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Monday, December 13, 2010

And this is why the grocer loves us our first post we mentioned that this week (from Monday to the end of Sunday (yesterday)) we would keep careful notes about all of our spending in order to examine what we're actually spending on, where we could save, and what we've been doing a pretty good job with (let's be optimistic and imagine that we are doing a good job somewhere!).

By the end of Monday last week (Day 1), I thought that this was actually going to be a silly exercise, seeing as how neither of us had spent a dime.  Lunches had been packed, coffees from home traveled with us in travel mugs (which every hot beverage drinker must own). We worked while the girls were in school, and then we came directly home and made supper.  I should mention that on Day -1 we had spent 120$ on groceries - keep this number in's important !

Day 2: Same deal, coffees from home, lunches packed.  We're on a roll.  Weekly piano lessons for our eldest set us back 20$.  So far so good! Ahhhh, but the next day I, Economia Nia, was invited to a potluck at a colleague's place.  I love potlucks (and should really consider entertaining this way).  Having volunteered to bring dessert, I found myself needing to go to the grocery store for a few (key word "few") missing ingredients for my carrot cake with cream cheese icing...yum. So, 90$ (!!!!) later, I was ready to bake.  Now, of course, no cake requires 90$ worth of ingredients (well, that's not exactly true, but that's another post). I'm getting the impression that for me the grocery store is, quite simply,  a spending danger zone.  (Frugal Freddie is nodding his head in firm agreement.  He reminds me that he cringes every time I tell him I am going to buy groceries. Plus, he calls Loblaw's, "blah blah's",  because I say I'm going for milk, but come home with milk, and crackers, and organic beans, and imported cheese and marinated olives and blah blah blah blah blah...)

Day 3: nothing much .... oh, except that I had my hair done :) .... cut and dye about 140$.  I have inherited my premature gray hair from my seriously considering forwarding him all future bills. (Frugal Freddie laughs as he remembers the time when he was discussing the cost of Economia Nia's hair maintenance with her father.  Dear father-in-law suggested that since Economia Nia has short hair, she should use Just For Men...about 5$ at the drugstore!)  Very funny!  Actually, since we're bringing up my dad...I should mention that my moniker (sshhhh...Economia Nia is actually NOT my real name), pays homage to him.  My parents were working class folk who raised 3 kids on very meager salaries.  Still, we never went without; always had new clothes, plenty of food, and enough special treats to never feel deprived.  My parents also paid most of my way through university, allowing me to graduate without carrying burdensome student loans, a gift for which I am eternally grateful.   When I started working, despite the salary I was making at the time, my dad would always say "remember....'economia'"...which translates your money, spend wisely (and not much), and stop buying shoes.

So, back to Wednesday (aka Day 3).  After my haircut, I finished up some Christmas shopping.  Spent about 60$ at Dix Milles Villages, which sort of makes me feel as though I was making some sort of charitable maybe that doesn't count.  Bought 6 metro tickets for 12.50$ in order to get to my potluck party.  Frugal Fred was alone with the girls that evening and they went out for supper and ordered about 50$ worth of food.

Day 4: Economia Nia's good friend turned 25 :)...and so we went out to celebrate.  Drinks and supper = 50$ Considering that I bought 4 drinks (not all for me silly), and paid for my both my supper and my girlfriend's meal, this is a great deal !). Where did we go? you ask.  Dining out on the cheap...the topic of a future post.

Day 5: Our eldest darling turned 9!!!  She asked to have Toquitos for supper (a processed, unhealthy frozen food that I never buy - but which she has had at a friend's place). It's her birthday, so I trek to a grocery store to find her desired supper.  Stop one - no Toquitos...but I manage to spend 90$.  Stop two - found the Toquitos..spend 40$ (box of Toquitos only 8$). Something is definitely wrong here.

Day 6 - 7: 9 year old's birthday weekend!!  This year our darling decided that instead of a party, she wanted to rent a hotel room downtown and spend the weekend with her sister and bff (with adult supervision of course). How does she come up with this stuff?? Downtown hotel, room service supper, breakfast buffet and a few treats along the way, with taxes, totaled about 300$.  Now, for those of you who don't throw birthday parties, this may seem crazy...but believe me, this was probably one of the cheapest kids parties we have ever hosted. And, there was absolutely no stress involved!  Downtown hotel however (which obviously is more expensive than something not in the downtown core) was not necessary, as the girls had no desire to leave the hotel and all it's amenities.  Frugal Freddie, who did not spend the night at the hotel, went to a party on Saturday night.  10$ ticket (which someone bought for him, in order to convince him to attend said party) included dinner and an open bar - way to go Freddie!

And finally, on Day 7 (Sunday ... yesterday) Economia Nia once again made her way to, you guessed it, the grocery store, and bought 90$ worth of stuff.
So, that brings us to today, and the realization that the majority of our spending (this week at least...but I'm sure it is the same every week), goes to our friendly neighborhood grocer.  How could 4 people, two of whom are children and barely eat anything, spend SO MUCH MONEY on food !!????... particularly this week, when we didn't even eat at home every night. We (ahem...says Frugal we notice who is the one actually going to the grocery store??) are obviously doing something wrong...especially since we're not eating filet mignon every night.  (Oh, and speaking of filet mignon, remember when I mentioned going out for my friend's (25th) birthday and spending about 50$ on two meals and four drinks...I had filet mignon that night, and if was superb :) ! )

So, our challenge then is this: we are going to try to survive this week on 100$ or less of groceries.  Now, given that I already spent 90$ at the market yesterday..we are left with 10$, which will likely go for milk mid-week.  Can we stay away from the grocery store until next Sunday?  What do you think?  Expect a post mid-week in order to update you on our progress..and keep your eyes open for any pleas to invite us for supper.

Economia Nia and Frugall Freddie
The Tightwads


  1. Wow, that is a lot of groceries :) but I am sure if I added up all of ours, we wouldn't be far behind. I especially like the 90$ cake and toquitos for $90. what the heck are toquitos anyway? Let us know how you do this week.
    But also don't forget what the other half of our parents say: "Kala na eimaste". :)

  2. well well.. the masses have convinced you that a $300 birthday party for a 9 year is cheap??? HUH? couldn't u have found another option similar (in a cheaper non-down town hotel?) or actually set up a (borrowed) tent in the living room and sent out for 'toquitos' (yeah, just WTF are they anyway?)...

  3. I thought of something else... how about a little experiment next week?? Let FF do the grocery shopping instead of you! (why not?) And always keep in mind my motto, "bad decisions make good stories!"

  4. I love that motto, Tobyfann...which is why we've got so many stories :)
    As for FF doing the groceries..he has a weakness for sugary size boxes of Honeycombs and Fruit Loops can really add up :)