Well. We crunched the numbers and realized that we were spending too much money. Thus, we decided that since Samuel has allergies, is still wearing diapers, and eats more than his older sister, and thus costs more to maintain, he would be the one to go.
Actually, we decided to have a budget and stick to it. We figured that was a more permanent solution to our predicament than getting rid of one of the kids.
Here's what we did. You have to budget for things that only happen once or twice a year, so if you are going to have to register your cars for $350 once a year, then you have to put away 1/12th of that ($30)every month, same with clothing, car maintenance, etc. So then we totaled up our monthly expenses for our tithing, mortgage, household expenses, insurance, utilities, car maintenance, entertainment, personal spending, clothing, etc, and whatever was left would be our grocery budget. Oh, yeah, and that's while paying down those credit cards and trying to put a little away in savings while we're at it!
Well folks, magic number is $290/month. Does it sound that hard to feed a family of four on $290/month? It doesn't sound that bad. But looking over our expenses for 2010 thus far, we had been spending and average of $600/month on groceries. So, does it sound so hard to cut your food budget in half? Yes! That is a major change of lifestyle for us. I guess we just like to eat.
But what are necessities? Is dishwasher soap a necessity for people of my generation? Or do we have the patience to wash dishes by hand if need be? Do you have the determination to make powdered milk and homemade bread? What do you break your budget for that you absolutely cannot live without?
I'll answer that. Dish soap, homemade bread, powdered milk I can handle. But I've already learned that diapers must be in the budget because I cannot live without those (I mean, I can't live with Samuel without those, and we've already decided to keep him.) And WiFi. I don't think I can live without that. What about you?
So here we are. Buying potatoes because they are dirt cheap, foregoing the $2.50 box of fruit snacks because that's a lot for processed sugar(!), finding ways to put zucchini in everything because they keep appearing in my backyard garden (okay, I know I planted them there, but there are just so many...), and the list goes on. I find myself keeping track of how much money I have left while I'm grocery shopping, and I'm asking myself, do I want to spent $4 on a can of french fried onions, or do I want to buy toilet paper?
To live on $290 a month, we absolutely had to make a dinner menu. I got the basic breakfast foods and lunchy type things, but planning out our dinners and getting only those ingredients made a huge difference on how much I spent at the grocery store. Plus, I am more organized each night at dinner time because I know what I'm making, and we have lots of leftovers (hence, I also planned a leftovers night!) My latest victory is that I finally mustered up the guts to price match at Walmart and probably saved $15 on 2-week's menu. Way to go me!
So, that's what's been on my mind lately. End of rant.
1 year ago