I mentioned in a previous post that I am on a mission to reduce expenses. Besides the obvious, such as turning out the lights and turning down the furnace during the day, I have made some big changes that affect how much money I put out to expenses.
The first thing I did was tackle the urge to shop. I cancelled all of my email subscriptions that screamed LAST TWO DAYS TO SAVE! HURRY! While de-cluttering my inbox it also reduced the heartstopping insane chatter of "OMG I have to order this RIGHT NOW OR ELSE!"
I also made a habit of throwing out the shop flyers as soon as they reach the mailbox (poor trees, I did put a sign on the mailbox, but the carriers do not read it). I put a blue box directly under my mailbox, and when the flyers arrive they are immediately pulled and tossed into the box. Once in a while I might pull out the grocery store flyers to look for reduced prices on chicken, but I do this seldomly.
The biggest step I took to reduce my expenses was to put a ban on one of my favourite stores: the drug store. Because I moved so often I kept a P.O. box at the drug store, and my daily mail check was an excuse to look at the flyer, visit the sale section (conveniently located next to my P.O. box!), wander up the cosmetic aisle and down the snacks aisle. I was susceptible to the BOGO (buy one, get one) sales and was forever giving away bottles of soon-to-be expired vitamins. I had a bathtub lined with bottles. They were hiding behind mirrors and under the sink. I moved a microwave stand into the bathroom to hold the spillover, and its top was full of products. Moving was a hassle because I would have to pack three or four boxes labelled "BATHROOM."
Since I had my son in 2006 I made a big change to my routine. I cancelled my P.O. box. I stopped going to the drug store. I stopped colouring my hair (who has time to keep up with roots when you have a wee one?). I rarely wear cosmetics and make do with one lipstick and one tube of mascara. I buy my shampoo and conditioner from my step-mom's hair salon at a reduced price. And for some reason, I receive at least one bottle of body lotion each year for Christmas, so I have a surplus. Recently online I came across a coupon for a FREE bottle of body wash, so I emailed for it, and am looking forward to trying it when my old bottle is finished. I buy face wash and moisturizer maybe once a year, and usually from the local health food store.
My son is young enough to not require a lot of expenditures. I used cloth diapers for the first year (hydro was included in my apartment so I didn't have to pay for loads and loads of diaper laundry) and since switching to disposables have found a generic brand (yes, at the grocery store) that works well and is pretty cheap. I never did bother with the vaseline/lotion/powder routine, and found one excellent tube of diaper rash cream that lasted for more than a year.
So my advice, if anyone is asking, is don't go there. Just stay away. Stay home. Go to the library. Stop shopping! Start saving!