If you want something badly enough, you can usually find a way

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post on surviving on a $30 per week grocery budget. Many of you found the post helpful and inspiring. But a handful of people really disliked the post.

In the blogging world, that’s totally to be expected. You can’t please and inspire everyone all the time and I’ve learned and grown a lot as a person and a writer from the constructive criticism I’ve received as a blogger.

However, what I found interesting was that most of the people who didn’t like the post got hung up on the fact that I was suggesting you eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day for a week.

The grocery list and menu I shared was meant to serve as an example that you can eat on $30 per week and still set aside a little extra toward your stockpile so that, within a few weeks, you can have more wiggle room and variety in your diet. I wanted to show that it can be done — if you’re willing to get creative and you’re willing to make short-term sacrifices.

Truthfully, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches Are Not All That Bad

While eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for a week might sound outrageous to some, it’s actually not all that bad. In fact, one of the many little things we did to stay out of debt while my husband was in law school was to eat lots and lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

We didn’t eat peanut butter and jelly every single day of the year, but choosing to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a very regular basis over Subway or Sonic — or even turkey and cheese sandwiches — was a simple thing we could do to help inch us in the direction we were aiming for.

How Motivated Are You to Get Where You Want to Be?

Where do you want to be financially in a year from now? What about five years from now? What simple short-term sacrifices can you make to help you get there?

If eating peanut butter and jelly every other day isn’t your thing, consider what short-term sacrifices might work for your family. When Jessica and her family were working really hard to get out of debt, they set their thermostat up a number of degrees in the summer in order to save money. Jessica was pregnant at the time and I’m not quite sure how she managed, but their family was highly motivated so they made a lot of sacrifices — including sweating out a hot Kansas summer — so that they could get out of debt much more quickly.

When There’s a Will, There’s Usually a Way

If you want to get out of debt, stay out debt, save more, or give more, it’s likely going to mean making some sacrifices — especially in the short-term. You can’t change your financial situation unless you also change the way you’re doing something.

But you have to be willing to change, willing to cut back, willing to give things up, willing to eat less than gourmet meals, or willing to not have the latest and greatest gadget or gizmo. How willing you are to make changes is directly dependent upon how motivated you are to get where you want to go.

If you want something badly enough, you can usually find a way. It won’t always be easy, fun, or glamorous to make short-term sacrifices, but it will be every bit worth it.

What simple, short-term sacrifices is your family making to get where you want to be financially? I’d love to hear!

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  1. Victoria says

    We discovered we could save a whopping $70/mo by cutting cable. It’s a bigger sacrifice for my husband than for me, but it’s amazing how much more fun it is to watch movies together or go for a walk instead of parking ourselves in front of the television to watch another show. The shows we’re really attached to we buy off iTunes and still end up saving around $50/mo.

  2. hope64 says

    When saving for our new home, if we couldn’t eat it or wear it, that item went OFF the budget. We gave up the internet for two years (YES! You can do it if you really want to. The library has it for free.) We hung laundry, cut our grocery budget to $350 a month (family of 6), I made every meal from scratch, mowed our lawn with an old-fashioned push-reel mower, went to no garage sales (If I didn’t see extra items, I would not feel the need to buy them). My husband rode his bike to work whenever possible. We had an eating out budget of $10 a month. So, we only went out every other month(and then used free children’s menu items to eat for about $20.). We gave up our newspaper subscription and have never had cable TV in 24 years of marriage. The result…. we saved 35 percent of my husband’s income. WELL worth the sacrifices!

  3. K* says

    I come here not because I am committed to a frugal lifestyle, but because I like the perspectives and reading this blog because Crystal is so positive and excited about her lifestyle. I love that someone could buy a house outright, for example. I also love that she permits herself some joy in life, too – my first fear about embracing a more limited lifestyle was that I would no longer feel comfortable buying a diet coke or going out to dinner.

    A lot of the tips here wouldn’t necessarily work for me (reusable rags, for example – I live in a small apartment and wouldn’t be able to wash them before they started to stink because I have to go to a laundromat and with my law school schedule, I don’t have the time!), but I use them as a jumping off point for a way to save money in my own life. Freezer cooking is a lifesaver for me!

  4. Lois says

    I had to laugh about the pb&j. When my husband was alive, he made his own lunch and every day, except payday, he’d make a bologna sandwich and a pb&j sandwich! I always figured that was his “dessert”. LOL! Oh, on paydays, he’d send me to McDonalds for his lunch. As hard as he worked, I’d have gone to McD’s for him every day but that’s all he ever wanted.

  5. Jill says

    I don’t care for peanut butter ( I know, I’m weird!). I used to work for a plastic surgeon who ate PBJ everyday for lunch. I was her nurse and I ate ramen noodles or brought a salad from home. There are choices to be made for goals you wish to accomplish. Ideas posted on this blog are things to consider .what will work for one might not be possible for another. Crystal is very realistic. In fact when I asked her about cloth diapering my twins (my first children) she advised me to get used to being a mom first and the rest of the routine that comes w that. I think some folks just need to take a deep breath, read the info glean what you can from it and move on :)

  6. Brittany says

    I liked your post and think you are right on. My husband and I ( I am pregnant by the way and eat more :-) Survive on $14o a month for groceries no matter how many weeks are in the month. It can be done and we eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies as well. Now its not easy and we don’t eat much meat but its worth it to make it financially. I love your post and appreciate your encouragement!