The Austerity Project: Week #1 Update

Week #1 Update: This project is making some positive changes already. I am only a week in, but I have noticed these things.

#1-Each day I am looking for new ways to conserve around our home. Save energy, save money, use less, use up the things we have. These have been simple things like using a little less laundry soap or making sure the dishwasher is really full before I run it. I have adjusted the thermostat down a couple of degrees and kept lights off that didn’t need to be on. I ate the last slice of cheese or the semi-stale cereal. I doubt these things will have a huge impact on my budget, but I suddenly feel more aware of the energy and items we consume in this house. Most of it is necessary, but some of it is not.

#2-I shop out of habit and boredom. Over the course of the last week, I have had quite a few moments where I wanted to get in the car and run to the store for one little item–not because I REALLY needed it but because it would be a nice little distraction. I talked myself out of it every time and said I would wait until I needed milk and produce. I went to the store for the first time yesterday to get our NEEDED items, but it was hard waiting that long. I am realizing that going shopping is much more about the “going” part than the “shopping” part for me and I KNOW this is a big reason I spend so much each month. This has made me think about making a list of things to do other than shop. That might be a post that I put up later.

3#-Menu Planning is key. I have menu planned for some time, but I never really committed to having certain meals on certain days. I would just buy the items I needed for meals and then just make those when they sounded good. Problem is that since I didn’t commit, sometimes those meals would go unused and we would pop in a frozen pizza. I would end up with mushy produce and 14 cans of chili beans. In preparing for this month I printed a calendar and then wrote down a meal randomly for each day and it has been great! This is going to be a new way of life for me. It makes it so much easier for me to just “know” what we are having that day. No thinking about it or deciding between this thing or that. I gather all the ingredients before I pick the kids up and it’s easy to throw it together while talking to Max and holding Zoe. Plus, this has to positively affect my budget. If I just buy the things I need instead of the things I “think” we might eat, I can save a ton that I can put towards stockpiling our essential items.

So far, we are 7 days in and I am enjoying this project and how it’s making me look at my way of doing things from a different perspective. Can’t wait to see how next week goes. Will I be sick of this by the end of January or will I commit to a more streamlined and “austere” lifestyle? I would say it will be a little of both.

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