Last week, we began a new blog series called Girl On A Budget, which chronicles the weekly challenges and victories of my friend Pamela Penny-Pincher who is on a budget. Every week she can’t spend more than $250 for food, clothing, transportation, emergency expenses or entertainment. Does it seem too easy or too tough? You try it!
This week, PPP went shopping….
August 26, 2012
I woke up on Sunday with $6.00 from last week and a need to get my shop on. Obviously I was going to need more funds for shopping. Good thing my budget weeks start on Sundays so I had a fresh $250.00 to work with.
Since I put myself on a budget, I’ve done the bulk of my shopping for food, supplies and clothing in New Jersey. I’ve noticed that when I have food in my kitchen I’m less prone to splurge on things that add up at month’s end. For example, I love Fudgsicles ($2.99 for 16) and when I have them in the freezer that means I won’t splurge on The Lite Choice ($3.50) or a Frappuccino at Starbucks ($4.95).
My parents and I started the morning with breakfast (thanks Mom and Dad!). Afterward, we went to my favorite place on earth. Before the recession, when I had a successful business and money to spare, my favorite stores used to be Saks and Bloomies. Now that I’m living in leaner (and wiser) times, my go-to shopping spot is Target!
I love Target for the convenience and quality. Plus they sell everything from clothes to shoes to food at the right price. And I can’t tell you how often I get compliments from people on my dresses and outfits from Tar-get! Below is a list of my purchases.
NJ Prices NY Prices
$9.00 Dress $20-$30 Dress
$20.00 Smart Ones $40.00 Smart Ones
$13.45 Gourmet Smart Ones $19.95 Gourmet Smart Ones
$8.00 Gum $16.00 Gum
$2.99 Cereal $4.99-$6.99 Cereal
$53.44 TOTAL $106.94 TOTAL
What’s not to love about my New Jersey Target? I bought a cute lilac summer dress for $9.99 which would have easily cost $20-$30 in Macys or even H&M. Then there are the 19 meals and cereal I walked out with for less than $37.00. And the gum that I now need thanks to not smoking (as much) was half price. I saved $50.00+ on this trip! That’s a night out on the town with my friends!
And speaking of friends, what a great week with them! On Tuesday a good friend of mine took me out to dinner (thank you, Dennis! It’s been nice knowing you for 20 years)! On Wednesday, I went on a date with a very nice guy. On Thursday I packed for a weekend trip to a quaint lake house in lovely Kinderhook, NY.
Lodging was free thanks to two generous pals so all I needed was money for transportation/train, food and beverage. By Friday I had $150.00 left for the week so food and beverage was doable but what about transportation? Well, sneaky me, I’ve been stashing extra cash in an envelope at the end of each week and then pretending it isn’t there–$6 here, $10 there and a 20 or two suddenly totaled $80 so I could cover the train.
The moral of this story is do stash extra cash somewhere – don’t spend it. Bury it in a box, buy a piggy bank or put it in your winter coat pocket. Same with change. I know a guy who saved $6,000 over 20 years by storing his change in giant water jugs and not touching them. He renovated his NY kitchen with the money. So make sure you’re saving it somewhere. It will amount to something in a few weeks, a month or, if you’re really disciplined like that guy, in a few years.