Would you believe that in 16 years of marriage we have never really used a budget? Atleast not a serious one. Basically it has been a system of looking at the calendar see what is going to be payed this paycheck, make sure that is covered and the rest of the money is basically up for grabs. I have never budgeted for gas for the car (or maintenance and repairs), groceries (I did TRY in May), clothing, entertainment, or anything else for that matter. We just spent, hoped for the best and deducted it. I have thought about it time and time again about doing a program like Dave Ramsey. Have you heard of him?
I bought one of his books a while back, read through it and thought it was fantastic how these people turned there finances around. I just kept thinking to myself.....How would we ever be able to do it. Lately, my question isn't how are we...its WHY AREN'T WE!!! I truly do believe that we make a good amount of money a month, yet I feel we have very little to show for it. Dave talks about how 70% of American's live paycheck to paycheck. I had to take a good look at our situation and I know we are in that group. One missing paycheck, one major expense, on curve ball thrown by life and financially we would be in hot water (to put it nicely).
I realize I spend WAY too much on groceries. I think one time I had added up all the receipts and found in one month we spent $1000 PLUS going out to eat (not even good restaurants. Alot of pizza and fast food). Back in May I tried to do a budget of $800. That month was a bust. I have a bad habit of over buying (stems back to my childhood and going without food at times). We also had an unexpected Memorial Day cookout that I had to buy for too. This past month though all that money for groceries just wasn't there. And you know what----the month went great.
So because of this I have a new game plan for groceries:
I was suppose to go grocery shopping twice a month. What I was finding though is we were still stopping at the store 2-4 times in between to pick up stuff we either ran out of or I forgot. Extra stops means we would pick up stuff we didn't need too.
I will be doing groceries in a 4 weeks cycle starting with this Friday, June 27th. The first weekend of the cycle will be my big monthly shopping. This is when I plan on getting all cleaning products, hygiene, bathroom, diapers and wipes. This is also when I will buy my meat for the month and do my warehouse shopping trip. My budget for this trip will be $400. Then for the next 3 weeks the planned budget will be $100. This will bring my total for the month to $700. Before I make my menu for the week I go through the fridge, freezer and cabinets to see what is left. I have been trying to make my menu according to some of the food I already have on hand. This is how I did this past month and it worked out fabulous!!! I couldn't believe that I actually spent that little for groceries. Also, we passed on the fast food. I did have 2 days planned into the menu this past month for pizza and that is the only time we got it.
We ate well this month too. The kids still had their snack food (yogurt, pudding, fruits, crackers and cheese and a pack of cookies)--just not as much. I also......are you ready for this.....COOKED!!!!! Yes, I did about 1/2 the cooking during this time (thanks to the inspiration of the 3 Mom's series I followed). And not only did I cook, I cooked some things from scratch!!! On father's day I made oatmeal butterscotch cookies for Chris. You know what he said. I was in the other room with Emily and he said to the kids "I like mom's new hobby." I yelled to him "what hobby would that be?" He said "COOKING!!" We all had a good laugh. Finding new recipes has now become a mission. When I think of something to cook I look it up on the internet to see if I can find a "scratch" recipe for it.