After leaving the corporate world at the end of last year when Dr. SoS began building her private practice, a fellow small business owner recommended that she read the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. Since I manage our home finances and Dr. SoS figured I might be able to help with her business finances, she suggested that I read the book, as well.
One benefit of living in a city that has more highway miles per capita than any other city in the world is that I have several long driving commutes each week. While driving, I am able to complete an audio book in a week or two. I listened to Profit First in a week and enjoyed it immensely. I would highly recommend it to any business owner to realize profits while intelligently growing your business.
At some point, I will provide reviews for the numerous books I read, but today I want to share a topic from the book that I noticed relates very well to a recent situation in our household. You are going to think I am crazy for a moment, but keep reading and it will all make sense shortly.
Have you ever had a tube of toothpaste that is nearly empty and you do not have a new one to immediately replace it? Then in your busy life you kept forgetting to pick up another tube at the store? How is it that we can twist, squeeze, and roll that tube for a week or more before we finally have to give up and buy a new tube? I personally think it is due to The Matrix, but I digress.
Money has been tight in the SoS household this year. We are doing whatever we can to save. Ever since we married in 2013, we rarely ate at restaurants. A large family meal out was an expense that we chose to not afford. After we both changed careers, we knew our disposable income would be even less. That meant that eating out, however infrequent, was one of the first expenses to go.
After looking through our finances the other day, I mentioned to Dr. SoS that she is rocking our food budget for the month. With 60% of July complete, thus far we only spent 30% of what we spent on groceries in June. I thought the numbers were incorrect, but she assured me they were not. I asked her how she did it? She explained her secret. When our two oldest kids lived in the house with us, we purchased food in bulk. With three kids left in the house, we still purchase food at Costco, but we are much more selective with the quantity. Last year, we also purchased a third of a grass fed cow both as a healthier alternative to regular store purchased beef and to save money. She further explained that she took inventory of the food we have in our freezer, refrigerator, and pantry, and after beginning our Zero Day Spending challenge, she began planning meals more mindfully and only purchased fresh fruits and vegetables to round out our meals.
My mind drifted back to the tube of toothpaste except instead of a toothpaste tube we are squeezing the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry until they are empty. We are using the food we have rather than buying more. Although simple in practice, this was something I thought worthy of sharing with others.
How can you use this in your personal finance? We love to eat out, but over the years we learned to make delicious meals at home. Cooking frequently at home made us very good cooks. You can do the same thing. It just takes practice. After you stop eating out, the biggest change you can make is using the food resources you have before buying more. Once you do that, just buy what you need. Throwing away food you do not eat or that goes bad is the same as throwing your hard-earned money in the trash or down the drain.
What do you think? Are there other areas in your life where you could twist, squeeze, and roll the toothpaste tube a little more and keep from buying another tube? Let us know. We would love to hear about them.
Keep on Squeezing!
P.S. An alternate great thing to do is to hug and squeeze the ones you care about in your life. I recommend you stop what you are doing and go do that right now. You will thank me for it later.