August 2, 2014

July Break Down || Grocery Budget & Menus

In this post ~ See how my budget works and maybe get ideas on ways to save money or new things to try. I get real on debt and living a life edited. 

July's Fruit Bowl

I wanted to start giving you guys a monthly breakdown, maybe it would be helpful to see the whole month laid out in one post. There are links under the pictures for that week if you'd like recipes. 

Creating a budget can feel overwhelming, but once you've done it and can stick with it, it just becomes second nature. You also will feel less stressed about money when you live within the limits that you've set for your family. There is a freedom that comes with being financially responsible. Remember you control your money, don't let your money control you. 

Side Note on Debt: Priority #1 is get out of consumer debt - if you have car payments, credit card payments, student loans, past library dues, someone stalking you for money you owe them figure out how to pay it. Make a plan to pay this all off in your budget, it is worth the sacrifice of your food budget (as long as you're eating something) to be out of debt. See my ending comments where I really spill my heart about this. 

Our monthly food budget is $300 + $20 (cash) each week for Date Night, we are a family of two. Remember I plan my whole month at a time and shop the beginning of the month for all staples and non-pershibles. So that makes the weeks following the first week mini trips, usually under $20 and under 20 minutes. 


Week One

Weekly Menu || No. 13

  • Costco $59
  • Walmart $36.96
  • Aldi's $46
  • Pete's Fruit Market $16.94
Total: $158.90 ($300 monthly budget)
Balance for the month: $141.10

Week Two

Weekly Menu || No. 14

  • Walmart $3.86 (milk, broccoli)
  • Farmers Market $8.75 (broccoli, carrots, and a huge sunflower)
  • Summerfest over the weekend (see below date night) $3.00
  • Savory Spice Shop, online order of spices, I had a gift card from Christmas, I was waiting until I ran out of a few things before I ordered. My total plus shipping and minus the gift card was $9.00

Total: $24.61 (subtracted from $141.10 week one remaining monthly budget)
Remaining monthly grocery budget: $116.49

Week Three

Weekly Menu || No. 15

  • PicknSave $28 (I always check the sale papers and coupons before picking which store I'll use for my weekly trips, this week PicknSave won, they had a few great coupons for items on my staple list. This is another awesome thing about having a staple list, you can buy items you use when they are on sale before you're out. I can't remember the last time I paid full price for name brand cereal.)
  • Penzey's $ 13.50 ~ Vanilla, I had a coupon for a free cumin so I checked my vanilla and it's low so I picked that up while I was there.

Total: $41.50 (subtracted from $116.49 week two remaining monthly budget)
Remaining monthly grocery budget: $74.99

Week Four

Weekly Menu || No. 16

  • Aldi's $21.28

(subtracted from $74.99 week three remaining monthly budget)
Remaining monthly grocery budget: $53.71

Total for July: $246.29
Budget: $300.00
Balance: $53.71 (for June, July, and August I'm trying to be under budget because we have some yard /house projects we'd like to do so I have $53.71 to put toward that this month!)

$53.71 - We bought some flowers, lawn fertilizer, I got some Spinach and Lettuce seeds to plant in the garden, and garden stakes for my tomatoes.


Date Nights

Our date night budget is $20 a week CASH, whatever money is leftover we spend on the weekend, it's very freeing knowing you can spend all of it or a small part of it. It also makes you double think places you eat at, is it worth the whole $20??? I'm only keeping details of this for the purpose of the post, we use cash so I don't need to do this we just look to see how much cash we have left.
  • Week One ~ Fourth of July, we planned to go to Summerfest (it's a huge music festival in Milwaukee) on Sunday so we saved the $20 for that. Summerfest (Corn $4, Saz's sampler $7, bottle water $4, Soda $4, lemonade $4 = $23, $3 over, I'll subtract that from our grocery money. Free entry day and free parking!)
  • Week Two ~ $20 budget, Culver's with one of our favorite coupons. Buy one get one burger, add one family fry; total $9.33 = $10.67 left over for weekend fun! (We kicked it on Saturday morning and checked out our local Farmers Market for the first time, we spent $2 coffee for the man, $3.66 Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate for me, and $5 for a fresh loaf of focaccia bread = $10.66, with a penny to spare, fresh!)
  • Week Three ~ $20 budget, Domino's order online and get ½ off! Sweet! One large Fiery Hawaiian $8.59 and the honey picked up some potato salad from PicknSave next door while our pizza was cooking $2.25, total $10.84 = $9.16 leftover for the weekend! (We went for a nice Saturday drive $3.66 Starbucks for me, gas station soda and two roller bites to share $3.00, Sunday coffee for the man $2.00; total $8.66, 50 cents left over.)
  • Week Four ~ $20 budget, saved for Saturday. We had a $40 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card, so we enjoyed a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants with that! (Saturday we went to Madison for a friend's daughter's 4th birthday. Madison has a huge Farmers Market, we spent our $20 there on lunch and veggies.)


Realness on debt and budgets ~ All of this may seem like a lot of work, but really it's less work than worrying about money. We have a set budget for the things we want or need and as long as we stay within that budget we don't have to worry about anything. We've made a choice to live a simpler life within a budget, to have the things that are important to us. Because we live simply I'm able to have a part time job instead of a full time job, which my husband loves. Because we lived simply we were able to get out of a $30,000 credit card debt in 3 years (2006-2009). We have made a commitment to stay consumer debt free since then and all of this is because of financial choices we've made together. 

I say consumer debt because we do have a house payment. But even that we were in control of. You know how you get pre-approved for a home loan, when we went in to get approved we told them how much we wanted to be approved for. We didn't have them tell us how much they could approve us for, we are in control of our money. We figured out a budget that worked for us and knew how much we could afford and then multiplied that by 30 years. Our mortgage and taxes are $831 a month, this is only $31 dollars more then we paid in rent in Colorado, super cool right! We also budget to pay an extra $50 a month toward our principal, by doing this, we will pay off our house 3 years early 27 years instead of 30! 

You might think wow, I wish I could only work part time too! I wish I could get out of debt! If you really looked at your finances I bet you could if you cut back on stuff you really don't need. (Gym, coffee shops, out to eat, tanning salon, fancy hair places, nail salons, movies, long work commutes, unneeded expensive cars, drinking, fancy grocery stores, too much Target shopping, unnecessary kid toys, expensive kid outings the list is endless of things we could cut if we wanted to. I have nothing against these things, you can do whatever you want with your money, but if you really take a good look at your budget, you'll most likely see things you could cut out if you really wanted to.) It's all a choice. I know I'm sacrificing by working part time, there are home projects that will take longer, places we want to travel to that will require more time of saving, things I want to do that might take a little longer to happen, fun stuff that my friends do that I don't because it's not in our budget. But I have one of the most valuable gifts that money can't buy at the moment, time. (Well time for free that is, I guess you could hire a maid to clean your house so you could have extra time....but that's not my point.)

By making the sacrifice of working part time, I'm able to do this blog, I volunteer at a friends school every other week, I'm an emergency baby sitter for another friend. I was able to find us a house, I have the time to paint when we've saved enough for a room, I have time to bake treats for my husband to take to work almost weekly. We've been able to rely on only one car for two years, while saving enough to buy a new (used car) 1999 with less than 60K miles for $6,300 cash ~ no consumer debt still (Praise God!). 

We don't have cable, we don't have a car payment, I do my own nails, I cut and color my own hair, we live on a modest budget, we don't drink, we don't smoke, we really don't do anything expensive, we don't waste groceries we buy. Honestly it's freeing when the bondage of debt is not hovering over you. It's all a choice, what is most important to you. 

While we were getting out of debt my husband ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch everyday for three years, I had a new job as a secretary and keep my old job as a waitress once a week for a year I only worked on Friday nights and worked as a food runner for a few hours and didn't get paid in money, but in food. I got to order whatever we wanted for dinner, that was our original "date night". Basically all of our income went to getting out of debt, having the "work for dinner" was a blessing to feel like we weren't so strapped, we got fun restaurant food once a week! It was really awesome. 

Of course there are things I want, I love shopping and buying presents (we do have a monthly gift budget for presents, but I love giving people stuff so much I don't think this could ever be enough money, but I'm happy with our limit), I would love to grocery shop at only Whole Foods with no budget and make whatever I wanted every night. There are countless things I want to do and buy for our house. But, honestly I don't think I would be any happier than what I am now, I would always want more. Having a budget and living a life edited, makes you appreciate what you have. I also think I'm more creative because of it too, how can I make something out of nothing. I'm also choosier about things I spend my money on. And for all of you, if in anyway my blog has helped you now or in the future, it's worth not having a new necklace and working more to have the time and creativity to share with you. I'm sure there will be a time when I go back to working full time, but for now this simple edited life is perfect. 

{you are beautiful and wonderfully made}

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