.61 per 15 ounces as opposed to canned at $1.49. This is a total yearly cost of $36.60 for dried garbanzo beans, a total savings of $52.80.
I’ve used three examples of tiny changes one can make in their daily life to decrease expenses (as simple as adjusting your purchasing choices and adding maybe an extra step in food preparation). This has resulted in a total savings of $833.12 in one year, for food products that I find to be superior in quality (especially the bread!). There are countless opportunities in our daily life to apply the same or similar adjustments I outlined in this blog to decrease our total, overall costs and SAVE money! And the reality is, do these small changes alter the experience we have? Do dried beans versus canned beans ruin my curry? Or does cheap table wine taste any different then cheap boxed wine? For Rory and I, not at all! Now, if you find some of these changes do influence your experience, then perhaps the added cost is worth it.
Justify Your Spending With Your Savings
So, ladies, now begs the question… what do you do with the money you save? That’s a great question. Sometimes I just save it! Other times I may buy that $200 or $300 Coach purse or take an extra vacation. Rory and I are currently saving for a deck and fence to surround our new pool! The point is… will you remember or cherish your glass of wine or sandwich? Or will you enjoy that new deck, or piece of jewelry, or girls weekend away? It’s all about choices and the reality is the tiny things we do to save money can translate into huge savings! And trust me ladies, your husband will be more apt to encourage you to buy nice things for yourself when you save him money on the other end!