11.06.2008

Penny pinching

I've never been good with cutting back on expenses. I can save it fine. But following a budget practically kills me. There are two things that are my most major downfalls. My kids and the grocery store. I'm the queen of going to a store with 10 items on my list and coming home with 43 items OR MORE. I also have trouble grabbing something for my boys and justifying it because it's for the kids. A few months back I made a big effort and started making weekly menus. It helped a ton. Seriously it cut my groceries back so much but mostly it cut back on waste. I used to be bad at letting veggies go bad or having too much meat or buying 400000 bottles of creamer and then letting it go bad.

I began making menus. They featured 7 days worth of dinner. However they didn't account for other meals, breakfast, my lunches, Brandon's meals etc. So the list I would go there with would be exactly what I needed for husbands dinners and lunches. I would end up getting there and think, oh well I need bread, and I need crackers for me. Brandon needs......and before you knew it POOF $200.00 vanished to the grocery fairy.

Lately things have gotten kind of tight financially. I am still not ready to talk about it all but I will tell you that last week while browsing around online I came across the envelope system. It was the strangest moment in my life. It was as if clarity had come right down and hit me on the head. This system was totally doable and it involved my favorite things MAKING LISTS AND SORTING THINGS! I immediately set to work reading about it and learning about it. My awesome computer guy also got me this book which I've been slowly reading when I don't have kids trying to eat the pages. I thought and thought and thought about and decided that I can do this.

This week is my first week on the envelope system. I started a whole entire new checking account on my Quicken. I created a budget and suddenly everything is falling into place. I saw where we were going wrong, I saw how quickly a couple weekend meals out could add up to $100.00 and I realized that haphazardly throwing things in the shopping cart was killing me.

I created a new menu this week that includes everyone's lunches dinners and even breakfasts. I based the menu on things I had at home. I have beef, pork sausage, onions, garlic, rice, cheddar cheese and so on. From that I know I can make stuffed bell peppers, breakfast burritos, and meat loaf. Then I looked at my condiments and sides and realized I can create a full week of meals with only minimal purchases. I'm going to try and start using everything I have and create based on that.

I'm also terrified. I've never walked into a store with nothing but cash and a store savings card. I've always known that if I wanted to throw extra specials in the cart it was fine because my debit card would fix it.

Anyway because of this I will be starting a new weekly feature on the Tasty Temptations blog that is dedicated to meals on a budget. Shopping lists, meals under 10.00 and how to find the best prices and create meals around them.

I can't wait to see what this envelope system does for my husband and I AND our checking account. I can't wait to watch my savings grow! Email me if oyu have any great low budget meals, or any awesome money saving tips for the grocery store. I will link you and feature your tips!

15 comments:

Moxymama said...

So, I read Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey and did all the debt, income, budget worksheets, and set our own budget. We started using the envelop system in January and it is totally doable. It really makes you think about what you are going to spend and if you really NEED is versus if you just WANT it. I'm the same way with going into Target and leaving with 147 items instead of the 3 I went in for. This has held me accountable. Plus when the money in the envelopes is gone, it's gone. It also made me realize where all our money was going, 10 bukcs here, 20 there...it adds up. So, I say good for you. You will have to let me know how you like it. It's a little strange at first but I really like it. Good luck!

lucinda! said...

omg, i took the dave ramsey classes almost 2 years ago and they helped out SO MUCH! if you actually take the class it is a major help too. a friend of mine is taking the classes now and she loves them. also, super cheap meal, is s.o.s. its brown gravy, hamburger meat over rice. super cheap and way easy. as for if its good for you, well not so much.

Not So Perfect said...

We struggle in this area too. I am going to follow your links to the envelope system, can't wait to read your new addition to your blog for ideas.

Mrs. F said...

We spend WAYYYYY too much money on food every month. I should look into this ENVELOPE thing.

Steph said...

haha I'm lucinda's friend that is taking the classes and loving them:) you should check out financial peace too! and I'll email you the budgeting forms, they've been a big help!

Christina said...

I just emailed you my tips the ones prior to my preggo brain taking over.

Mandy said...

I'm intrigued and so excited to see how you do & what tasty meals you come out with!!! We're in the middle of a money pickle too.

LauraMae said...

Can't wait to hear more! Thanks for sharing =)

Mrs. J said...

We are on a tight budget right now and we try to be as frugal as possible. I haven't done as much menu planning as I should but we really reduced our grocery bills. We use couponing, setting a budget of $30/wk, comparing prices and buying only the best deals, no eating out and learning to say NO to ourselves everytime we're in the grocery store bombarded with so many temptations! Our pantry hasn't been so full since we did this compared to our $200 grocery trips before and we have MORE food now!

I know this is to each his/her own depending on how much time and energy you have but it is possible to save a lot of money on food! I might look into envelope system too. My husband is the one who easily can't say no so I will have to train him more LOL.

You can check out $5 dinner mom too! http://www.5dollardinners.com/

Jiff said...

Your post was a blessing for me. Seriously. I have the SAME problem and we're always out of money well before payday and no food left in the house.

I have done a couple things to make it better for myself: store gift cards. I load money on it and leave the debit card with hubby at home. I have been known to cook a few meals in bulk and store them in the fridge or freezer and just heat them up later. The most common is my friend Courtney's chicken spaghetti.

A recipe that's simple and easy... not gourmet or fancy like what you and Cristina do, but:
cut up and coat ckn breasts in flour. Brown and then add the shells only from Kraft Shells & Cheese with two cans of Rotel. Don't use water, the Rotel is what you use instead. When the pasta is cooked and tender, add in the cheese sauce and it's done. A little spicy for me, so sometimes I use one can of Rotel and one can of water. But whatever. Z and Joe love it.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I just recently ended up in that same position where we're finally being forced to cut back on the excessive grocery spending, and focus on not wasting food... what a bummer! But in the Cooking Light magazine, they just featured a whole series about "cooking once and eating twice." I love this! I just made spaghetti the other night, and then re-used the left-over sauce for lasagna. Or making a tri-tip one night, then re-using the leftovers on top of a salad the next night. It's worked really well for us, and I've definitely seen some savings already since we're not throwing all that extra food away! Good luck... can't wait to hear all the other ideas!

Patty said...

WOW! I love this new idea. Funny enough I was going to plan my menu for this short week since I am traveling Wed-Sun and make a menu plan to not waste anything.

Good Luck! I am all on board for saving!

CeCe said...

Local churches in our area are doing whole series of classes off of the teachings of this book. I recently talked to a friend who was amazed that with the same amount of money as they had before they were now able to pay bills, have a bit of fun money, and work toward paying off debt and saving for retirement, when before she felt like they were barely scraping by. I can't wait to get the book!

I think the hardest part about budgeting is staying committed. I'm like you, a sucker for those deals at the grocery store, and anything that has to do with my son. :)

angie said...

I followed the link and read his thing. I can totally relate to the spending cash hurts more than swiping plastic. I know that when I have cash in my wallet it could easily sit there for months because I don't want to spend it, but I would easily spend the exact same amount of money on my debit card. It's an interesting concept and one I should try to follow more because I know if I had the cash in my pocket I would be less willing to spend it on a drink here or there. Sounds very backwards doesn't it!

Can't wait to see how it goes for you!

Dyan said...

This would be something great to post on Tuesday blog..... inspirational... I think we all do this!!!!!

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