If I was to look back to when I was 19 I never thought the process in which I carried out my weekly shop today would have ever happened.
I moved out of home 2 months short of my 19th birthday. The 10 months that followed were nothing short of a rollercoaster ride.
I had been working full-time for just over 2 years and had not saved a penny. I had been living at home, paying a small amount in board each week, paying off an $8,000 personal loan for my gorgeous little white lancer and the rest was play money.
I wasn’t one to look to the future, never thought about where the money would come from when and if I decided to buy into property, all I was interested in was having enough money to buy a new outfit for the weekend and to buy alcohol to drink, in said new outfit.
I seemed to
always most of the time have enough money to buy food for the week, pay my bills, put fuel in my car and of course enough to buy a 4 pack of black Smirnoff and a bottle of grenadine ready for my Saturday night.
There was definitely no saving though.
My Mum and Dad came to the rescue on a few occasions, taking me to do a food shop, they even bought me a new pair of Asics because the gym was something I couldn’t let go of, even if money was tight to pay the fortnightly membership fee.
A month after moving out of this rental and returning home, I hit the town with a group of girlfriends, only to meet my now hubby.
Meeting Rob gave me a feeling of maturity. I had always been told that I was beyond my years ... but I felt the need to be further beyond my years once our budding relationship took off. You see ... I was 19 when I met Rob ... 2 months short of turning 20. Rob ... well he was a little older. By a little older I mean he was ..... 30!
Yes ... there are 10.5 years between the two of us. Something that has never once bothered us and never will.
We made the move, well I just kept leaving clothes and toiletries there and I think he got sick of everything not having a place, so he thought it would be more convenient if I moved in ... this was only after dating for 3 months. I’m sure the truth is that he couldn’t live without me! I know I certainly couldn’t live without him!
Once I had officially moved in, I instantly took over the conventional role of ‘housewife’. I have always been domesticated and this role was never a difficult one, nor one I had to think about prior, it was natural and I wanted to be ‘his carer’. I did loads of washing, I took on the responsibility of preparing most meals through the week, paying our bills was not too far behind this.
I think it was a case also of feeling as though I was impressing him, not coming across as a young girl needing a place to stay. I wanted him to know that I was an independent young woman that knew what I wanted in life.
With this came the responsibility of managing funds. Something I had never taken too seriously. I began doing the weekly food shops and when it came time to purchasing our first home together only 6 months later, the mortgage repayments were split and I began the job of putting cash away to make the exciting purchase of new furniture and window treatments.
When it came time to move into said home, I had managed to save $4000. This was a BIG deal in my eyes. I had never put away this kind of money before. We bought a beautiful brand new dining table and fitted each window with gorgeous blinds. These things are now a permanent reminder to me that I set myself a goal and succeeded with it.
Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t just meet an older guy and all of a sudden become a non-spender. I still LOVE to shop and will always find a way to buy a new dress or a new pair of shoes. A girl has to accessorise.
So now we are about to embark on a different journey, one that has the added responsibility of ‘watching what we spend’.
I have just started my maternity leave which means my parental leave payments from work are starting 8 weeks prior to bubs’ arrival. I am fortunate enough to also be receiving payments from the government which will definitely help, but our funds will have to be watched more so compared to if I was actually walking in and out of an office each day.
With this has come exciting visits to grocery stores.
Today was my first official day of maternity leave. I took myself to Coles this afternoon to do our weekly shop and well ... as I wandered up and down each aisle, my excitement grew and grew. Rob got to see this excitement when I came home with all of our goodies and as I unpacked each shopping bag, I quoted the price I got each product for. Perhaps a little sad but today I found that I wanted to give myself a pat on the back each time I put something into my trolley that was either on special or if I placed two of the same items in the trolley because they were 2 for $13 and that would be a saving of $1.03.
I managed to get tins of tuna for $0.90, tin tomatoes for $0.80. I bought 1.5kg of Omo washing powder instead of 1kg as the price per kg was cheaper if I purchased the 1.5kg one.
I was so proud of myself for choosing today to do my shopping ... perhaps each Monday the specials are out. I found myself planning our meals as I went down each aisle, thinking back to what products we already had at home and what they could be teamed with.
As I packed everything away in our fridge and pantry I found myself smiling with delight as I thought back to how much money I managed to save.
A far cry from my excitement at buying a $250 Country Road dress.
What little things bring you enjoyment? I have 8 weeks of pondering over the smallest of things ... one day the savings of my grocery bill will be on the bottom of my list.
P.S I also got a double bonus with keeping my receipt ... a whole 8cents per litre off fuel instead of the normal 4cents. I need to fill my car up tomorrow and I already know I am going to love paying for that.