5.01.2013

Our pledge.

This month, Sean and I have decided to "buy locally" and stay away from chains. Let me explain:

For months now, I've been going over our finances. It's a pretty tricky task and one that I obsess over. There never seems to be enough money to pay what needs to be paid for, but we're still able to do what we want because of savings, and skimping and crunching the numbers.

Of course, I've read all the blogs and the books and watched tons of Youtube videos on the subject of budgeting, but when you already don't spend too much on things that are "wants" it's hard to cut out things from your monthly budget in order to save.

So I decided to go about this in a different way. I recently found a "theory" that one should follow the 50/30/20 rule. It says that 50 % of your income should go toward "must-haves" (rent/mortgage, food, utilities, etc.), 30% of your income should go toward "wants" (clothes, eating out, taking vacations, etc.) and 20% of your income should go toward "debt repayment" (that one is self-explanatory and probably didn't need quotations).

Here's what our income looks like:

Clearly, we need to work on our debt but that's not what this post is about. The thing is: our "must-haves" are almost on par with the rule and our "wants" are well below what the "experts" suggest spending each month. And because it's our hard-earned money -- and that 12.94% of our money is the only part of our income that we may spend "freely" (as in it's not owed to a certain company/bill), I think it's important to make wise decisions about where it's going.

So we decided to make a pledge.

I understand that food is typically included in the "must-have" category but I've included it in the "wants" sections because it's all a part of what we want to change. So for this trial run, our graph looks more like this:

So rather than take 16.68% of our income and throw it at places like chain grocery stores, and chain restaurants, and chain retailers -- we're going to make a pledge to shop, eat, and buy locally: as in Mom & Pop shops, farmers markets, and corner stores. 

This, of course, will not be an easy task. Convenience, and price are a major reason why it's so popular to stop into Target or huge supermarkets to indulge or "for something quick". And typically, smaller, non-chain stores are a bit pricier. However, my hope is that by cutting out large chains -- I'll resist the urge to pop in somewhere for "something quick". And that the 16.68% of our income that is spent on groceries, restaurants, home supplies, toiletries, or clothes... is better spent.

I can't promise that I'll make it for the entire month of May. Outback is already tempting me with emails for a free appetizer and dessert each Thursday this month, and Taco Bell and Chipotle are regular stops for both me and Sean. But we've already started scoping out places to shop, and looking at prices, and tasting the differences in the products. It's really amazing.

I hope you'll follow along this month during our quest to shop, eat and buy locally and refrain from going to chain restaurants, grocery and retail stores. I'll let you know about our successes, or our failures, and plan on doing a side-by-side comparison of costs, convenience, and likability each week.

Here's to day one:


1 comment:

  1. What a great idea and I'm sure it's going to be a huge challenge!! Can't wait to see all the fun places you guys find!!

    ReplyDelete

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