Saturday, August 02, 2008

Trying to Save Some Cash

I know everyone shares my sentiments on this one. Where's all of our money going? Well for us, it's going to groceries. Luckily, we don't really drive all that much. Our gas tank has to be filled up about once every three weeks (and that all depends on whether we go out on the weekends). But groceries are killing us. I'm spending more money and bringing home less.

This is frustrating for obvious reasons, but more so because with Dan's new job we shouldn't be seeing our money disappear so quickly. On top of the fact that he bartends a few times a month, we really shouldn't feel this strapped. I've had to cut down on how much money we're putting away into our savings and this month I had to dip into it. This is really scary because I hope we don't have to do it again next month or do it continuously. We'll run out of money and then what?

The other day while I was at the supermarket freaking out about how much everything had gone up, this little old lady stopped and asked me about the different types of canned tuna. I don't eat tuna fish so I really wasn't that helpful, but I tried anyway. She was telling me that she wanted chunky light in water. She wanted the tuna fish so that she could eat with noodles. I showed her a can of what she wanted, but she told me that she couldn't spend the $3 on the can. So, she opted for a smaller can and grabbed one. She also told me that rice had gone up too much for her from $4 to $10.

This poor old woman on fixed income is eating tuna fish (not that tuna fish is horrible) over noodles because she can't afford anything else. Can you imagine getting to the age of 70 and not be able to buy food? You have to settle for canned tuna because that's the cheapest thing around. How sad is that? I wanted to bring her home and cook her dinner. I believe that day I spent about $180 and didn't really bring much home. I know there wasn't any meat in my cart so I can't blame it on that.

Since there doesn't seem to be any significant change in prices in the near future. Dan and I are changing our spending habits (not that we really have bad habits; seriously, we're very conservative on what we spend our money on). Dan will continue bartending a few nights a month. In October, hockey season begins so he'll be working a few games a month. As you can see, he's doing more than his fair share.

Both Dan and I are bringing lunch to work. About once a week we'll eat out, but I think I'm even going to cut that out. I make enough food throughout the week to bring in leftovers. This will save us a lot of money. I had notice that the money I was spending at lunch had gone up too. It's ridiculous. I only spend money in the morning by purchasing a small cup of coffee at my favorite cart for $.75 (no Starbucks here). Even that adds up to $15 a month. Maybe, I'll bring in a coffeemaker to work and brew my own cup. We'll see.

Another thing that we changed is where we buy our meats. This past weekend Dan went to the butcher shop (Extra Supermarket for all of you locals; great meat and cheap). I'm going to get all Cuban on you right now, so bare with me. Dan got una bola, which is a big chunk of beef and had it divided evenly into carne molida (ground beef) and bistec (thin steaks). The "bola" was $32 and it gave us about 4 lbs of ground beef and 24 steaks. Then he purchased 2 lbs of chicken breasts, which he had them slice into cutlets for less than $5. When he came home with them, we were able to slice them up some more and came out with about 6 or 7 big slices of chicken cutlets.

If we would have purchased the same amount of meat at the supermarket, there is no way in hell we would have only spent $37. No way. He also got cold cuts there, but they were priced like everywhere else. So, for all of you locals go to 55th st on Palisade Avenue in West New York. You'll be saving loads of cash and have your freezer stocked up. Or if you don't live around the area, try out your local butcher shop. I'm sure the prices are better than in the supermarket. Dan also bought vegetables there. In total, he spent about $65 and came home with many bags of food. I was impressed and relieved that we were able to save some cash and have enough meat that will last us a bit.

I can't think of anywhere else we could save some more cash. It's not like we eat out all the time (last time was a week after Father's Day when we went to New Hope, PA). We do order in about once or twice a month. So I guess, I could cut that out, too. We're definitely not spending money on clothes (only on a need basis) or anything else for that matter. The good thing is that we're not charging anything we buy. We do have some credit card debt, but nothing out of this world. Although, with the way things are going that may be a problem. But hopefully, it won't get to that.

Last but not least, I've been job hunting. The only other way we'll relieve some of this crunch is if I make more money. I won't make more money at my job. They've closed down more than half of their offices around the country. There were massive layoffs in our office a few months ago and sales are down. I'm sure there won't be any raises this year, which they have been known to put freezes on raises in the past. And of course they don't pay us market value even though the president believes he does. He also thinks we're not in a recession and it's all in our heads (seriously, he said this in a meeting). I guess he doesn't have to worry about where his money is going.

Well that's that. Let's see how this cookie crumbles.


Melissa H said...

We're all feeling the crunch. I have a panic attack every time I have to pay the bills and am always petrified to open up my bank account online. I never know what I'm going to see. This week, I got to find out that Rick hadn't paid himself since June 23rd. That always helps when the mortgage is due...
Hang in there!

Xia Diaz said...

It's really a horrible feeling. I want to throw up every time I look at my bank account. I'm sending you lots of good vibes to you. I hope it helps.