Dollar Store Challenge and Blogging More!

Okay….I’m a bad blogger. I’m really good at coming up with articles to blog about and even drafting them out — but I’m terrible about starting and finishing and publishing blog posts. I get too self critical and give up. The last few months have been particularly tough to blog through – I’ve taken vacation, started a new job, got wrapped up in home renovations…

But I’m committed to blogging more! And I think what will help me the most is….*drum rollllll*….a new MONEY CHALLENGE!

This is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while now – at least a year.

When I was a case manager for homeless women, there were countless times that clients would come in to strategize a budget. In creating budgets with impoverished folks, you learn a few “frugal life hack” things pretty quickly:

1. Wash your clothes with powder instead of liquid.

2. “Mend and make do” when something rips or breaks as opposed to quickly replacing it.

3. You can get A LOT of your daily needs met at your local dollar store.

Of course, I also learned a lot of valuable “don’t ever do what they did” lessons from impoverished folks.

But I must say, working with a vulnerable population encouraged me to visit my first Dollar Tree and the first time I set foot in a Dollar Tree I felt like I’d been short changed all of my life. Who knew that the same glass vases at Pier One for 4.99 could be had for only $1?! Who knew that cleaning supplies with the same ingredients as pricier brands could be achieved for only $1?! And who knew that even some of the same foods I bought at grocery stores were elsewhere sold for only $1?!

Perusing my local dollar store, I was amazed at both how cheap things could be and also how people could be duped into believing that they were getting a deal by purchasing something at a dollar store. It’s something of a paradox. Yes, it’s cheap to get a 2 pack of party streamers for $1. But it’s also a sham to pay $1 per apple when you can get a 5lb bag for $3 at the grocery shop.

Furthermore, I’ve been exhausted with figuring out how to get X-mas presents for everyone in my family while living on a budget. ‘Tis the season…

And so…I’ve decided to embark on a new money challenge:

THREE WEEKS OF NOTHING BUT DOLLAR VALUES

That’s right. If it’s more than a dollar, then I can’t have it. Whether it’s Dollar Tree, Dollar General, The Spot at Target, The “Everything’s a Dollar” lane at Price Chopper, or the less than a dollar produce at Aldi, there are dollar deals to be had. And I intend to have only them for the next three long weeks.

Some things that I can buy at prices above a dollar:

1. Gas for the car (although, as usual, I’ll try to limit my car use)

2. Mortgage and utility bills

3. Up to THREE nights at Bier Station – our favorite beer bar.

That’s all I can come up with. Everything else is fair game.

Tomorrow will be Day One of this challenge. The Beard is biting his nails over it right now. I happen to think it’s going to be way easier than we imagine, save for the whole coming up with X-mas presents bit…but I’m sure we’ll manage and it will work out just fine.

And so…LET THE CHALLENGE BEGIN!

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