As an avid MSN reader (regular readers will know this is one of my weird Internet addictions …), one of my favorite columns is by Donna Friedman who wrote most of last year about living on $12,000 a year. Friedman has a great writing voice and she has some pretty sound advice.
The other thing that I like about Friedman is that she regularly solicits her readers for input on how they live frugally. The column also has regular challenges for readers to take on to live more frugally – the recent “Brown Bag Challenge” has readers packing lunch for a month to see how much in savings they realize. (Given my recent addiction to Jimmy John’s, I can attest that saving about $16 a week on two servings of the Vito, chips and soda would retire my credit card debt sooner and give the waistline of my work pants a break.)
Friedman gave me a pretty good idea one recent morning when I was browsing through her column. At this point in my life, I’m a relatively decent cook but one of my biggest problems is that I’ll have a ton of one product (ask Future Husband about the Great Canned Pumpkin Project of 2008) and will be out of diced tomatoes when I need them.
One of Friedman’s readers recommended building a spreadsheet to keep track of pantry and freezer items. This kind of intrigued me because my organization skills leave much to be desired and it would be nice to see how much money this could potentially save me. I mean, if I buy one more can of cream of mushrooms soup on top of the six cans that are already in my pantry, I’m still going to use it. But it’s taking up space and I could have spent my money on something else that I needed … or not spend it at all and trim off some money on my weekly grocery bill.
I’ve started building a spreadsheet – I frequently use Google Documents because I used to not have Excel on my home computer. It’s free and it’s pretty user-friendly. My idea with this is to keep it updated and then I can print it out when I need to go grocery shopping.
Keep in mind, I’m building this from the cab company and this is just a starting draft. My pantry is much more horrible than this … I’ll keep you posted on this experiment.
Working on Your Debt?
Join our FREE newsletter to get even more helpful tips straight to your inbox.