Empowered Purchasing

It is crazy to think about the amount of money we spend every day. I spent a lot of time not thinking about it until I realized that was a big mistake because having a savings, an emergency fund, etc is important. So I started to save money but now that I am in a position where I haven’t been earning money (maternity leave) I have had to think extra carefully about money and where it is going. Furthermore, who is it supporting?

As someone who is trying to eat healthy and clean, I can’t rightly say that it makes sense for me to spend my grocery money at a big chain like Walmart or Target or even a small chain like Key Food because they don’t have a lot of organic, non-GMO and chemical free options and the options they do have are extra expensive. Although it would certainly be convenient (as these types of stores are everywhere) – if I start shopping with them I will pay more for organic produce and I will be supporting an organization who doesn’t have the same goals as me.

So I have revolutionized the way I shop. Once a week, we stop at a Farmer’s Market for fresh produce and occasionally meat, fish and dairy products. My money supports local farmers who work hard for their money. The produce is less expensive than it would be at any store and it so much better. Seriously, the difference in an onion is absolutely insane – and it’s just an onion – forget about other fruits and veggies. If I can’t make it to the Farmer’s Market or need some stuff that is prepared, I’ll head to Trader Joe’s or Fairway. I won’t buy anything without looking at the ingredients. Here is a reference I use: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/09/27/10-of-the-worst-food-ingredients-to-never-eat-again/ but in general if you don’t know what it is, can’t pronounce it, it is probably not good for you. I know it can be a bit more expensive to shop in the organic aisle but if we keep voting with our dollars, organic goods (no pesticides, not genetically modified, etc.) will become the main stream and the prices will go down.

Next time you make a purchase, think about who and what you are supporting and maybe it will change your mind. I know it has saved me plenty of money just by considering it.

Cartwheel

Last night, B broke our French Press. It was very sad because ever since I started using a French press, I will never use a coffee maker again (unless I have to). The French press is wonderful for a variety of reasons:

  1. Combined with an electric tea kettle, you can make coffee very quickly.
  2. The coffee tastes much better, richer, etc.
  3. It is so much easier to clean than a regular coffee machine.
  4. If you make coffee in the morning and have leftovers, you can store it overnight and it’s equivalent to drinking cold brew DELICIOUS!
  5. It takes up very little space on your counter, which is great because we have limited counter space in our current apartment.
  6. It is inexpensive $20 and you have a brand new French press!

Armed with the need to replace our French Press and to stock up on food, we set out for Target. But this time, I was determined to benefit from using Cartwheel. I have yet to speak of my love of Target but it’s about to come out – Target is so wonderful, I love being in there and being able to buy a bunch of things (now new goal is only things I need) the prices are affordable but I have always felt that their sales were very limited.

The second Target came up with an app for the iPhone, I downloaded it. You can bet that every Target trip I made, I used the coupons available on the Target app. But, much to my dismay, they hardly ever applied to what I was buying. Later on, I downloaded Cartwheel but because I never took the time to understand how it worked, I never benefited from the app either.

Anyway for those of you who are avid Target shoppers and didn’t exactly think through Cartwheel, I am about to explain its glory to you.

  1. Go around Target with your shopping list and get everything you need. *I am advising you not to indulge here because a. I want to save you money and b. I want to discourage the idea of buying things you do not need. 
  2. When you are finished, pull out your phone and open Cartwheel.
  3. Press the little search button on top and then click scan bar code.
  4. Proceed to scan all of the items in your cart and if they have a coupon code, it will pop up and ask you to add to your list of 10 savings.
  5. If you have more than 10 deals, you are going to have to do some math on which will be most beneficial.
  6. If you know what you want ahead of time, and know exactly what you are buying you can front load your Cartwheel before getting to the store, but since I often do food shopping at Aldi, I was not sure what my options were going to be at Target.

Last night I was able to save on more than half of the items in my cart. I felt spectacular and now Cartwheel will be my best friend for any future Target runs. Happy Tuesday and Happy Shopping ! 

Saving Money $$$

As any normal couple with an unplanned pregnancy, saving money is really going to become key in order to make our lives easier. Especially because I will not be making a salary for three months at minimum. NY state does not require paid maternity leave 😦

Some things that we are working on are:

  • Joining Swagbucks. For the last few years I put this off thinking that it would spam me but now that I see it’s so highly reviewed, I finally decided to try it. In just two days I have made 230 Swagbucks! Woot! Click to join Swagbucks here.
  • Personal savings, we made an agreement to contribute a percentage of our earnings to a joint account (in addition to our individual savings). Until we find a good deal for an account, we have been keeping it at home. Any recommendations for banks with deals for opening accounts? Unfortunately, interest rates have not been high recently.
  • Increasing contribution to 401k so that less of our income is subject to taxes (aka bigger tax return next year)
  • Following blogs like Money Saving Mom for coupons and deals.

What did you do to increase your savings for a child? or a house? or any upcoming major life event? Please share below 🙂