Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ten dollars a week for cereal? Really?

I have a problem.  It's actually not a problem but a way of life for me, unfortunately.  I have to eat Gluten-free.  I don't have celiac disease, thank God, but I definitely have developed an intolerance over the years.  I was never formally diagnosed, and I don't think the doctors in my town even have a way of figuring it out.  But through trial and error, I've eliminated gluten from my diet and my troubles were gone.  I'll have some future posts about my journey - that's another story for another time.

I've been thinking alot about retirement lately.  I'm not sure if it's because I'm turning 40 in 2 months or just a sense of reality, but it seems to dominate my thoughts.  And while I've never sat down and did the exact calculation, I'm guessing about $3 million is needed in my retirement account by the time I hit 70.  I am also assuming that I will live close to 100 - my family gene pool is telling me so - along with the life line on my right hand!

I feel I have some adequate savings - not alot by any stretch of the imagination - but it's a start.  I was fortunate to have some decent positions in my career that allowed me to start retirement accounts.  Now that they are all rolled into one, I definitely need more.  And, I work for someone who doesn't offer an account - frankly because she doesn't really believe in them.  Her retirement income will come from selling her business.

So where does the $10 per week for cereal come in?  It's a two-fold answer.  One is I need more fiber in my diet - enough said there.  The second is my food budget.  I allow $200 per week for DH and I to eat on (along with our 2 kitties).  I looked at how I was spending that allotment and realized the 2 cereals I mix together cost $10. Granted that's 5% of my budget, but it just seems ridiculous to me.  One cereal is $4.50 per bag and the other is $5.68, and that is Wal-Mart prices.  I can't find them any cheaper than that!  On the contrary, I can spend about $3 for a 42 ounce (2lb. 10 oz) container of Quaker Oats and it'll last me longer than a week and I get more fiber. Plus, I can shave a little off of our food budget and allot it over to the retirement budget.

I know it seems like such a tiny step, but it's all those tiny steps that will add up to retirement dollars later in life.  I think it's when you start looking at all those little things in life that you start to realize where your money is going.  Being gluten-free isn't easy and it certainly isn't cheap!

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