Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Controlling Spendthrift Impulses

I'm ready to have this baby just so I stop spending money. I have 3 days at home and every day I have had to run errands that have involved spending way too much money. Sure, mani/pedi and eyebrows are a luxury but I have to look nice for all those photos I expect to be in. :) And there are the few miscellaneous supplies we needed, involving trips to Isis, Target, Babies R Us and Christmas Tree Shop. Now that we have lovies for Spyder she can officially arrive. Since Penny has pink hippos and Ned brown monkeys we went with green frogs for Spyder. Tomorrow, my last day is going to be spent stocking up on groceries.

I really need to keep spending in check while I'm on maternity leave. I intend to be religious about grocery lists (and try to avoid Whole Paycheck) and do more cooking (okay, this might be a pipe dream). I will be joining a gym after we get back from a family vacation to North Carolina in July but I am going to have that be a short-term cost (only while I am on leave) to get back in shape.

Ned and Penny will be at home with April so getting out of the house will be a priority. I will try do to so by enjoying playdates with friends instead of running errands or meeting for meals.

I'm even contemplating starting a weekly budget for myself.

Any other suggestions for helping me keep spending in check while I'm on maternity leave?


Marcia (123 blog) said...

I also found I spend more when I'm on leave and not at work. I spent a lot while on maternity leave simply because I had time to browse... (browsing is bad!)

Now I send D for the baby stuff with a list (x of Pampers 3, wipes, etc. )and he comes back with exactly that - you know how men shop?!

My suggestions:
go with a list
make a plan straight after (meeting a friend, gym, etc.) so you can't linger and browse
make a budget!
go to "boring" malls with no cute shops near where you need to get the essentials :)

hope this helped!

Stacey said...

This habit must be genetic. When I took 2 days off from work a few weeks ago I spent far too much money and Jeremy was thrilled when I was back at work. I think part of the problem is that if you don't have a tight budget you don't really think about the money. I put everything on debit but rely on Jeremy to tell me if we are running low in the checking account. Because I don't constantly look at the numbers spending can feel abstract.

You need to remember that you have two kids already so you shouldn't need ANYTHING else for Spyder. And I can alwas contribute clothes, etc. to the cause. But, you should also indulge yourself in some cute outfits for you while on vacation! I also recommend Weight Watchers instead of the gym. It is MUCH easier to track points than get up the motivation with 3 kids to hit the gym. Yes, you can do WW while breastfeeding and I wish I had so that I don't have as much to lose now!

A. said...

Stacey, we all know how you loathe exercise, but you aren't seriously telling someone NOT to do it themselves, are you? Dude, exercise is important, whether you need to lose weight or not!

No tips on how to avoid spending obscene amounts of money, I just recommend you work on ramping up the guilt factor (so that every time you whip out the credit card, you are flooded with feelings of guilt). Works for me (sometimes)!

LauraC said...

I love love love reading all the sister's comments on each other's blogs. You guys crack me up!

I am doing a combination of WW and exercise. When I exercise I get more to eat and I love eating, so it works out nicely.

Don't have tips on how to avoid spending money, I always spend much more money on weekends when I have time to shop.

jerseygirl77 said...

I'm with A. And there definitely is time for exercise, even with 3 kids. Kudos on your plan to join the gym!

I do make grocery lists and, nerdily enough, clip coupons. But just don't set me loose in Target. That's a surefire recipe for spending too much!

T. said...

We plan our menu for the week on Saturday and then make a list. We usually only buy what's on the list (aside from our cookie impulse buys), and I totally clip coupons, it's a Sunday AM tradition. Mainly for paper products and cleaning proucts, which I'll go to Target for once a month (though I am thinking of switching to BJs or Costco soon? I'll let you know how that works out). I don't know that you'll save a ton by cutting out Whole Foods (ours is no more pricey than the local Shaws - and cheaper for staples like our Greek yogurt and cereal). But one thing you could do is start going to farmers markets during the week for your fruits and veggies - you'll get better quality stuff than at Shaws or Stop & Shop and it's a nice activity for you and the kids. And cheaper than the grocery store!

As for the gym thing, good old walking is an under-rated FREE activity - go for a daily walk around that lake in Wakefield. You get exercise, the kids get fresh air, everybody wins. And there's no temptation of mall stores and food courts and such. (As I think about walking around the mall in circles during 20 degree weather come December...)

That's my two cents. Good luck tomorrow, looking forward to hearing when she arrives! :-)

Chris said...

I agree that walking + breastfeeding (500 calories per day!) can be a great weight loss strategy in and of itself -- it might not work for everyone, but if it works for you, you'll get to avoid the gym all together! : ) And, coming from a former city-dweller, you can walk all year long -- even if it's 20 degrees, just bundle up the kids and get that plastic cover thing for the stroller -- you'll be all set!

Heather said...

I think the best idea is to menu plan and only shop for the groceries you need. And to ask yourself when you are browsing, "Do I really need this?" That usually stops me.

Anonymous said...

Part of our menu planning is "built in leftovers." But I usually don't like eating the same thing twice in a row. So, we'll plan a meal of say, a piece of meet, with a side dish of rice (but make extra). The next night we'll cube the leftover meet, and stir fry it with veggies and the leftover rice.

Or, make grown beef for burgers, but use the extra meet that we don't fry up in tacos the next night, just add different seasoning on top of whatever we had for the burger meat.

And congratulations on the beautiful new addition to the Esq. fam!!! So excited for you.

Unknown said...

I have an opposite take on spending control, at least for groceries: I buy what is on sale, and work my meal plan from that. I buy meat in the 3+lb packages, divide up in freezer bags, and grab the staples again when on sale. I click coupons, watch the sale ads at Shaw's. I even grab the typical Target stuff (cleaners, paper products etc) at Shaw's because the sale prices are just are good, and it saves me the extra trips (while you're off, that might not be as pertinent). I have left Shaws with a $200 order and $100 in savings, woo hoo! I've always been frugal, but that 15 months I stayed home with the twins really solidified my penny pinching. Handy now that we are in new house mode with all the requisite additional expenses.