Saving Money

The last few years have involved a big change in financial status. I retired, Dan retired, we sold the business. In other words, we no longer have income. (Which was nice when I did the taxes! So simple!) We certainly have planned for our retirement and that isn’t the issue. It is much more the emotional surge that comes from depleting a pot that used to be refilled, versus one that has to be rationed. In my usual obsessive manner I have started to count pennies. How can we save money? is the mantra running through my head every time I drive somewhere.

I have taken a few steps. I cancelled the Costco membership. There still are certain things that I can save quite a bit of money buying at this mega store (Eyedrops, coffee, toilet paper) BUT the truth of the matter is the Costco is not near our house. There is the expenditure for two gallons of gas each time I go. I make up for that by combining errands. The real, true, underlying, I-want-to-keep-this-hidden-even-from-myself fact is when I go to Costco I buy all kinds of crap I don’t need. Don’t get me wrong, these are things I use (for the most part) but I didn’t really need a new suitcase, vacuum cleaner, set of glass storage dishes, life vest, trekking pole set, giant bag of Ghirardelli chocolates, ten pack of sunscreen, or any of those other impulse purchases. There is no way that spending an extra three hundred dollars saves me money.

I recently challenged myself to stop and reflect every time I’m about to make a purchase. Put the thought on hold for twenty-four hours and walk through my house looking at all that I have. Is there something else that could be used to fill the purpose? Ninety percent of the time there is. For example, an assignment required two colors of highlighters (which I don’t have), but really, why can’t I just use colored pencils (which I have).

I turn off lights, wash plastic bags (which I also try NOT to use in the first place), and repair things. I try to limit the drive into town to four days a week, running multiple errands each time I go. I quit paying for larger quantities of classes or anything else with a quantity discount (e.g. the dance pass which lowers the price from $20 per to $18 per, but has an expiration date) because this only proves to be a saving if you USE every single one. Sure, I pay more for each dance class on a single basis, but if the pass expires and I go on a trip or my knee hurts too much, then I have not saved money.

How do you save pennies? Please share.