One thing I did to save money was to do my grocery shopping outside of Charlottesville. I found that prices are cheaper in the valley, and for a while was driving over the mountain to the Sharp Shopper and Martin's in Waynesboro. It seemed that I made up for what I spent on gas in the food savings, but perhaps only marginally. There are definitely some great deals at the Sharp Shopper, but I don't have time to drive that far every week. I made one trip to the Aldi in Culpeper--a one-hour drive from Charlottesville. I spent far, far less than usual when I went to Aldi, enough to fully justify the gas expense, but it was so utterly exhausting, I haven't done it again. I heard that Aldi might be coming to Charlottesville which I think would be good, although I know some of you will disagree.
Some of the comments on the Aldi article linked above are discouraging. I know I can be obnoxious about walking and biking everywhere and living in the city and shopping local, but it's pretty shitty to call people "pavement apes" because they drive to the suburbs to save money on groceries.
Anyway, while food prices tend to be lower outside of Charlottesville, it's not practical or environmentally friendly to drive to next town to shop. So I cooked from the Good and Cheap cookbook, served more vegetarian meals, and focused on resisting impulse buys at the grocery store. Nothing revolutionary there, but since groceries are something you must buy, small changes really add up.
Groceries aside, I've been more mindful of spending in general, particularly on clothes. Buying new clothes, and justifying the purchases because they are needed for work is one of my big weaknesses. I have made a lot of very silly clothing purchases over the years, some of which you will see in a post I'm writing about building a professional wardrobe. My new found love of sewing has also made me think hard before buying clothes for myself. Sewing takes patience and planning and forces you to get over the instant gratification of buying new ready-to-wear.
I also put a halt on any home decorating projects, which means the front hall is still unfinished. The painting is done, but I have framed only one of my vintage Great Lakes nautical charts and I put off buying the big mirror that I want to prop against the wall. I did buy a 200 year old Heppelwhite table at the Covesville store. It was a steal because of a clumsily-replaced leaf. I think it looks well in the hall, but that's all we're doing for now, unless I find a really good deal on a mirror.
|Antique table--the wonky leaf is against the wall.|