perder la vida

Learning to Live Missionally and Mindfully

skimpy spending at the grocery store May 25, 2009

Filed under: creativity flowing,mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 4:38 pm

My friend Misty is a coupon-clipping maniac. She is super savvy when it comes to getting groceries on the cheap and has recently blogged a lot about how she does it. She uses competitor coupons, double and triple coupons, and takes advantage of Publix’s weekly BOGO deals and amazing sales… among other things. Being the penny-pincher that I am becoming, I wanted to start doing this for myself.

A few months ago, my mom and I started working on the way we buy groceries and beings ure we’re watching our budget. But, Misty’s recent saving sprees have encouraged me to work even harder to help my mom save money on groceries. So, today I did a little shopping experiement. Last week, I bought groceries solely at Publix and took advantage of sales and BOGO and spent $35 while saving $15…. not bad! But, today I went a little crazier. I visited four different stores and noted the prices of the items on my list at each store and also looked at some of the items I buy most frequently to see who had the best prices. So, here’s what you’ve been waiting for…



8 gal. trash bags



ground beef


peanut butter (I only eat Smart Balance PB)

tortilla chips


shaving cream

toilet paper (I only use Cottonelle… expensive!)


Pop-Tarts (Publix, BOGO)

Spent: $2.39

Saved: $2.39

Trash bags (Wal-mart, reg. price)

Spent: $3.74 for 72 bags

Saved: $0

Sara-Lee speciality breads (Wal-Mart, 2 for $5)

Spent: $5

Saved: $1.98 (although Publix’s brand of specialty bread is regularly priced at $2.49, so…. really nothing “saved”)

Salsa (Publix, store-brand)

Spent: $1.99

Saved: $2.00 (I normally buy Newman’s Own which sells for $3.99, though part of the money goes to charity!!)

Ground sirloin (Publix, on sale for $3.99/lb)

Spent: $5.51

Saved: $0.90 (though this technically evens out because I’d planned on buying ground round instead of sirloin, which is about a dollar cheaper than the sale price of sirloin)

StarKist Tuna (Wal-Mart, on sale)

Spent: $4 (4 cans for $1/ea)

Saved: $1.28

Smart Choice Peanut butter (Wal-Mart, reg. price)

Spent: $2.74

Saved: $0 (I generally buy this brand at Wal-Mart… it’s $2.99 at Publix)

Shaving cream (Wal-Mart, reg. price)

Spent: $1.84

Saved: $0.90 (switched brands, plus I got 2.5 oz more than what I normally buy)

Tostito multi-grain chips (Wal-Mart, on sale)

Spent: $2.50

Saved: $0.49 (Publix’s store brand is $2.59, just an FYI)

Half-dozen eggs (Publix, reg. priced)

Spent: $0.60

Saved: $1.24 (I generally buy a dozen organic eggs for around $1.99 or more at Wal-Mart)

Cottonelle Toilet paper (CVS,  on sale) – my favorite purchase of the day!

Spent: $5.49 for 12 double rolls

Saved: $2.00 (Reg. priced at Wal-Mart for $7.49, at CVS for $11.99 so to CVS, I saved $6.50!)

Total Spent: $35.80 (w/o tax)

Total Saved: $13.18 (w/o tax)

I feel like I did pretty well! Just in the past two weeks, I’ve saved just under $30 just from paying more attention to what I’m buying, evaluating and reevaluating what we really need, and really sticking to my list. Now, as I said, I went to four stores though I only made purchases at three. One gem of a store I often forget about is the Family Dollar. When I lived in Montevallo, I would HIT UP the FD for all of my cleaning supplies – they are often so much cheaper!! They had some really great deals on the cleaning supplies we use most plus a better deal on trash bags. I ended up regretting the bread purchase from Wal-Mart because I generally just buy regular sandwich bread for about $2.18 a loaf. However, bread does last quite a while at my house and the two loaves we bought will more than likely last a month or more… plus it’s fancy bread which is always more fun. I also bought some ibuprofen at Publix the other day for $4.49 for 50 tablets only to find a 2 for $4 pack at Wal-Mart (with 100 tablets in each bottle). That was a rip-off, but I was in desperated need for ibuprofen, so… I’ll just suck it up for now.

Anyway, this has been a fun morning. I love learning about new ways to save money on groceries – even “mistakes” I am making are learning experiences and I feel like I can only get better at it! I’m getting better about looking for sales, deals, coupons, and offers…. though I have to be careful not to buy items just because they’re on sale. The Pop-Tarts were my only non-list item, but I traded them for cereal and actually ended up saving money by doing so. Saving money isn’t just about what I can do with the leftover money, but what the Lord can do with it instead. Currently, most of my thrifty shopping is out of necessity but as I get older and begin my career, I want to be able to use the money I save for greater purposes than just keeping myself fed and clothed.

Now… my next post will be on why I still shop at Wal-Mart…….. that’s a whole ‘nother story.


confessions May 22, 2009

Filed under: frustration,mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 1:13 pm

I have a big confession to make.

Yesterday, I went shopping.

I intended to buy an FM transmitter for my iPod, earphones, and a little bit of makeup (the makeup being a pick-me-up for a rough few weeks). I did that. Then I walked by a store that had super cute swimsuits… for only about $20 a piece. I bought two swimsuits (about $84 for both) plus a few other things.

For the transmitter and earphones, I don’t really feel bad at all. I haven’t been able to listen to my iPod in my car for about a year thanks to a broken tape deck, which would be too expensive to fix. The earphones I could probably take back… they were $20 and I heard I can get the same type for about $4 at Fred’s, so those will probably be heading back to Radio Shack. The makeup was a bit of a splurge… and truly one of those emotion-driven purchases. I just walked up to the counter, named my products, and handed over my debit card. At that point, I’d spent about $150…. way more than I intended.

Then came the swimsuit store. I was lured in by a 10 for $25 advertisement and then noticed the cute swimsuits. The next thing I knew, I was using my CREDIT CARD to pay for $200 worth of stuff.

I have spent the last twelve hours or so debating whether or not to take back the things I purchased. The FM transmitter stays, the earphones go. Part of the makeup will go. Everything else…. I am not sure. I really want to keep the stuff because I want it. This is a big deal for me. I know I need to just march right back to the store and hand over everything I bought, but something in me is hesitant.

This is what it is like to be addicted to shopping. You go shopping and feel great while doing it – you should have seen me strutting my stuff in the mall! But then, you leave and have all of this shopper’s remorse and guilt and dread what people will think when you confess. I have been doing so well with this project and am disappointed in myself… and really, I have already ruined part of the project whether or not I take the items back. My mindset switched from satisfied to indulgent in just a matter of minutes and the damage was monumental.

So, that’s what’s going on today.


new outfit. May 4, 2009

Filed under: mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 3:11 am

As promised, here is some of my recent loot:


Gap shirt: purchased for $1.50 from a University Presbyterian Yard Sale (Tuscaloosa), MSRP probably around $35-40

the Limited crop pants: purchased for $3 at the Salvation Army on Skyland (Tuscaloosa), MSRP probably around $40-50

I was in love with this outfit today. Very “me,” I have to say. It also is a great outfit for sitting on the floor of the church eating crawfish and boiled veggies. 🙂

*Sorry for the crappy quality of the photograph… it was taken with PhotoBooth.


SO EXCITED! May 2, 2009

Filed under: reviews,Shopping,thinking — Katie @ 12:56 pm

Since my project has taken a new turn, I’ve had trouble finding the information I’ve been seeking. I want to know where my clothes are made, what those companies represent and what they stand for, why they outsource, how the workers are treated and how they are paid…. you get the idea. Part of my trouble has just been a lack of knowledge about where to even begin to look for such information. One day, I considered just straight up calling the customer service department of my favorite labels! I am hoping that this summer will also allow more time for me to do some investigating and more writing about my journey. This project started as a way to save money but it is constantly making me a more conscientious shopper.

Now… why am I so excited? Well, two things. For one, I have not had a Relevant subscription in probably over a year because I have just been reading the website, which is free. About a month ago, the magazine offered a year’s subscription for $7.50 in celebration of Maya’s (most notably known as Cameron Strang’s wife) birthday. So, I was like… hey, $7.50 is not bad. Yesterday my long-awaited issue came in the mail…. with Kings of Leon on the cover.

As I flipped through, I saw an advertisement for a book called Where am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman. Apparently, Kelsey and I are on the same mission…. except he has apparently worked a lot harder to get information! So, visit this site… buy the book… and look forward to my next post which includes my most recent purchases: $200 worth of clothes for just $7 from a University Presbyterian yard sale benefiting their food pantry.


Phase Two March 9, 2009

Filed under: creativity flowing,ME,mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 2:27 pm

Wow! It has been a really long time since my last update. For the past couple of months, things have been going well. The challenge I’ve faced recently is just the challenge of having a limited wardrobe. I was wearing the same pair of jeans two or more times in a week because I only had a few pairs that fit well. I have to be honest – starting the University has been difficult on my self-esteem. It is hard to walk around a campus and see what others are wearing and know that I don’t have what they have. I have had feelings of inadequacy, which I’ve never really felt before. It’s been hard to supress those feelings and remind myself of who I am in the Lord and of the things that are really most important in my life.

I also have been questioning clothing companies in and of themselves, lately. One of my favorite clothing stores is known for its trendy but ridiculously affordable clothing. What I starte to wonder is why these clothes are so cheap. Looking on the label, I noticed that everything is made in Taiwan, the Phillipines, India, Turkey and other countries. I started wondering about the people who actually had their hands on my garment. Are these people treated fairly? Are they given fair wages? Do they work twelve hour days in poor conditions? Could they even afford the clothes they’re making?

My heart started to ache for these people. How could I live with myself? I am so concerned with my wardrobe that I am supporting a company that may have business practices with which I do not agree. I have realized that this is a catch-22. Outsourcing provides employment in countries that desperately need economic growth and development, but… at what price? I read an article once about clothing workers in Asia who worked twelve hour days and were forced to live in these tiny, substandard dormatories. They worked in horrible conditions and were not allowed to see their families. But, they had a job, so it was seen as a good thing. I’m just not okay with that.

So, I started thinking about other ways to buy clothes without supporting certain companies. If you’ve ever noticed, very few things are made in America these days – particularly clothes. I would have to never buy a single article of clothing ever again if I wanted to avoid it altogether. But, it’s impossible. I have really needed new jeans and have been debating whether or not to buy any. Well, finally, I broke down. So, I went to the consignment store and stocked up. I bought four, maybe five, pairs of jeans and two shirts for just $75. That’s still a lot of money, but a steal compared to what I would have paid if I’d bought jeans at their retail price. Normally, I buy jeans that run about $60 per pair. This $75 was from the $100 my mom gave me upon starting this project.

Consignment shops are great for two reasons. Firstly, when you shop at a consignment store, you’re supporting local business. The two shops I go to are in downtown Tuscaloosa (Twice As Nice and Deja Vu). I know that my money is going to their families and to the employees who work there, which is the second part of their greatness. When you shop consignment, you are able to stick it to the clothing companies…. even though it’s on a pretty small scale. You are getting the benefit of their designs and clothing without any money going directly to them. Sure, everything may not fit perfectly and you may not be able to find something every time you go. This was actually my second trip to the consignment store in search of jeans. The first time I went a few weeks ago, I came out empty-handed because they didn’t have any jeans in my size. Normally, I could have just gone to the mall and walked into my store and purchased jeans without even having to try them on. But, I had to be patient, creative, and willing to take what I could get. I eventually found a few pairs of jeans that fit pretty well, so I bought all of them. That’s the other rule to consignment shopping – if it fits and you need it, buy it! You can’t put the jeans back and “think about them” and then go back a few days later expecting them to be there! You have to take advantage of what’s there at the time, so I did.

And I am glad I did! I am happy with my purchases and eager to wear every single pair until they fall apart at the seams!

So, Phase Two has begun. I’m now going to focus my efforts towards learning more about clothing companies and the effects of our spending.


Undergarments December 27, 2008

Filed under: ME,mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 2:31 pm

I received my first gift card since I started this challenge. My cousin gave me a $25 gift card to Victoria’s Secret. I almost don’t know what to do with it. I honestly don’t really need more…. undergarments. Sure, I could always use more undergarments… I love… undergarments… but do I really need them?


So. Now I am conflicted. If you know anyone who needs some… undergarments… let me know. I think I’ll be passing this gift card to someone else.