I was asked recently, to share a day in my life, as a “Frugalista”. I’m ready to share the “highs” of saving money and the “lows” of falling off track. You’ll see that I succeed and fail – hopefully, we’ll learn something from my mistakes.
7:00 AM: Made smoothies from packaged freezer mix (bought at a good stockpile price). My child’s chewable vitamins, otherwise rejected by the child, are blended into the smoothie. Savings: $7 in drive-thru smoothies. I don’t have to replace the vitamins, an extra bonus- saving another $10 for the day. My son makes my first to-go cup of tea, saving me $2.
8:30 AM: Stopped at my local convenience store where I buy a second cup of tea. I have to get out of the car and prepare the cup of tea myself. I log that extra effort under both my “saving money” and “exercise” columns for my day. Bonus: the store has a great “Buy 3, get one free” hot drink deal. Attached to the card are coupons for breakfast sandwiches. Savings: $1-plus.
11:00 AM: Resisted the temptation of a fast-food snack by eating yogurt (purchased on sale, with coupons) as a quick snack. I logged these credits under “Better Health” and “Saving Money” columns.
12:00 PM: Ran into Kmart on the way to a lunch potluck, hoping for a good sale on chips. I can credit our “My Rewards” card with the purchase and it’s closer than the grocery store. While in the chip aisle, I find discounted 100% orange juice, peanut butter cups and beef jerky. Bought all of these items and saved $6.50.
3:30 PM: I broke my own rule of not shopping after 3 PM to grab a few deals before the ad expires. Resistant daughter is in tow. I glance at the ad in the car, clip coupons and think that I’ll remember my list. The store trip goes well, despite the hurried atmosphere. I am happy to see some Catalina coupons printing. Stopping at customer service on the way out, I find a few coupons for future deals.
3:45 PM: In the car, I took a look at the total savings on my receipt; 67-percent! Upon closer inspection, I see that I only received one $5 Catalina. I knew I had purchased enough frozen food to receive two. Looking at the ad again, I see the reason. I should have divided my frozen food purchases into two transactions. Any purchase over $10 triggers a single Catalina. A trip through the discounted frozen food bin raised my frozen food total higher than my planned expense, thus costing me a second $5 Catalina. And, as I fold my change into my wallet, I see I forgot to use one of my $1 coupons. Cost for this reminder to read the fine print and use a list to avoid forgetting a coupon: $6.
5:00 PM: While waiting for my son at school, I clean out my car, including my coupon binder. I am reminded that there are two things couponers notice more often than others. One, is how quickly time flies. You’re reminded that time has passed, as you keep your coupon files current. The second lesson is how important printed details are. Anyone that has been couponing for a while comes to realize that the fine print is getting smaller (or our eyes are getting older!) I move to my “day-bag”, which is overdue for a cleaning. I find an envelope of coupons I’d been looking for – and couldn’t use because they weren’t sorted into my binder. I don’t beat myself up too badly when I realize they’re still valid. Money saved while waiting: I parked and cleaned, making good use of my time. That’s a “Feel Good” credit. Because I did not drive around aimlessly or shop the book department of my local thrift store(s), I saved an unknown but valuable amount of money. I can spend that mileage and cash when I’m on a specific mission, later down the road.
6:00 PM: I drove to “The Heart of Giving’s Garage of Blessing” in my town. Time and money was wasted because I did not have the exact address. We were however, blessed with needed coats, boots, and dishes. If you don’t have “The Heart of Giving” group going in your town, you really should check it out. It began as one single Facebook group that has expanded across the country, blessing many people every day.
Day in Review: I think I broke even today. I re-learned some expensive lessons, but I’ll save money in the future if I don’t repeat the same mistakes. I will save myself stress and expenses with the good choices I made with my time. I recognized the lessons, while giving myself some grace when my mistakes cost me money. Being a “Frugalista” is progress, not perfection.