Monday, November 3, 2008

Money Crunch

So I mentioned on here before how I am a little stressed about money. Last week Nick and I sat down to rework the budget. Most of our bills had increased, and with the new IVF bill on our plate we realized this wasn't something we could just roll with and make little adjustments. We realized that over the last two months we have had to find....wait for extra four hundred dollars in our budget. Yes. Four hundred dollars. A month.

So we started cutting. First thing that had to go were the "let's eat out because I don't feel like cooking" meals. We just can't do it. We did leave a cheap meal out and a nice meal out every pay period, but that's it. The rest we need to eat at home. We still each have our spending money for lunches out if we want them, but that is up to us. We had to reduce the amount we put in savings, readjust the amounts that go into the Christmas and gift accounts, and a few other little things...but the big one, the big money saver, had to come from the grocery store.

We currently spend about $250 every time we go to the store. Then go back and spend another $50 or so over the two week period. This $600 a month needed to be cut $400. This seems like a reasonable amount for a family of two, but at the same time seems IMPOSSIBLE. Still, we were going to try. We made a menu and a list of what we actually needed. I actually clipped coupons! So yesterday we went to the store. And we were worried...worried it was not possible to honestly buy what we needed and keep it at $150. We still bought extras. Ice cream, chips, 100 calorie packs. Things that weren't on the list, but that I knew we wanted and would eat. We got cleaning things we needed and cat was a regular trip to the grocery. Just a trip with a plan. And the grand total...$149.17. I am really starting to think this might actually be possible!


  1. T and I have had a real struggle with money since he came out of work for health reasons in May and still hasn't started his new job. We started meal planning and when we are careful we manage to eat for around £250 per month and tha includes my wheat-free diet. It really is hard but a great feeling when you have that extra cash! I'm so pleased you managed to meet your target - I bet that felt good.

  2. We're also trying to save money (because I can't seem to find a fulltime job!) I'm planning meals better and using leftovers better, but I still end up throwing food away because it's spoiled. Especially when something's 2-for-1 or otherwise discounted for buying in bulk. Two people just don't eat that much!

    Good luck with your new budget!

  3. Planning meals has been a huge money saver for us. Its so much easier to cook when you know you have everything to make something. We also take only as much cash as we're budgeted to spend and I keep track on the grocery list of our running total. Its a game now to see how close I can come to the actual total. At least here, there's no tax on grocery items so I don't have to worry about figuring that. Then, we can use anything we don't spend to buy something nice, go out to eat or stick in savings.

  4. Dang, girl! Go! You just cut your bill by 40%! I think that's awesome. You can definitely keep it up & it's gonna take more conscious effort to watch what's going in the cart, planning your meals, & just being focused, but you most definitely can do it!

    My Nick & I spend about $250 a month on food. We don't buy a lot of junk food (soda, chips, whatnot), but we have our own spending money to use on eating out. If not, we'd probably have to spend more at the grocery store. And we shop WM... it's crazy how much cheaper they are than the grocery stores.

    There's also some amazing blogs out there that are like bargain gurus. Like tons of free stuff from CVS by working the extra care bucks (like toiletries, meds, etc). Let me know if you wanna check some out... I've got several saved to peruse & get motivated!

  5. It's totally possible! (Did you see my recent post on saving $107 in sales and coupons a few weeks ago? I haven't been back to the store - except for things like milk - since then!)

    Re: Cleaning supplies
    So friggin' expensive. I was buying cleaning supplies every six weeks or so until I discovered Shaklee's Get Clean Line. It's now been almost TWO YEARS since I've spent a penny on cleaning supplies (besides laundry detergent) and my bottles are still half full!

    As far as laundry detergent goes, I figured up that I used to spend about $90 a year just on laundry detergent alone. Using Shaklee, I'm down to about $40-$50 a year. How cool is that?

    So yeah - self promotion. I became a Shaklee distributor because I adore their products so much.

    The cost seems a bit high when you first look at it, but if you sit down and add up how much you actually spend on things like window cleaner, dishwasher detergent, dishsoap, all-purpose cleaner, stain removers, toilet bowl cleaners, etc., the cost really is much, much cheaper in the long run. Ultimately, the cost of the window cleaner is like a penny - or less. You use 16 oz. of your tap water and add TWO DROPS of the Basic H2 product. It cleans windows/mirrors like nothing I've ever seen before.

    And, I have yet to find something that I can't get clean with some combination of the Shaklee products. They rock so much - there's just no way to describe it.

    AND it's green, all-natural and non-toxic so no harm to use around babies, pregnant ladies, pets or thosee with allergies.

    Seriously. I may name my child after these products.

  6. Did you see the Fru-Gal post recently on She had a whole post about all the deals that restaurants offer if you sign up on their web sites, etc. I signed up with The Melting Pot and got a free chocolate fondue! I'm going to check further but it's definitly something to check out - we still want to eat out for fun!!

  7. (De-Lurking)
    I have a 5 year old son and about a year ago DH and I decided that we would each spend $50 out of each check on groceries. I thought it was IMPOSSIBLE to only spend that much. Know what? It's not!! Typically we get paid on opposite weeks, so that helps with keeping a 'fresh supply' around. I don't like WM, but they really do have the best prices. We try to avoid the 2 for 1 deals because really you are only saving a few cents and getting something you didn't need/want. We try to each buy one 'big' item with our $50 (detergent, razors for him, hair stuff for me) and make it a game to see who did better with their budget. Menu plan, buy staples (flour, pasta, bread) and definitely learn as someone else said that she does, how to make leftovers into a new meal. Chicken fettucine one day can be chicken wraps the next. I always buy the 5# ground beef and cook it all at once so it doesn't go bad as quickly and (when the baby arrives) it will save time in the long run and won't tempt you to go out because you don't feel like cooking.
    Good luck!!!

  8. It's very possible! Meal plan and stick to the list! You can do it!