Saturday, November 28, 2009

Monthly Grocery Totals

So, for November I budgeted $790 for food, which included eating out. Now, this is a pretty high number for us (feeding all 7), and we eat out a maximum of about 3 times a month. I hadn't used an all-cash system to pay for groceries before, and if I didn't have enough money I didn't want any one eating Otter Pops and broccoli for dinner those last couple of days!

My thinking was, I'll get out $500 and see if I can do it just on that alone. I can honestly say not only did I do it, I even came in under that! Mike and I were shocked! I've been treating my 2nd job (or is that 3rd or 4th?) as a coupon queen. I literally spent a few hours figuring out the best combinations to use. Before we started this I seriously considered getting a job in the evenings, which I've done before, but as I looked there wasn't a lot out there that fit the criteria I needed. If we were in dire straits, I would certainly get creative and make something work, but that's not where we're at.

Ok, so the grand total for groceries alone IS: $418!!! So, so happy with that number, but I'm aiming for one month in 2010 to be at $200. I think it may be possible, seeing what I've done with this month which included a birthday for one of my kids.

I added up my receipt savings and the grand totals are:

Store savings: $133.50 Manufacturer Coupons Used: $45

My best receipt this month (above) was $1.91 for two pies, two Breyers Ice Creams, and four jars of spaghetti sauce.

I'm going to keep a running total of my grocery savings for 2010. Forget New Year's Resolutions! I started changing on 10/31!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Exactly Is It We're Doing?

I thought I'd outline the plan that we've chosen to implement. Many others before us have used it successfully. Of course, like many things in life, it only works if you do it. If you're not familiar with Dave Ramsey, he's a financial talk radio host, author, TV host, businessman and motivator.

There's two reasons we chose his plan. First, it's faith-based. Ultimately, your goal is to be able to use your money to give freely (to charities, church, etc.) because you've taken care of everything else and now you have that money freed up to give. Secondly, he's not touting anything that he hasn't done himself. In a nutshell, he was a millionaire at a young age, went bankrupt, then, starting from nothing, became a millionaire again. Obviously, I'm not interested in becoming a mega-millionaire, but as I've heard before, "don't take advice about money from broke people".

These are the 7 baby steps, you can view them here.

This may sound crazy to a lot of you, but the first step is going to be difficult for us! Our goal for that $1000 is by 12/31. We're giving ourselves two months to do that. It's all about momentum and getting things rolling quickly so you have those successes to build on and keep you motivated. Yep, November and December are probably the two most challenging months to start this, but we felt now was the time.

Soon, I'll be posting our amounts that we're going to be attacking-talk about humbling!

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's the Small Things

Wooo-Hoo! It's really about the small things! I just realized I had mailed some gold jewelery off about two weeks ago to trade in for cash for our emergency fund (I know, talk about selling out!), and got a sick feeling in my gut because I hadn't heard a THING from the company. This place had checked out as reputable (Gold Stash for Cash)when I researched them, so I was feeling good about mailing my stuff. I was about to call them when I thought I'd check my checking account for the auto deposit, and there it was, and it was pretty good considering what I sent in: $95. That was $95 just laying around doing nothing, and now it's in my savings working for me! It's the small things...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Get Set

I thought I'd share the little clutch I made one afternoon to hold our envelopes for our cash only system. Not my best sewing job, but it serves the purpose and it's made out of my favorite Amy Butler (fabric) line.

So at the beginning of the month we set the budget, stuffed the envelopes, and we're set. We fully expect for this first month to be a trial budget-do any of us have a perfect month? I expect that we'll tweak it for a couple more months. What I'm loving is it's a)an old fashioned tried and true method, and b)when the money's gone, its gone, so spend wisely.

We're also working on the baby emergency fund (not the fully funded one of 3-6 months of income). That goal is $1000. I've been listing on Craigslist and just pulled in $70 by going through the garage and getting arid of (sigh) baby items. Some of the baby stuff is hard to sell since that really marks the end of Philly babies. I've still got a few things to sell on CL, so it should get us there combined with some savings by our goal of 12/31 or sooner.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Runners To Their Marks

So here we are in Nov. 2009 and just a few short days before the start of the month I had decided I'd HAD IT! On 10/31 I cut up the credit cards in my wallet and secretly wanted to freak out on a grand scale while at the same time feeling a complete sense of relief.

I had decided that I was done using credit and paying and paying for things that I'd already bought months before. I'd always known that debt was something that I wanted to avoid, but it wasn't urgent. Until now. I sat down and really looked at all that we owed-even things that we thought were "good" debt. Is there really a good debt? Medical emergency debt and mortgage aside, I'm changing the way I think and tend to feel that there isn't.

I had read Dave Ramsey's My Total Money Makeover a couple of years ago and agreed with all the principles but wasn't ready to be really honest and focus. I'm ready now.

Its my hope that you will feel free to join us if you have debt, but also encourage us and help keep us accountable.

So this is the race that we will run as a family and change our family tree...

I will be posting weekly, so here it goes, and you're welcome to join in as we embark!