Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pondering Finances While at Jury Duty

I am serving jury duty today. I was summoned for Monday but then was put on standby until today. I am really hoping to be dismissed before the end of the day since we are supposed to leave town on Saturday. If I go before the judge, I will have to plead "hardship" and ask to be excused. Before living where I do now, I don't think I was ever summoned for jury duty. But here? I get summoned every 18 months, like clockwork. And the timing is never good.

Since returning from the UK, I have been focused on kids, a garage sale, and work. (I had planned to do trip preparations today and tomorrow, but now I'm here at the courthouse. Bah.)

I had mixed feelings about the garage sale, but actually, is was great. It's so nice to clear out unneeded things from the house, and it's so nice to see those things go to other people rather than to a landfill. One person showed up, and after a few minutes, I began to suspect that she was a student of mine from about 15 years ago. I remembered her well because, at the time, she was a single mom who was also in a band. She ended up getting a super nice car seat for her newest kid, and she was thrilled! Another little perk of garage sales--an interesting parade of humanity.

The sale also reminded me to think more about the value of a dollar. Hubby and I are okay with money, but we are not really as frugal as we should be, and we don't save and invest as much money as we should. These days, high prices, expensive lattes, and the regular use of plastic cards can inure me to the sense that real money--lots of it--it draining out in small bits on a daily basis (mostly in books for me and in good beer for Hubby).

About 15 years ago, I went "cash only" for a month. Doing so helped me remember the ways that dollars add up, whether they are going in or out. Surprisingly, the garage sale served as a small reminder of the same truth. Maybe Hubby and I can internalize this truth and build some new habits. I remember reading that it just takes $27 a day to spend $10,000. Certainly, I could have done that math myself, but having it pointed out to me was a bit shocking. It's so easy for me to blow $27 in a day on items that aren't truly necessary.

Recently, a former classmate of mine (and blogger/writer/knitter extraordinaire) wrote a post about money ( In it she mentions that she and her partner, for a while, spent only $50.00 a week on food. I think it would be great for Hubby and I to try to set some food limits. We don't blow money on new furniture or cars, but we spend a ton at the grocery store and eating out. I'm thinking that this would be a big area of saving for us.

Do any of you have good advice on good ways to save $27 a day?


Anonymous said...

On food:

Good luck!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I lived in CA for six years, and was called for jury duty five times. I never actually had to serve, though. But I thought it was weird how often I was called!

We're trying to eat at home as much as possible. Eating out is expensive and bad on a diet. We also drink a lot of water -- cheaper than soda, coffee, etc. Also, water is great for a diet! Can you tell I'm on a diet? (Lost 11 pounds so far! Yay!)

We also quit smoking, which saves 11 dollars a day.

You might also shop around a little on car insurance if you haven't done that in a while. Just a suggestion.

Psycgirl said...

I've been trying to live on cash for the past 2 months - I have about $46/week for groceries in my budget and since I started trying to stick to it I'm kind of amazed at how easy it is most weeks. If I sit down and plan my food out for the week and then stick with it, it's much cheaper. Before I would have days where I'd say "Meh, I don't feel like eating [whatever i had planned]" so I would go to the store to get something different, which added up and led to a lot of food in the cupboard/freezer I didn't use.

C. Troubadour said...

We tallied up our grocery receipts for a set period of time to determine which food category was draining us the most. It turned out processed lunch meats were doing our budget in -- 75 percent of our total meat spending! So we started buying chicken parts and baking them in large batches to carve meat off for sandwiches or to eat whole (like the wings and drums). I'm sure there are other areas we could streamline, but this was a big one that definitely gave us back some cash.

The Thirty-Something Bride said...

As you probably know, I never spend what I don't have. I learned that a LONG time ago. The thought of charging anything makes me a little dizzy.
We eat at home a lot. I was lucky in my unemployment that I was able to spend time searching for and cooking inexpensive recipes. Woman's Daily has some good recipes that are really budget friendly. I also like: for fun recipes that are in expensive. And I work on cleaning and storing veggies and fruit so that they don't go bad. That saves a ton of $. :)

Lorean Hartness said...

My husband and I split. We buy more expensive meats, but the portions in the grocery are enormous, so we split them. I pay attention to the portion sizes listed on foods, which is where we save a lot of money. I plan our meals for the month. This helps keep variety in our meals. With planning and portionin, not only do we save money, but we are healthier too.