Friday we started our new budgeting system. We have definitely had some bumps in the road already (should I really be surprised). We have had 2 unexpected costly expenses come up that I had to rework everything around. But instead of getting discouraged I am Thanking God that the money was there to take care of it. It didn't leave much left but we will get by.
I did use the envelope system for groceries. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! I usually just swipe my debit card wherever I would go and then later add up how much I spent. This time, on my way to go shopping I stopped at the ATM and got $400. This week's shopping consisted of 4 different places: Wal-mart, warehouse store, grocery store and a local vegetable stand. Now before you think I am crazy for driving to all these different places let me explain. Wal-mart is the furtherest out from my house at about 3 miles. Between my house and Wal-Mart there is a Target, warehouse store, 2 grocery store, a mall, 5 multi-store plazas, CVS and Wal-greens. I can usually find what ever I need within this strip of road. After I make out my master grocery list I have been putting on individual index cards what I am getting at each store. If I stay focused then I can be in and out of store.
So this shopping trip I budgeted $400. It was to cover 10 days of groceries PLUS I buy things I know I am going to need throughout the month (like tp, diapers and soap). I was very proud of myself.....I came in under budget at $363.31!!! I still have $36.69 left if anything should come up during the week (like another gallon of milk or a missing ingredient from a recipe).
We are trying to save money all around with our budget. Here are some things we are or have been doing:
~Chris is no longer getting his breakfast daily from Dunkin' Donuts. I was always reluctant to mention to him about cutting this expense out. I figured he was a hard working man and if this was his only vice than so be it. After this last month and how tight things were he saw first hand. DD was costing us approximately $125 a month......THAT'S ALOT OF COFFEE!!! That is money that can be put towards debt. Instead, I bought a can of coffee for $4.50 at Wal-mart for his days off and At work there is coffee made. He does belong to a coffee pool at work (he set it up about a year ago). He along with 7 other guys take turn buying the coffee on Sundays and Mondays. His turn comes once every 4 weeks and this costs him $20. The good part is he is still getting his DD 2 days a week. Final cost of coffee for the month is about $24.50 saving us $100.50.
~I don't buy kool-aid or sugary juice drinks for the kids. I buy juices that are 100% juice. This can get expensive. Wal-mart does have the best price for Juicy-juice at $2.28. I use to get the kids about 5 of these for the week. Now though I have switched to Wal-mart 100% apple juice instead. I get a container that is double the size of JJ but not double the price. The apple juice is only $2.50. I make it through maybe 2 a week. 5 JJ at $2.28 comes to $11.40. 2 apple juice comes to $5.00. Saving me $6.40
~Cooking from scratch is saving me a bundle. My last example is french toast. I priced frozen french toast at the grocery store. It was $2.69 for 6 slices. Yesterday I made a whole loaf of french toast. I used 5 eggs which cost me about $0.70. I got a loaf of whole wheat bread on sale for $1.50. Total cost of MY french toast--18 slices for 2.20 saving $5.87