Effective Adulting,  Our Very Fine House

Saving Money by Spending Money?

I noticed something rather odd about my buying habits during the spring shelter in place. Prior to lockdown, I bought the bulk of my household goods in person and even with a list, I had a really bad habit of buying things I didn’t need. My trip to the store would turn from $40 to $65 or $70 pretty quickly. The same went with the grocery store. Impulse buys of seasonal items would end up causing me a small fortune, because those little overages add up.

Houston locked down, Everett and I turned to buying most everything online. Somethings we still got in person, like chicken feed because places that are designated as “pet stores” could stay open. The funny thing about buying things online is the sticker shock comes before you press the buy button. There is a period of reflection as you review your list and ask “do I really need that thing.” It’s a lot easier to change your mind in a digital shopping cart than it is to try to flag down the attendant to take something off your register at the self check out.

I also automated the purchase of things that I normally would have purchased in person and it has been amazingly helpful now that school has started. I’m not trying to find time after school to go run and buy cat litter, it’s delivered every month to my door. Not going to the coffee shop all the time for lattes, it’s no big deal because we get coffee delivered and we get to try new roasts and new beans. We are actually spending more on coffee right now than we did pre-Covid, but I’m not spending $30 to get chai and flat whites after work and Everett isn’t stopping to get coffee each day before work. Two avid coffee drinking habits add up quickly and suddenly when you were spending $60 a week, $15 to $20 a week on a high quality bean isn’t quite so insane.

We cancelled our cleaning service when Covid hit and we didn’t look back. So far our cleaning plan is working out nicely and even though I’m spending more on cleaning supplies from the Grove Collaborative, it’s significantly less than the twice a month cleanings. Their handy cart app allows me to add things as I need them and subscribe to things we need all the time, like toilet paper. And their products are wonderful and make my house smell super good.

The subscription system also makes budgeting really easy, because pricing is consistent and purchases are easier to track. Watching our spending is really helping contribute to our peace of mind. And I have additional peace of mind being on a system that gives me a measure of control of my environment. Feeling like your home is in control and stable is an invaluable emotion.

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