I love a good, hearty, spicy chili. It can be economical, particularly vegetarian versions, if made with rock bottom priced ingredients. I included my pantry chili recipe a few weeks back. Kitchen Quick and Convenient With the addition of meat, the cost doubles. In our house, it gets devoured fast as we eat in bowls, topped with cheese and sour cream, and saltine crackers for dipping. I see others though post serving chili either as a topping for baked potatoes, or with a heaping portion of rice in the side. Rice and potatoes are pennies a serving, also good and hearty, so I imagine the cost per meal of chili is stretched farther. We like rice and potatoes; there's loads of protein in the chili already so looking at it as part of rather than the meal, makes sense. Serving chili that way was never part of my habit and I've been missing out on the savings. Always serving a meal a certain way or not veering from my shopping habits, not only might be costing more, it deprives me from thinking creatively in the kitchen when funds are tight. Suddenly that leftover bowl of chili is dinner for three on top of a potato instead of merely lunch for one in a bowl.
Lots of my habits, different but not necessarily better for me, are probably keeping me from maximizing my budget. I'm a very independent person, and married a very independent man. It's hard for either of us to reach out for help, even when we know it's not putting anyone out. Taxiing DD2 is a good example. We'll jump through hoops arranging getting her to and from, not wanting to inconvenience someone else. Often, I'm picking up and dropping off other kids. How hard, once in a while, would it have been for her to catch a ride with someone else? We have when really stuck, but a rare exception. Her friend's parents are all good folks, and like us, would never let a kid be left behind, and are going the same place anyway. Independence is great, but overly self reliance might be a habit worth breaking.
Transfer this example to other experiences such as buying or renting an item someone might just loan you use of. DH hates borrowing things, and we have several one or two use items in the garage because of that. I'm hoping in 2017 I'm much more intentional about being part of a sharing society, from ride shares, to household items, to talents.
Other spendy habits to break include automatically using my clothes dryer instead of hanging up items, running less than full dishwasher, throwing towels in laundry after one use (DH and DD2), only filling up tank when running low instead of cheaper gas days, and long hot showers (for my back). I'll pay attention to what else I do, just because I've always done it that way, and look at alternatives. Anyone else ditch any habits in return for savings of money or time? Is there a new way you've found to do something that works even better?