When we found out we were moving from California to Texas I was so excited. Not only were we going to be in our home state for the first time in 9 years, not only would I be 90 miles from my sister and 6 hours from our hometown... I was going to get to be a Stay At Home Mom! I was so excited. However, on the flip side of that... it also came with the fact that we would be living off of one income. Luckily, we don't have too much debt. We have a house and my student loans, and one car loan. One vehicle and one motorcycle we paid cash for.... so there wasn't the big stress of surviving so much as how it was going to affect the lifestyle we had grown accustomed too.
When we arrived in Texas in January we discussed a budget and decided we would really put it forward in February. So you see, we have only been doing it for a few months, but it is going so great. We have always saved and put into retirement.... but now we had to focus on what we really did spend. Breaking it down for you this is our Budget:
|Tithes, Retirement, College Fund||647.22|
|Husband/Wife Spending Money||140.00|
Bills for us include: Student Loans, Van Payment, Cell Phones, Internet, Car/Home Insurance
Sticking to a budget is HARD work. But what I was most concerned about was sticking to the 100.00/week for groceries. I ran a daycare in California and I spent A LOT on food. But I hardly made lists and never EVER made menus. When I would go to the grocery store, multiple times a week, I NEVER walked out with just what I went in for... and I don't think I EVER came out spending less than $50.00... so to make this adjustment was hard... or so I thought it would be.
So throughout the week I add things to my list that I might need... and on Saturday or Sunday I make our menu for the week. I try and do a variation of meats and I ALWAYS check the freezer to see what it is that I already have when making the menu. I will make a list of the meats I have and go from there. Once I have planned out what we are going to have I check to see what ingredients that we need. Because I do most things from scratch I usually have many of the items that are needed. I have gotten use to my list chart and also my grocery store and I know what aisles things are one so I can do it accordingly. This list is something I bought from Target while in California but never used.... it has been such a lifesaver for me and I will be so sad when I get through it and have to get a different one. So that is what I do each and EVERY week...
I make a MENU and then make a LIST!
Then we head off to the grocery store as a family. This for sure holds each of us accountable as well. Because my husband has been a firefighter for so long, I got use to doing the shopping when he was at work. This is the first time that we ALWAYS go together.... and it is so nice. Though he always picks things up that are not on my list (coconut water or discounted meats)... he is a frugal spender and only gets what he needs. Our shopping goes SO fast because he will get certain items, I will get certain items and boom.. we are done. The majority of our food is picked up in the fruit and vegetable aisle. Occasionally I will need a canned good, milk, eggs, or cheese... but the biggest time we spend is right there in produce.
Once we get to check out I am normally freaking saying.. we are going to go over. I always have my handy dandy white envelope with cash in it (SEE WHY I NEED A CASH ENVELOPE)... and I always use it. Last week we got even more veggies because we are juicing everyday again... and I looked at my husband and said, "There is no way we are staying under 100.00 this week" because not only did we increase that amount of produce, he had gotten a couple of extra packs of meat as well. As soon as I said that I looked up and was FLOORED that we were only at 52.00. By the time she was finished we had spent 74.13!!! We still have 25.00 for the week! What a blessing!
People say that eating healthy is SO expensive. I beg to differ. When we first moved here and did not have any of our household goods for three weeks, we went and bought frozen meals. We were SHOCKED at the amount we spent... on CRAP! We eat pretty healthy and have home cooked meals most nights... and we are able to stay under 100.00 each week. This also includes when we BBQ with friends, go to the lake, or just have a special function. It CAN be done!!
So my tips for you are:
1. Make a Menu
2. Cook from Scratch
3. Make a List
4. STICK to your List
5. Set a Grocery Budget and see how you do
6. Calculate it before you buy it (We did this during the first month)
7. Just do it!
How do you cut your grocery costs?
Granted, we are a family of 3... and 100.00 might be a lot for that.. but I make a lot and freeze it. We always have leftovers for lunch the next day... I am so curious to see what others do! Please share!
I hope this has helped someone!
See other posts from our BUDGET SERIES: