I am here. After a nice long weekend of family, sick babies and stressed out budgeting I am back and feeling feisty!
So, I sat down the other day and did a basic sample budgte to see where exactly all of our money is going. (ALL of our money? I make it sound like we have a lot. NOT.) The bare bones result of this is that with averaged amounts in all of the categories..... we are about $230 negative. Which totally explains why I am juggling bills every month and trying to not stress out when I need to go to the grocery store. I mean.... having to make a choice between diapers and gas is not fun.
As a result of this big revalation that we are broke, I have decided that it is time for me to maximize my husbands paycheck. Any suggestions on frugality would be kindly appreciated.
I am going to begin my quest by being careful with the electricity and gas we use for heating and cooling. As well as replacing all of our existing bulbs with the energy efficient kind. And reminding myself, DH and DD to turn off lights when we are not in a room! I also plan to go back to hanging out clothes on the line when possible. At least things like towels, jeans and blankets. Dryers eat up the power.
I sat down yesterday and made a monthly menu. I used a desk sized calendar page and color coded first. I used yellow stickers for chicken nights, red for beef, blue for pork and green for other. I did this so that I would have a good mix of different types of meats. And not end up with four different chicken dishes in a row. I don't need to grow feathers. I then wrote in my menu plan for each day.
Then, I made a list of every single ingredient that I needed to have to make each and every dish for the month. And went through and crossed off what I already have. And there! Voila! My shopping list! For dinners, anyway. I had to sit down and think about breakfasts and lunches as well. But, basically, I am going shopping this faternoon armed with a comprehensive list of what I really need in order to cook dinners for this entire month. Plus luncha nd breakfast options. Drink mixes, snacks, etc. In moderation.
I clipped my coupons, organized them, made notations on my shopping list of what items I have a coupon for and am about to start a quick internet search for other coupons that I know I need. I will be very interested to see exactly what my total bill will be at the end of the day. I may just post a copy of the grocery list with total saved and total spent. Depends on how my day goes!
As far as other savings, I am trying to potty train my eldest boy. That would cut down my diaper bill by 1/2. Whenever it happens! LOL... I also plan to work on the quitting smoking thing. Seeing exactly how much I spend on cigarretes written down in black and white is very... eye opening. To say the least.
hmmmm....... any other great money saving tips?