Friday Tips: All you need is a pen

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Write it Down

I’ve been going over our 2012 finances and our expenses took a super sharp drop mid-way through the year.  That is no surprise – that is the same time we started budgeting and trying to keep our spending down in preparation for our Year of Family.  However, when considering how we have cut down our spending I’m realizing how much it has helped to write things down.  Pretty simply, every time we spend money (cash, credit card or check) we write it on a list that is posted on our fridge.  It’s nothing special, but it makes a huge difference in two key ways.  Firstly, it helps us see, visually, how much we have spent so far this month.  No need to look up recent credit card activity or obsessively count he cash in my wallet.  Secondly, it helps us pay attention.  There have been numerous times when I wanted to get a chai while I’m out, or impulse-buy something online.  Sometimes I’ve almost talked myself into buying these things, budget constraints and all, when I remember I have to write it down (or post it publicly on a blog!)  Knowing this makes me think twice.  Sometimes the purchase is still worth it, but writing it down sometimes provides just that extra bit of awareness.

There are studies that show that people will lose weight if the only change they make is to write down everything they eat.  There is a lot of power in being mindful and aware of the choices we make every day, but I have found that just telling myself “be mindful and aware!” often isn’t enough.  That is when I pick up the pen, put some paper on the fridge (or on my nightstand) and start a record.  So simple, yet so powerful.

Notes from the Year of Family

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Blueberry smoothies for Dad and LP.  We all enjoyed toast after Mom and IP got up.
  • Lunch: Quesadillas with avocado, olives and veggie dogs for Dad and LP.  Mom had some almonds and enjoyed a hot chocolate while hanging out with a friend.
  • Dinner: Red lentil and artichoke stew over rice
  • Mom and Dad enjoyed some Veggie Galaxy treats (cheesecake and coconut cake) after the kids when to sleep.

Money Matters:
Today did part I of our large weekly shopping trip and we spent the following:

  • $11.91 for groceries at Whole Foods


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