So, we saved almost $1500 in a little over a month.
Wanna know how?
By losing control.
We went down to just one vehicle.
My husband started driving our van to work. We put his truck up for sale on the lot on base since we’re moving out of the country and can only ship one vehicle. And the van is paid for, title in hand.
I have kept a budget in an Excel spreadsheet ever since before we were married. I don’t itemize it as closely as a I should. I have a cell for each bill, many on auto-pay (like our investments and insurance), and others (like utilities, Internet, and cell phones) are generally the same amount each month. Then there’s our food/gas/living expenses cell that fluctuates wildly each pay period. I should have monitored that more carefully. The pay-all-cash, envelope system just doesn’t appeal to my husband or me. We just don’t use ATMs and my husband’s paychecks are direct-deposited. Our bank is really just an online entity.
I’ve been rather proud of being frugal this past year. We’d cut down on our spending pretty drastically. We don’t eat out. That helps a lot.
When I noticed we had all this extra money leftover after a couple paydays, I was rather devastated that I must blow that much cash on errands a few times a week – that it would add up to that much in a month of being stuck at home. I asked my husband to verify the budget and he did some math-y formula stuff and looked at the accounts and numbers.
Then I asked if this could have anything to do with my being stuck at home for almost a month while he took the van to work. He’s been picking up the groceries we need. And we’ve been paying cash for gas.
Light bulb (in the voice of Gru from Despicable Me).
So, how did we save so much money? I didn’t monitor well all the little seeps of using that debit card.
Like, when I poorly plan and we need a single item from the grocery store and then I come home with three bags.
Or grocery shopping too close to meal time and not planning to have a slow cooker dinner ready or lunch leftovers and then picking up a couple of those ready-made pizzas from the deli area.
Or not thawing out meat well enough in advance and having to rush out to pick up some rotisserie chicken or even some fresh meat – and five other items to make the recipe I decided last minute.
Not to mention all the extra gas wasted with the unnecessary running around that could be eliminated with better planning.
With better planning, I could shop for meals monthly or even twice a month, and let that be the end of it.
And all that extra money we’re saving with having one vehicle? So many options! Into our savings account to earn interest. To pay off unsecured debt. To take a vacation en route to our next duty station. To take the kids on fun staycation places before we move.
I wish we had done this sooner. I wish we hadn’t bought into the “need” for two vehicles. This was my selfish demand when we arrived here with our van from our last duty station. I wanted freedom to drive where I wanted, when I wanted. I didn’t even wait to see if we could “survive” with one vehicle.
I didn’t wait on the Lord to provide the perfect vehicle or say NO to me. I pressured my husband to drive the 1.5 hours down to Carmax to purchase a used Jeep Liberty that we owned for a year, then encouraged him to trade that in for a pickup truck that we are now having to sell. And we owe more than it’s worth. (Please pray it sells soon!) And I can imagine even more blessings when we don’t have that extra monthly payment to make!
My husband just mentioned yesterday how simple it is, having only one vehicle, even with having to juggle a couple appointments this week. It makes us appreciate our provision more than ever.
I read blog posts and articles all the time with lists about how to save money, cut costs, be frugal…and they really just all say the same things. They’re good lists, but I haven’t gleaned anything life changing from them.
Eat at home. Combine errands. Don’t use credit cards. Don’t shop online. Reduce. Reuse. Simplify.
I’ve done almost all of that I can do…except sacrifice by having only one vehicle…so there it is.
But I needed to lose control. Of my selfishness. Of my finances. Of my demand. Of that blasted Excel spreadsheet with its numbers and formulas and figures in black and white that don’t necessarily add up to God.
I am amazed and blessed…and shocked.
Check out some other frugal posts by the Review Crew.