Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Family on a Budget

Like the blue??

As yet another part of this blog, I've decided to talk about my way to my budgeted world. 

I guess I shouldn't say world... more like my budgeted.... town. I'm getting there. One day we'll be a city. 

I was never fan of budgets, mainly because I'm not a fan of restrictions... but more and more lately I see the pros out-weighing the cons. I actually started a budget for my mom and step-dad, helping them plan out their bills while allowing money for saving and for fun at the same time. They seemed to like the idea and have kept at it for the past few months. So now I'm going to try making a semi one for us. 

I say "semi" because we a;ready do a sort of mental budget to make sure all of our bills and credit cards get paid on time. Our biggest issue is food. We spend a TON on food. We're slowly getting better as we move to eating less and less fast food and more home cooked meals. It's cheaper and healthier, for sure.

A few months ago, my husband and I decided to uproot (again) and move to a area and begin school. We left out jobs behind to do it. Now, as I'm approaching a surrogacy again and we've decided I won't work through this one, my husband plans to work part time and in theory we'll both continue college and everything will be amazing. 

All of that means we have to drastically cut expenses.  In out last town out of boredom, exhaustion and sometimes just plain laziness we ate out a TON. Sometimes fastfood, sometimes restaurant.  At LEAST every other day and sometimes twice a day. True story. Scary huh?

So we were spending 20-40 a day on food. It's not much in a day, but over 30 days?? So this is why I choose to budget our food, first. Slowly, everything else may come into play, but for now I want to focus on this.  I've decided there are two main things I need to do to help things a lot. 

  1. Meal Plans.I need to plan AT LEAST two weeks worth of meals ahead of time, and make a list.
  2. One Shopping Trip. One of the other problems, was spending so much gas going shopping. I never planned ahead, so when we did cook, we went out a few hours before meal time and bought whatever food we needed for that meal, and any other odds and ends the house needed at the time. We drive a truck, and driving even 10 minutes to town and back every day to get a back of groceries is taxing on the gas, or driving to a restaurant 1-2 time a day.  
I know there are other steps-- coupons, buying in bulk, etc... but I'm starting out slowly and trying to figure out what works for us best. 

Today I gathered up recipes enough to make 13 days (we'll be gone one day this week) worth of food.  I tried to pick recipes that looked good, were healthy, but also didn't have very expensive ingredients. They are all from a family cookbook and all of my husbands family cook amazing so I'm not worried!  Then, my two year old and I went shopping.

We spent $101.00. With out limited funds, it looked a little daunting at first (it's easier to see lots of 10-15.00 dollar receipts) but when I stepped back, we did pretty good.  I made my first shopping list, which seems a little rediculous, but I have always just shopped to what I knew I needed or what looked good. I got everything on the list and a few more things but resisted all the impulses buying that said "hmmm... try that out."

I DID forget a few items. Like Bread. How do you forget bread? I did. So I'll send hubby on a quick walk to the grocery store and have him pick some up tomorrow. I purposefully left off a few things that I typically buy. Cookies... soda... a pie... I LOVE dessert.  Although I'll admit to caving anf buying some cinnamon rolls (the kind you bake at home) for a little over three dollars.  Plus there were some "one time buys" that I won't have to buy for another few months that I had to buy now. Hopefully lowering my receipt on future excursions. 

I failed completely and lost my receipt some how, so this won't be a complete list, but to give you an idea of what we bought--

Noodles, Rice, 5 lbs of beef, 2 pkgs of hotdogs (I know... I know..), package of chicken breasts (like 2ish lbs),  pork ribs (pkg of 6), shredded cheese (actually cheaper than buying it and shedding myself today), evaporated milk, fritos and potato chips (for two casserole dishes I'm trying), Celery, onions, green chilies, cereal, milk, butter, white vinegar, spices, apple cider vinegar, cornstarch, mayo, sour cream, 5 cans of various "cream of" coups, tortillas, canned pineapple chunks (because I SO don't know what to do with an actual pineapple), and some biscuit tins. 

Between this and the two meals I had stuff for at home, we're set. 

On the Menu: (There's a lot of Casseroles, but they are so CHEAP)
  1. Roast Beef Casserole
  2. Skillet Tin Foil Dinner
  3. Macaroni and Cheese Casserole (x2)
  4. Mexican Casserole
  5. Green Chili Casserole (X2)
  6. Biscuits and Hamburger Gravy (breakfast for dinner) (x2)
  7. Stroganoff
  8. Hawaiian Hotdogs
  9. BBQ Spare Ribs
  10. Chicken Casserole
Counting this and what I bought the other day (enough for three meals, one of which we ate last night). We spent about $10.00 a dinner. I would like to work on getting it lower, but it's so awesome to have got it that low with just some planning! We're only 2 adults and a two year old, so the left overs will work perfectly for lunches and save us money there as well!


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