Yeah so if you took a gander at my flickr yesterday you may have seen the joyous news about my 401K account. My earnings for the year? -40%.
Aw yeah aw yeah.
Whatever it's not worth getting mad about since it is a long term investment and it IS an investment, not a savings account. And many of us are in the same boat I am sure. We've all made adjustments to deal with the bad economy -in some cases huge sacrifices, in other cases just little every day decisions that add up to being able to save a little money. That is my kind of thing. The more money I can throw into my savings, the better . So I thought I would throw down a few little things I have done that have been saving me cash. This time around it's the food edition.
Last year I picked up this pink Igloo soft-sided personal cooler from Target.
I needed something to bring my lunch to work in that could potentially keep it cold all day if the fridge was full (as it tends to be especially the day after big meetings when it's stuffed with leftover food). This small cooler is the PERFECT size. It holds a sandwich or Tupperware of leftovers, a can of soda, snacks, and the top has a compartment to stick an ice pack in to keep everything cool. I find that even without the ice if I put something cold in there, it stays cold for a good 3-4 hours. It was a great $15 investment and ensures that I don't waste money on buying lunch. With all the money I spend on groceries, it's nonsense to also spend money buying lunch every day. SO when we finish dinner at night I automatically pack the leftovers into Tupperware, stick them in the coolers (Adam has the same one in blue), throw in a special k bar and some snacks and stick it in the fridge so we're good to go in the morning. Last week alone Adam and I saved about $80 total by not buying lunch every day. Not a bad deal! Checkout http://www.target.com/ or http://www.walmart.com/ to score one of your own.
Speaking of groceries, another great resource is
Another worthy investment is a decent coffee maker and travel mugs.
My parents gave us a fabulous grind and brew coffee maker for Christmas and neither of us has darkened the doorway of a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks since. Having a coffeemaker with an automatic timer ensures that you have to be pretty damn lazy NOT to have fresh coffee in the morning. Just set it up at night before bed, set the timer and in the morning you have fresh ground, freshly brewed coffee. As far as beans go, I do have a Starbucks gift card to burn though but when that runs out I don't see myself spending $10 or more on a bag of beans every week. Luckily I have discovered Eight O'Clock coffee, sold at supermarkets, that costs $5 a bag and comes in yummy flavors like french vanilla and hazelnut. Delicious!! Not to mention we are saving at least $20 a week, maybe more since we both sometimes made a Dunks run more than once a day. The one we have is on super sale at Costco for $70! If you drink as much coffee as we do it basically pays for itself in less than a month.
What if you are the type who likes to dine out a lot. Don't let trying to save money cramp your style, just be smart about it. For one, if the restaurants you dine out to regularly have an email list - get yourself on it! You will be the first to know about specials, and be privy to special discounts that people not in the know won't get. One of our favorite local dives has 25% off your meal on Mondays. Another local haunt sends out emails regularly advertising But one entree get one free if you print out the email. Nothing wrong with that!
And for my winos out there, I have not forgotten about you.
Georges DuBoeuf Cuvee Blanc - a delicious white table wine that I have been serving at parties for over a year and is always a big hit. But at $11-$15 for a 1.5 ml bottle it's not a big hit to the wallet,
Barefoot Chardonnay - Barefoot in general is hit or miss with me but the Chardonnay continues to be a good wine at a great bargain ($6-7)
Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio - another clean and crisp plonk! $6 a bottle and goes down so easily. For red-lovers check out their Shiraz, an equally good value.
So as you can see, even little things like checking out a store's website or making reservation online or investing in a cute pink cooler can save you money!
What about you? Got any tips and tricks to share? Let's hear it!
And stay tuned next week for The Fashionista's Guide to Frugality!