So, if you recall, I took it upon myself to do some major overhaul in the one area of our budget I could see cutting down: the grocery and household fund. We were averaging $650 to $700 a month (even though our budget for our family of five was $600) and I decided to see if I could challenge myself to cut that down to a mere (ha!) $500 a month. It sounded totally crazy but I was super excited to see if I could do it.
I am VERY happy to report....that I did it!!! I decided to try to spend $100 max per week on groceries and $100 total for the month on household supplies (toilet paper, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) Not only was I able to stay within budget for the first time in a REALLY long time but I even (ready for this??) went under budget by $48.23. Yee-haw!
Seriously, it felt so good to do this and to take a goal that felt impossible and possible all at the same time, and a little crazy, and actually accomplish it! And for the record, this is my own personal goal and has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone else's budgets (or non-budgets!), life-style choices or what not! No bragging here, honestly.
I spent just under $100 every week and said a prayer before I went to the store each time:) I probably won't share actual amounts with you each month, just a brief recap of if I did/did not meet budget but this month I will!
Week #1 came to $99.31. I said "under" $100 so this counts!! I realized that first week how much I impulse bought even though I would've sworn I had that under control! I forced myself to add up on the receipt everything that I bought outside of my grocery list and it added up to $19.31! Talk about an eye opener!
Week #2 I was much more controlled and kept my eyes averted past the goody treat aisles and spent $89.17!! I started doing lots of preparation and freezer meals at home to save time and money on future grocery bills and started seeing it paying off pretty quickly!
Week #3 was my best yet with $61.91!!
Week #4 was a total of $99.05. I spent $102.33 on the household fund for April so I took money that I saved on groceries to cover that and used a little bit to cover part of a tip for our haircuts last week, leaving us with over $33 to save!
We decided that in the event we have leftover money and go under budget, we will first use some to cover any areas where we went over (if we did) and then put the rest in some special savings funds we have going on. We have three things we are saving for currently (in no particular order!): a kitty, a few new items of furniture and a weekend away for the two of us! Slow and steady wins the race or something like that;)
The really great news was that watching the grocery budget so carefully caused Ben to really get on board with me and help keep me accountable (and him, too!) and we carefully scrutinized each penny we spent and made sure that everything bought was covered under one of our budget categories. That is something that we haven't been so good at recently! It's really easy to think 'Oh yeah, we have this budget and we are sticking fairly close to it" and really you're not. I find that a cash budget is helping me tremendously. I have a miniature accordion file that is labeled with each of my monthly categories (non-bills) that I use cash for like groceries, household, medicine, eating out, etc. I am keeping track of the meals I've made all month, to see what good, cheap meals are for my future rotations. A really great cookbook I got from the library that I have found several good recipes from is called, "Cheap. Fast. Good!" This book will go on my personal amazon wish list for sure. Anyone else do that?
All in all, we saved over $250 this month!! I have struggled for so long with feeling such guilt over "failing" in this area, especially with our debt burden hanging over our heads but I feel good about my hard work this month, even if it was pretty exhausting sometimes!
I am a little nervous about the months that have closer to 5 weeks in them and hope that I can figure out a way to balance everything out and stick to this! Not bad for the first month!
Also, I would just like to ask for you prayers, once again. We have been heavily burdened with the weight of some huge decisions that we have to make fairly quickly about our future. We really need some peace and guidance. We would greatly appreciate any and all prayers during this time. Thank you!