By: Revanche

One PB&J a day brings a home within reach?

May 28, 2008

A colleague of mine has been jonesing for a home since her parents started pushing her to become a homeowner. I guess she got used to the idea, and decided to get serious about it. Her new declaration is that eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everyday will save her $250 a month on lunch.

Call me skeptical, or an insufferably curious pf blogger, but I do wonder if that’s the extent of her plan. It’s simple enough to save money by bringing lunch, but I feel like a few more contingencies should be considered to make sure that she’s really saving money. If I were to consult with her on the overall plan, some major points I’d make would be …..

Tracking expenses: I’d suggest that she check her spending habits as a whole. Is there going to be an area in which she increases spending because she feels deprived or restricted by eating PB&J all year? Is there really going to be an increase in savings from changing her lunch diet? She used to buy lunch half the week, and brought dinner leftovers the other half. Perhaps that was equally cost effective.

Health: Is she compensating for the rather limited nutrition in her lunches by adding fruits and veggies to her other meals? Is she doing this in a cost effective way so as not to negate her savings from lunch?

Appearances: Is she doing the PB&J lunch because it looks and feels like she’s doing something proactive about saving for a house? Are there alternatives that might save more for less effort or for the same amount of effort but be more worthwhile? I love my food, so I’d have to be sure that changing my diet solely to save money was really the best way to go.

Actionable: How is she ensuring that the money she “saves” really goes toward the house and doesn’t melt away into her general spending? Does she have a plan to pay an allowance to her house fund out of her grocery allowance?

Are there other issues you might bring up? Of course, I’m not going to have this talk with her because I don’t want to pry into her finances, we’re not that close, and I don’t want to reveal my preoccupation with PF, and accidentally out myself. 🙂

10 Responses to “One PB&J a day brings a home within reach?”

  1. Sense says:

    hey, I wrote you an email…what’s the email address again? I’ll resend it if i got the address wrong.

  2. Jon says:

    You brought up a lot of good points, especially the idea that other expenses might rise if she’s feeling deprived in some way.

    I think you should tell her that if she estimates $250 is the amount she’ll save, then go ahead and transfer $250 to a savings account on the first day of each month. Or do it weekly. That should take into account any fluctuations in other spending, as well as guarantee that the money gets saved.

  3. Mrs. Micah says:

    I think Jon has a good point about the transfer. She should make it pre-emptive.

    Can she find things that equal the PB&J in price so she has variety? As someone who ate a lot of the same thing in college…more for convenience than savings…I can tell you that it gets old after about a month. And I was mixing it up to every other day.

  4. SavingDiva says:

    I agree that the PB&J sandwich sounds a bit like the latte effect. I think you have to make a much larger change in order to put yourself in the right position to not just buy a house, but to a be a home owner (repair costs, etc).

  5. ~jon~ Preemptively saving that money would definitely make that part actually happen.

    ~mrs. micah~ I was thinking that also. I’ve seen some great low-cost recipes posted on the blogosphere that would probably be the equivalent pricing, and create variety in the lunches.

    ~savingdiva~ That’s probably the most scary thing about being a homeowner in my opinion: having to be responsible for any and all repairs. I’d really like to be a lot more handy around the house before I own one.

  6. Or how about bring your dinner to lunch and make PB&J sandwiches the other times isntead of buying a lunch?

    I mean PB&J… is just not healthy on its own.

    And I’d def. transfer the cash each month into a savings fund and set a budget, track expenses and cut the fat

    sounds to me like she’s just focusing on food but we don’t know what the rest of her lifestyle is like – like going out to eat after work or a movie every week, and drinking cocktails on weekends….

  7. Linking this btw.. 😀 in my next round

  8. ~FB~ I’m not sure what her lifestyle is like anymore, we don’t talk as much, but she used to go out for mani/pedis with (free!) cocktails regularly, and go out for drinks every few weekends. She goes on trips and has a gym membership, but she also has no dependents, and lives on her own, so I don’t think she’s really hard up, just accustomed to her independence.

  9. this matches a lot with my most recent article about discipline and instant gratification. good post. very interesting

  10. Revanche says:

    Onechancetolive: Thanks!

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