For Smart Couples…Forget the Recession! Learn how to pay 1960's Prices for everything from salad dressing to dressing up for a night out!

He really, really wants this...

OK…

Mike really, really wants this truck…we had  planned on buying a car, but considering neither of us has a work commute (we just wanted to purchase a semi-dependable “beater”) this is a little out of our price range.

And so begins the give and take of being married, before we’re even married. And the compromise.

I should have known not to even let him SEE it. Friends of mine I work with are selling it, and when I sat in the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition, even I couldn’t deny it was a good, good feeling. Have you ever felt that way behind the wheel of a vehicle? It just speaks to you. Good truck, nice truck. It felt right.

He fell for it HARD. He’s dreaming about seeing what this truck can do on an open stretch of highway.

Soooo, on top of everything else we are supposed to be saving for (travel, our wedding, an eventual house) I’m now somehow indebted to buy this truck within a month. Cash. Granted it’s used, and not the exact truck in the picture, but paying for this in a timely manner is going to take TOTAL and SEVERE financial lockdown for the next 30 days.

I’m both very, very scared because I’m not sure we can accomplish this goal, and very, very excited because it’s a challenge and an experiment.

So, I got to thinking about what everyday expenses we had, and how I could save on each thing. Not give it up entirely, that’s waaay too Spartan for my taste, but how I could significantly reduce the amount of money we spent on everything that was not set in stone (ex. bills). If I could bring these numbers low enough, we could save enough to pay for the truck within a month. Our biggest vices:

Smoking: OH MY GOD!!! I know, I know, it’s a horrible habit. I don’t want to hear any lectures. Unfortunately, at this point in our lives it’s a given, even though at some point in the near future we hope to quit. I’m being totally honest in this blog. So, if we both smoke a pack a day, at $5 a pack each, we are now spending $310 a month on the cancer sticks. If we go back to rolling our own cigarettes, they cost roughly 69 cents a pack. That would total  $42.78 per month.

TOTAL SAVINGS (if we roll our own cigarettes): $267.22 per month!!

Drinking: Again, not the most saintly habit, but I work in a bar, so I tend to stop after work and have the odd drink or two to lull my wired body into a more sleep-friendly state. We also like to go out once a week and really have a good time with friends. Roughly figuring if I stop after work on three of my shifts to have two drinks, and one weekend night out with both of us whooping it up on the town, we roughly spend $300 per month on cocktails at the bar. (Holy crap, didn’t realize a few drinks could add up to so much until I calculated that!!) If we just kept a few bottles of wine at home for my unwinding drinks, and invited friends up to our apartment for bevvies on Fridays that would roughly cost: $56 dollars a month.

TOTAL SAVINGS (drinks at home instead of at the bar): $244 per month!!!

ICED TEA: We are Iced Tea addicts. We buy the local brand, Turner’s Tea, in the gallon size jug, and I’m not proud to report that we probably go through 5 of these a week. They cost around $2.50. I researched on the internet to find out how to brew my own iced tea out of loose tea or teabags, which would cost us only around 25 cents per gallon. So…

TOTAL  SAVINGS (brewing our own iced tea instead of buying it at the store) $45  per month.

 

These are just three of many, many areas in which we could cut back and save money!! But already with these three simple changes we could save $556.22 EVERY MONTH!!  If we just implemented these changes, that would already account for over a quarter of what we need to pay for the truck!!

I’m hoping that you all can see the value of this exercise. Where do you spend money in your day/week/month? How could you lower that cost while still not really changing your lifestyle? Saving money is not about depriving yourself of everything you enjoy, but rather about subtle tweaks. Believe me, I’m not advocating cigarettes as a healthy lifestyle choice, but we are not ready to quit, so I’d rather save hundreds each month by rolling them myself.

Do you buy magazine after magazine at the newsstand? What about a subscription, they can save you 75% off the cover price.

Never used a coupon in your life while buying groceries? Coupons are becoming oh-so-chic and can slash your grocery bill by AT LEAST a quarter, easily.

Cable addict?? Downgrade your high-priced premium cable to basic, and watch what you’re missing on the internet for free, or buy movies from Redbox for $1.00.

Do you see how this all adds up? In a months time, if we all picked six high-price habits and worked to find a thrifty alternative, it would be SIMPLE to save enough in one month to buy a truck, or take a long weekend at the beach every month, or buy that new sofa that’s going to last a lifetime and after that keep adding to a very high-quality furniture collection.

I’m going to keep working on finding my other TOP THREE MONEY WASTERS and tweak them, not eradicate them, so I can still enjoy the habit without paying the price.  I’ll let you know the calculations I come up with and what that is going to save me in a month’s time!! I’d looooove to hear what your MONEY WASTERS are!!! And what you can do to tweak them and save some money this month!

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