Married to the Empire

Friday, August 15, 2008

One Income 101: What I Don't Do

I'll be the first to confess that I'm not frugal in all things. I do my best to manage our money to the best of my ability, but there are a few things that I don't do.

I don't garden. Growing our own veggies sounds great in theory, and I know it's a great money saver, but I just don't enjoy gardening. Couple a lack of interest with a definite black thumb, and it's just easier and cheaper to buy our veggies. In fact, while looking over my latest attempt at food growing (which meant a whole bunch of dead plants), my husband said, "Please. Don't buy any more plants."

I don't skimp on our healthcare. We are well insured, we see various specialists, we fill and take all prescriptions, and we see doctors whenever necessary. In fact, I don't even scope out the pharmacy where I can get our drugs the cheapest. I stick with our local pharmacy where they know me on sight. Good customer service is worth more to me than lower prices. Yes, it can be expensive, but it's far more expensive to ignore health problems, then treat them as emergencies later.

I don't skimp on the care of our pets. Our cats, prior to having to switch to a vet-prescribed kidney diet, always ate premium cat food. Cheap pet food is like feeding a human child fast food every day. The long-term health effects could wind up being more costly than the cost of a good quality food over the lifetime of the pet. Also, we take them to the vet whenever something is amiss. We made a commitment to take care of them when we adopted them, and we intend to follow through on that.

I don't ignore our cars. We drive a 1996 Honda Civic and a 2000 Honda CRV. Our cars have given us very little trouble in the 12 and 8 years I've owned them. The reason for that is regular maintenance. We have a fabulous mechanic who specializes in Hondas, and we take our cars to him for all regularly-scheduled maintenance. We also use an expensive synthetic oil in the engines. Don't ignore your vehicles until something is really wrong. Treat your cars well, and they'll give you years of service.

I don't apply for many freebies, buy things I don't need for the ECBs at CVS, or even buy products just because I can get them super cheap. I find dealing with tiny little sample bottles to be tedious, and they rarely net enough product to be worth the hassle. What's more, I have products/brands I like, and I generally stick with them. I find it's less expensive for me to just buy what we like than to try new things because they're cheap, then dislike them. Also, even though I know that I can get things for almost no money out-of-pocket if I really work CVS's extra-care program, I can't be bothered. I don't want to deal with a bunch of unnecessary glucose monitors, diapers, or other things we don't need or use. I'll leave those products on the shelves for those who actually need them.

Final installment: Contingency Plans


Katrine said...

First of all, the title of your blog is hilarious! I am married to a "storm trooper" and we have four little clones of our own. We have Star Wars playing EVERY day of my life. Today the tickets are bought for my storm trooper and clones to see the new movie tonight. As for me, I am so burned out on Star Wars that I am staying home! I agree with all of your things you don't skimp on money with. Although, I love a good CVS deal, I just don't buy anything I don't need, even if it's free.

Ewokgirl said...

Katrine, is your husband in the 501st legion? I don't know if I'm going to see The Clone Wars or not. Steven saw it twice last weekend because the stormtroopers were invited out to some advanced screening event. Since he's already seen it, and I don't necessarily care about it, I don't see the point in paying for tickets.

Vanessa said...

I really loved your series, I found you through Kacie (

While I am a SAHMom, I was once a SAHW when we did not have a car. My in-laws thought I married their son for the money, our friends thought I was lazy but when I got pregnant it was suddenly understandable that I didn't work. I support all of you SAHW's and Mom's too.

I'm adding you to my reader, I really enjoyed your series.

*carrie* said...

Anne Marie,

I really enjoyed reading this series--all at once. Now I have to to look up this controversial CNN article!

*carrie* said...

I just read the article. I had no idea YOU were the one featured--wow! Good for you for sharing what works for you and your husband!

Leah S said...

And here I thought you were gonna say "I don't watch soap operas and eat bon-bons all day." I hate the misconception that SAHWs park their butts in bed or at the TV all day. No way I'd ever do that! Life is too good to be wasting it on mindless stuff all the time.

Two things that I avoid are turning on the TV when my husband isn't home (feels like a time waster), and I don't eat out at fast food or other places unless my husband is with me. Speaking of food, I don't try excessively hard to cut the grocery budget. I'd rather spend a few extra dollars at the store, instead of opting to eat out all the time. I probably spend about $300/month on food.

Ewokgirl said...

Leah, I forgot to say that! Soap operas are like reality TV to me--drawn-out fake drama that makes me want to beat my head against a wall. Ugh.

I don't eat bon-bons, but I will confess that a bag of really good jelly beans will get my attention!

Vader's Mom said...

Gardening... hehehe... My mom-in-law has to keep my ONE plant alive for me. It's some weird green thing a bank dropped by a few years back. I think I've killed it multiple times but she always seems to save it.

Jen said...

Even though we are a two income family, I agree with and do everything you posted here.

I wanted to ring my husbands neck tonight because our dog was acting lathargic and I felt that he was running fever. Thank goodness his vet is a close friend. I was able to get the information I needed to give him some meds, and he is acting much better.

He balked at the idea of making a vet trip tomorrow. :(

I dont clip coupons either. I find that it is way too time consuming for me both in the clipping and the find of the coupons/ items/ etc. Adds at least 30 minutes to my shopping trip. And most of the time the Kroger brand is still cheaper.