Saving a significant amount of your paycheck does not happen from one day to another. It’s an ongoing process and starts with keeping track of your money. I started with tracking our groceries and restaurants expenses.
To be honest, that is the only thing I track. A future goal is to track everything for at least a year so we perfectly know where we stand. I’ve met people who can be so structured when it comes to work or other business but so negligent when it comes to money. I find this very strange. I treat my money as the most important thing I have. Knowing where the money goes and being reasonable about your spending behavior is the main ingredient to a full life.
During a Belgium family party* the “saving money” topic was discussed profoundly. Two of my aunts started of with, and I quote “we’ll never get rich because it’s a lot of effort to compare and check prices”. This was the most amazing thing for me to hear. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t do that? It’s child’s play. You compare house brands, A brands and B brands and go from there. If you aren’t familiar with, let’s say the house brand, try it and compare the quality. In 90% (personal opinion) of the cases we don’t taste any difference. Like I mentioned before, it’s an ongoing process. This will take time and a little bit of effort but after a while it will be routine.
The practical approach. Every Thursday night we take some time to think about our meal plan for the next week. If we’re not inspired to come up with something ourselves, we search online. We try to make at least one new dish every week. Experimental Thursday’s is what we call them. We also take a picture of every meal so we have our own personal library of dishes we can choose from. Due to this routine, putting together our meal plan takes very little time. This is the base for our grocery list. Friday after work, we both visit 2 or 3 stores to gather all our supplies. This way we’re set for the week without having to worry about what to eat.
To confirm this strategy is working I’m providing an overview of our monthly food expenses.
In a previous post I talked about a benchmarking your income against objects. Another example of this is comparing the price of an item, not to the amount in Euros/Dollars but to the amount of hours you need to work in order to be able and buy that item. Try it and you’ll see things in a whole other perspective. A simple lunch can suddenly be 1,5 hour of work. And let me tell you… The minute I started using this technic was the minute I started to buy less shit. Suddenly the value of something that’s “only” 10€ became a purchase you might rethink. I do NOT like to work so applying the aforementioned helped me a lot.
*As the melon deal is an international couple, we refer to each others family by simply naming the country of the family in subject. A simple and clear method.