frugal february: the pits and the peaks

Frugal February ends today, and I'm glad that I did it. And I plan to continue the habits I have developed this past month. Even though I'm still not on a precise budget (next step, perhaps?), I have learned a few things about myself.

First: spending and not spending are contagious. When I'm carpooling with my frugal mister, I spend less on gas, on groceries, on happy hours. We go to work, and we go home. We don't stop at attractive and expensive grocery stores filled with organic veggies, free samples, local meats, and money vortexes (which I do when alone). We occasionally stop at a local produce market with fair prices or at a cheaper (and less sensorily pleasing) grocery store. Plus, having someone to wake up with at 6 makes it easier to not buy coffee, because he starts making the coffee and I finish it and off we go. We don't tempt each other with happy hours, because we're going home to make dinner together and spend time together anyway, so we don't need to pay for that privilege.

Second: I've gotten better at making food based on what I have at home, not what I crave or want to have. I've found that as long as I have a fair variety of veggies, I am satisfied and able to make something delicious for dinner. Case in point, last night when I made a quinoa salad from the veggies on hand, including an awesome spicy peanut butter, ginger, tomato, and cilantro dressing.

Third: I don't mind not going out to eat, but potlucks and spending time with friends can also be quite expensive if you're doing so 3-5 nights a week (I love my friends and we live close to each other) and it's always a wine and food fest. If I always feel obligated to bring wine and food (which I'm not obligated to do; it's in my head), that can be $50 a week just on wine!!! Outrageous! So that needs to change. Basically, I need to shift my thinking. Meaning, I need to stop feeling obligated, and stop partaking in the snacks and drinks. Don't contribute, don't indulge, save money. Choose two nights a week, perhaps, where I do contribute and indulge, and the rest of the time, drink tea or stay home.

Fourth: I'm not going into a fabric store in March! I have some amazing fabrics, and now I need to use them up. When used, I will return to a fabric store, but not until then. And Fabric Depot is the place to go. The smaller boutiques are money traps, and Fabric Depot has awesome brands and fabrics with major monthly sales and coupons.

I would like to persevere in March with these financial goals and habits. Any suggestions for contributing to potlucks and gatherings without feeling like a miser or breaking the bank? Any savings ideas that have worked for you? I would love to hear some tips.


  1. wow, $50 per week on wine...that's intense, i usually don't even spend that much on groceries. i doubt i could come up with any money-saving suggestions you've not already thought of for right now, but this summer you can use homegrown food from your garden!

    i'm really into quinoa salad right now too. that's what i had for dinner last night. i love how easy and inexpensive and tasty it is.

  2. i forgot to include this link...it's a really neat blog i came across the other day that i thought you might enjoy too: http://www.discoveringtea.com/

  3. If more people thought like you, we wouldn't be in such a financial mess!!!!!
    You are the most mature and fun loving person ever!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Thanks, Minnesota! Emily, thanks for the link. I think that $50/week on wine is an exaggeration: however, here's a possible week with friends: Tuesday is "Glee" night (I know, I know), Thursday is game night, Friday is Friday, and Saturday is Saturday. That's a possible 5 hang-out sessions; I can't bring a $10 or even a $6 bottle of wine to each of those!

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