Baby Step 1.2: Embracing the Generic

This weekend, I finally stopped resisting and embraced the inevitable: I am becoming my parents.

(Thanks, Dave Ramsey.)

More specifically, I am becoming my dad and adopting his complete color-blindness when it comes to grocery shopping name-brand vs. generic. The man only sees prices, and he goes for the deal every time. (Unless it’s Blue Bell, because he learned his lesson the hard way on that after the Bravenec girls revolt of… whenever it was. The sooner forgotten, the better.)

So, last Sunday afternoon, my husband and I did all our grocery shopping at Aldi.

I have to admit, once you relinquish your brand loyalties (something that’s VERY hard for me to do as a marketing person), the shopping experience is actual rather pleasant. Oh, you need shredded cheddar? Here it is. There is one choice and only one choice for each product. It makes shopping simple. And quick.

One of my issues I held on to briefly before this conversion was the fact that I often compare nutrition facts on labels in an attempt to make healthier choices. It makes me shudder that the only spaghetti sauce Aldi offered had a whopping 480 mg of sodium. But the solution is something I’ve needed to do for a while: turn away from packaged goods! If I just stayed with fresh ingredients I wouldn’t have to compare incremental differences in preservatives and saturated fat, I could eliminate them altogether.

Meanwhile: A cup of low-fat yogurt for 26 cents? I think I can handle the fact that it’s not Chobani.

By the end of it, we had bought EVERYTHING we needed for a week (probably more) of meals, including snacks for the baby, produce, raw chicken, deli meat, at least 4 boxes of cereal, and some other splurges like seasoned mozzarella, brie, sweet potato chips and English toffee – 66 items in total – all for $120.

Note my glamorous bruschetta snack made entirely from Aldi products:

img_6231

img_6236

img_6237

I think there are still some things we will have to go to Walmart for, like the hypoallergenic laundry detergent we use, our favorite brand of toilet paper, and a few other toiletries, but after this experience, I am a total convert.

It may be a while before I conquer Baby Step #1, but I am certainly feeling a little more peaceful about my finances already.

Baby Steps

e34ac280436af29d71053b064df9255eThis week, I attended the first of a nine-session course called Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. (Which I knew was long overdue, but even more so after seeing this chart on compound interest and saving money. Ouch.)

The course is divided into six baby steps to financial peace. Baby step #1 is to save $1,000 as quick as possible for an emergency fund.

Yeah.

I have literally no idea where all that extra money is going to come from, but I do know we get fast food WAY too often and like to shop a little too much, so I’m starting there. (I also posted some shoes that don’t fit on a local Facebook trading post, so fingers crossed.)

And Baby Step #1/2 that I came up with myself is to UNSUBSCRIBE for all the emails that tempt me to buy things. So far this week, I’ve unsubscribed from Carters, Babies R Us, ModCloth, Petco, Keds, Kate Spade, Cartwheel by Target and Kohl’s.

Then I took a shot of whiskey. (Just kidding.)

I’m already pretty thrifty in the sense that I refuse to pay full price for anything if I can help it, and I love to coupon. So I figure if I subscribe to these newsletters I will get the best deals, but it’s a two-edged sword of purchasing more often to get the deal in the first place. And in the words of my father, “Yes, you saved 40%, but if you didn’t buy it at all you would save 100%.”

I have always hated when he said this.

But as I learned in the class last week, we cling hard to our bad habits. We are “like a baby in a dirty diaper – it’s stinky and it’s wet but it’s ALL MINE.”

So, my husband and I are all-in and we are going to try to break our habits so that we can maybe pay off our student loans before dementia sets in and we forget everything we paid to learn.

With any luck, we will end up like Bill Murray in What About Bob, and not so much like Richard Dreyfuss.