Each year many of us make New Year's Resolutions to lose weight, better ourselves, straighten out that hallway closet or even {gasp} give up a favorite food. Well not frigging here, no sir~rie! If I want a double chocolate cupcake with butter cream frosting and jimmies I'm damned well going to eat it! What I am going to continue is my savvy shopping sense and reward system.

It all started after R09 (recession of '09). We all started watching our money a bit closer and some of us even started being more diligent about coupons. I took it a step further by only buying what we needed for our meal plans, making sure the food was on sale, there was a coupon on double coupon day and documenting my savings including percent saved each trip.

It started as a game really, The Grocery Game as some call it. Each Sunday I'd take the coupons offered offered in the local paper and plan the meals for the week based on what was on sale that week. I know it sounds like a lot of work and I guess in the beginning it was but I was quickly able to get it down to about an hour of work which saved us over 30% of our grocery bill each week.

As I sat down each week, I was damned if I wasn't going to save more on our groceries for the upcoming week than the past week. Truth be told, when I looked at the total saved a the bottom of each receipt I felt giddy and might even admit I had a rush similar to those only brought on by a fine shot of espresso.

At the end of each month I would tuck all the money saved in a savings account. It's been a couple of months now and by tracking my grocery savings we've packed away a little over $500. So for about 8 hours of work (an hour a week) our family has $500 extra dollars, not too shabby right?!

Now the question at hand is: what will we do with all my savings? Hubby and I have been super careful about paying cash for everything so we do not have to worry about credit card debt, knock on wood. We've also been tucking away money for retirement each month for over 15 years so another check in the 'move in the right direction' column for us.

I've decided that it's time to travel. That's right, it's time to hit the open road. I think the kids are at the age where they appreciate trips more than before and will remember the experiences as they get older so it's time. It's time to get those brains exploring the world as funding provides.

Come on, admit it. We all remember those 'family vacations; they are unforgettable really. The ones where the family spent a week arguing what to load into and onto the roof of the station wagon or placed bets on how often the third wheel (motor home) was going to break down during the course of the trip. All those helpful reminders from the front seat that you needed to "quiet down, stop picking on your sister and behave or I'm gonna pull over on the side of the road ~ don't make me do it!" Wait, maybe that's just my special memory. Yup, it's so ON in our household!

When I asked our daughter where our first trip should be she proclaimed "IDAHO!" Not Disney or some warm beach in another country, Idaho. I'm not sure what's in Idaho other than all those potatoes advertised by Denise Austin but based on work vacation calendars we may be visiting Idaho in the spring.

So what are you going to do in 2010? Any tips or lessons learned from R09 you'd like to share with us? Do you have a New Year's Resolution or are you going to join me and white knuckle it threw 2010 without one?
7 Responses
  1. Vacation! We're going to South Dakota for this year's family vacation. And we're having more parties. And I too began the year eating chocolate.

  2. What a good idea! Problem is, I don't subscribe to the paper, so I don't get coupons. I need to get a subscription, I guess, if I can save that much.

  3. Frankly, in my memory, I think there has always been a recession (or whatever) going on, so I've always been fairly good at stretching the almighty buck. Working in the oil industry does that to you after a few highs & lows (of which we've had many).

    Then I discovered the Lifetime Channel in about 1986. They had craft shows out the wazoo, so I started making things that I couldn't afford to buy. I made appetizer cheesecakes and sold them to people I knew for parties & whatever. It was enough to send the kids to camp one year, which was like a vacation all in itself.

    I mended our property fences on my own, with bailing wire and nails. I did nearly all of the yard work (a half acre lot) on my own. I cleaned a 4 bedroom/4 bath house alone. I began cutting & coloring my own hair. I do my own manicures & pedicures. I painted rooms inside the house alone. Lord, there was nothing I didn't try to do without the help of a pro or a husband (hubby isn't at all handy).

    I made curtains for every room until my sewing machine at last gave out. Then, I made things with either my hot glue gun or fabric glue. I reupholstered some of our furniture, hit all the garage sales on the weekends, and had a blast!

    I know there was more but I can't think of it now. But, those were the best of times, really. I always had something to be proud of, as YOU should be for the amount you've saved in such a short time.

    Girl, you totally rock!

  4. You are inspiring me!!!!!

  5. Samantha Says:

    I'm a coupon clipper as well, and I always get giddy to see how much I've saved. :)

  6. Andrei Alba Says:

    i still believe that life is a learning process.

    we always learn. every day. every year.

    come 2010, we are facing the challenge of believing more on ourselves.

    happy new year to you!

  7. I was totally into the grocery game before, and then I started working. I just couldn't keep up and I've tried to get back to it a few times and just can't seem to get there!