Changing Lanes

I've been passionate about saving money ever since my first job as a teenager at a Big Box retailer. 

I had gotten a job at the first local Big Box store in my area, and had worked there for about a year before someone handed me a Telxon (those little hand scanner gun thingies) to scan items and make a "pick list" - items to be pulled from the warehouse onto the sales floor.

As I scanned things - I noticed the numbers on the scanner.  I was gobsmacked at the actual store cost and markups on the merchandise - 300%, 400% and even 500% percent!  Now, don't get me wrong, of course there are markups, and being a Big Box company, they had buying power to buy cheap - and they had overhead - costs in bringing the item to the store, wages, and yadda yadda yadda, but it was a serious eye opener.  I went on to put 16 years into this company - and I do still love them.

I grew up with a Spender.  My mother was a shopper - I was taught at a young age to shop and quickly blend the new items into the home and if Dad ever noticed, we were to just shrug it off like it had been there your years.  I'd like to say they lived paycheck to paycheck, but as an adult looking back, I'm sure they didn't make it to the next paycheck very often.  I will say, we kids never went without.  Ever.  But we were not taught the value of money - and certainly never how to manage or budget our money.  I genuinely don't think my parents knew either.

Back in the late 90s, I stumbled across an author - Amy Dacyczyn.  At the time, she had been writing a newsletter on "radical" ways to manage your money.  She published her first book - The Tightwad Gazette - which was a compilation of her newsletters - and I was hooked!  Her ideas on money was seen as extreme at the time - but I swore I never wanted to live in financial distress as my parents did.  Ever.

If you are interested in the Tightwad Gazette, you can learn more about it HERE.

So, through the seasons of my life - there were times where I washed and reused ziploc baggies, and times when I didn't.  I learned to coupon with my groceries - then kicked it up a notch to coupon sale items - and now I coupon sale items I price match - saving time from not having to drive to multiple stores.  I taught myself how to plan ahead, buy cheap and manage - like Christmas decorations/supplies for next year in January.  I keep a rubbermaid tote of the next size clothes and shoes for my kids - which I've bought on sale and deeply discounted.

So where am I going with all of this?

Blogging the grocery sales is very time consuming - and I am constantly scouring coupon and store sites to etch out every little nugget I can find.  But that isn't where my passion lies.  It's a very small part.  And there are many other sites - amazing other sites - that already do this.  My passion is saving money as a lifestyle - not just on the $2 pork chop sale.  (Although I would stock up on $2 pork chops!!)

So, I will continue to blog about grocery sales and coupon matchups - but I'd like to share more of what it is exactly that I am doing - in and out of the grocery store - like that week's menu plan.  Let me share with you my best tips on washing ziploc baggies, and the cheapest recipes with the cheapest ingredients - that keep my family happy and well fed.  I want to share my vegetable garden - and the cost vs time vs what it actually produced.  How and why I drive a $300 car - and will never go back to car payments.  Some things I'll win - some things I won't - and I'd love for you to be along for the ride.

Not everything I share will work for you - just because it worked for me.  But maybe it will give you an idea on how to tweak it into something that does work for you.  (And please share if you do!!  I love other's ideas and suggestions!)