Financial Chat

dbet  Saturday was grocery shopping day.   I budget $100/ week for groceries to feed my family of 5 or 6 depending on the day.   My key to success is menu planning and to only buying what I will need for the next two weeks.   Only buying groceries every 2 weeks seems to help keep us within budget.  The less I am in the store, the less I will spend.  

We had way more food spoil the last two weeks than I would like to see.  What a waste of money.  ARGH!  So I am buying the produce I need for the second week the following week.  So I am in the store each week, but I try to stick to the list!  Another issue is that the leftovers aren’t always getting eaten in a timely fashion.  Now that I am using the menu service, E-Mealz.com to plan our meals, the servings are smaller and less wasted food.  I am also making Tommy’s and my lunch when clearing off the table each night so I am remembering to use the leftovers! 

Grocery Shopping for 8/07/10
Sam’s Club –          $77.24 ( taco Seasoning, Cooking Spray, Granola Bars, Oxy Clean, Creme Pies, and Ramen) 
Aldi                       $149.32

Total Spent for 14 days – $226.56  = $16.18/Day or 113.28/ week

I was a bit over my budget, but last week I was under and had money left over.   I still have $80 remaining in my grocery envelope so I am good.  I still have a couple of things I need to pickup later in the week.  I am waiting to buy the produce for the second week of my menu, to hopefully decrease the food spoilage. 

Items Needed:

Bag Peanuts
Honey Mustard Dressing
Creole Seasoning
Strawberries
Asparagus
Cantaloupe
Green Salad
Head of Lettuce
Tomatoes??? 
Broccoli Crowns

Other information on the budget front I am done paying one of my debts off.  I owed my parents some money and that is done!  I was paying them $50/week so that budgeted item will move to be added to our Emergency Fund.  I will have to write a post sometime about our budgeting technics.  All I have to say is if I knew what I knew now before…I would be in very different financial situation today!   Live and Learn….I guess.

We use the snowballing technic to pay off our debts.  So once one debt is paid, you roll that minimum payment over to the next thing.  At the same time we are building up our savings.  I do my savings a bit different than suggested by Dave Ramsey or Mary Hunt.  I ear mark the money in my savings.  Like I had $1600 set aside for car insurance.  If I pay for the car insurance 6 months at a time, I get a $250 reduction.   So I have a years worth of car insurance in my savings account at the beginning of the year courtesy of our tax return.  I also earmark $800 – $1000 for Christmas expenses and finally a emergency fund.  The emergency fund I add to as often as I can to cover the unexpected car repair or whatever.  

Our goal is to be debt free within 10 years including house.  We have some expenses to consider in the future.  We have to decide if we will be continuing our son in private school after Jr High.   We also would like to do one last major remodel to the house before we retire.  Then we will be focusing on saving for retirement.

I was able to do a nice consolidation of two of my credit cards, which saved me 10% in interest for the life of the balance.  So that was helpful to us in meeting our financial goals.   So I am reminding myself to be a good steward of the gift God has given us and live within our means!  Be content in the simple things in life…..you will be much happier.  I know I am!

It is all about choices..and I hope I am teaching my children these lessons as well.  Our children see frugality as normal. We make dinners at home, plan a menu weekly – dinners at home are normal and eating out is a very special treat. Making our own meals at home is normal – it’s normal to see mom in the kitchen preparing supper.  A night of drive through is a rare treat.   It’s normal to go to the library each Saturday.  It’s normal to spend an evening playing a board game or renting a movie from redbox.  It is a treat to go to the movie at the theater.   They do not see rampant overspending as the norm. When we do make a major purchase, our children are probably getting sick of the conversation about the purchase.  My kids can attest to this.  It took me five years to finally purchase a Kindle…and we had alot of discussions about it and comparing it to the Nook, etc.  I hope my children are picking up on the lessons I am trying to teach them.

I hope our children also understand  why we’re doing this. When I was growing up, we practiced a lot of frugality, but the “why” of practicing that frugality was often simply that we didn’t have enough money.  And I knew my lifestyle was different from other children because we didn’t have as much.  I wore garage sale clothes not by choice.  But I did learn valuable saving technics from my parents, but didn’t chose to use them until much later than I would have liked.   When I finally had money I wanted to use it because I felt I went too many year without and I wanted to give the world to my children.  I realized very quickly that the best thing I could do for my children was to teach them these financial principles and prepare them for the realities of life.

For our family, frugality enables us to spend less than what we earn without giving up things that are really important to us. What is important to us may not be the same as your family….but that is ok.  We are a techy family!  We chose to spend alot of money on computers, Internet and other electronics.  We don’t have to be frugal – we choose to do it because of the life it’s creating for us.  I also hate being called frugal….because I am not in some regards.  I just try to be financially responsible.   As a family we spend more money on electronics than the average family, which is not frugal, but I do have a son and hubby who work in the IT field.  We chose not to deprive ourselves, just to make thoughtful decisions about the things we want in our lives.  If we stay the course with our debt reduction plan, real opportunities will open up to us, just in time for our children to see the real benefits of a financially responsible life.    I wish my parents would have sat down and had these discussions with me.  Just this weekend Josh and I were discussing some financial strategies on consolidating his student loan.  His goal is to save for a down payment on a house.  I wish I knew what he does, when I was 22! 

Remember the family that saves together dreams together.

 

Happy Savings!!

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0 responses to “Financial Chat

  1. What a wonderful post.  You have really convicted me to review my budget and spending.  Blessings to you.

  2. We are totally debt free except for the house which will be paid off in about 12 years or so…it’s the only way to go!!! You guys are doing great!!!

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