Category : Budgeting Toggle

July Frugal Goals

July Frugal Goals

Mark downs are one of the many ways I plan to keep within my grocery budget this month.

I feel like over the past few months our budget has got away from us. With me going through morning sickness my first trimester and then vacation (which we did rather well on monetarily speaking but it’s still an extra expense) I have been less then proactive with being frugal and doing things like avoiding eating out like the plague. When a meal at a fast food joint for one person costs the same as a meal for all five of us at home, it becomes much harder to justify eating out. And now that I’m feeling better I need to get my rear in gear and work on ways to avoid the excuse of eating out because of time or tiredness.

But watching our food budget carefully this coming month isn’t the only thing I plan on doing. Here is my working list of things I want to try this next month to whittle away at our bottom line.

July Frugal Goals:

Keep the lights off as much as possible.

Close the shades at the appropriate time to maximize our air conditioning.

Keep the a/c at 78 during the day and 76 at night.

We’ve just purchased and installed two new ceiling fans for the bedrooms and we already have one in the dining rm/living rm area so that has already made it easier to keep the temp cooler. Who knows, if this works out well I may turn it higher!

No dryer all month.

I want to line dry all  our laundry this month.

Unplug the tv when not in use.

We don’t watch much tv right now, so it makes sense to start unplugging it, along with the other devices that go with it, when we’re not using it. I also plan to turn off my laptop at night and unplug it as well.

Take time to look through online coupons and use what I can.

I’ve got out of the habit of printing coupons out since the printer we bought at a g-sale doesn’t print correctly. We only paid $5 for it, so we’re not out much, but I still don’t have one and the only way I can do it is if I go over to my in-laws and print them off their. I’m going to try and do that this month though.

Write down the price I think I will pay for each grocery item when making a shopping list.

I find that when I have a rough idea of what I plan to spend at the store I tend to scrutinized each item on my list a little more and subtract the items that are wants and not needs. Our current grocery budget is $400 and the past few months I have gone over and we’ve eaten out quite a bit as well.

Make a menu plan that I’l stick to.

I’m really pretty good about making menus. I usually do it in two week increments since it seems life changes too much for me to plan a whole month. This also allows me to shop sales a bit better. I do have a bad habit of putting meals in the schedule that I or my family don’t really care for but do it anyway because they are cheap meals  and then avoid that meal like the plague. I recognize that we need to suck it up and eat the meal, but I will not be putting them in the schedule multiple times in the month. Once is good enough for me.

Eat from our garden.

I’m hoping our garden will start producing so we can include some of it’s produce and save us some money at the store.

Make my own bread.

This is a hard one since I have said this every month for several months now. But I have decided this IS the month it’s going to happen!

 

I hope to find other ways this month to save money as I go along. I do have a couple of obstacles this month that may challenge my July frugal goals and my budget. First I am hosting a 31 handbag part in July and will need to provide snacks and drinks for that. Second, my family will be in town for several days and so I will be feeding them as well. We also have the fair next month and though there are lots of free things to do there, I would like to spend a little money on the kids since we didn’t spend any money on vacation doing extra fun stuff (we stuck to the swimming pools and canoeing which were free.) Oh, ya and the 4th of July! My goal is to still keep within our grocery budget even with the extras coming up. I will have to keep a watchful eye for deals and mark downs! It seems like a crazy month to try and be super frugal, but on the other hand, I think it maybe the only thing that keeps us from completely blowing the budget out of the water!

 

Do you have any ideas or ways you are cutting expenses this summer you can send my way? I can use all the help I can get!

 

I’m linking this to Homestead Barn Hop!

Food Budgets According to the USDA and Our Actual Food Budget

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So I was visiting a blog the other day and she had a link to the USDA’s 2012 chart that shows, on average, what a person by age group/gender would eat at home per week and month (this does not include eating out). They have four categories: Thrift plan, Low cost plan, Moderate cost plan, and Liberal plan. Apparently they need to add a fifth category for my family-Dirt Poor Plan.

I worked out the numbers per individual for my family to get our numbers from their chart since my girls don’t fall exactly into their pre-calculated family chart. Lucy is only 9 months, but I put her in at one year since she is quickly increasing the amount of food she is eating. Below is the results.

Thrifty Plan

Lucy-$92.20

Sammie: $100.70

Emma: $104.90

Joel: $181.30

Me: $161.00

Total Monthly Budget: $640.10

Low Cost Plan

Lucy: $123.50

Sammie: $127.30

Emma: $132.70

Joel: $234.20

Me: $203.30

Total Monthly Budget: $821

Moderate Cost Plan

Lucy: $140.40

Sammie: $154.30

Emma: $163.80

Joel: $292.30

Me: $250.80

Total Monthly Budget: $1001.60

Liberal Plan

Lucy: $170.20

Sammie: $188.10

Emma: $198.90

Joel: $359.70

Me: $320.70

Total Monthly Budget: $1237.60!

 

I worked up the thrift plan first since I knew that would be the category we would be closest too, and I was still floored by how much they allotted for our family. Let me tell you, if we had $640 to spend on groceries every month we would be eating like kings and queens!

According to the USDA’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) We should be spending $793 a month, $500 of which we should be spending out of our budget and $293 from SNAP. We don’t receive any benefits from the government, though I’m sure we more then qualify, but the money we would receive from SNAP if we were on the program would pay for almost three quarters of our entire budget for the month (which includes food, personal, and household items like toilet paper and pull-ups)!

Just this month we decided to up our budget from $350 to $400. This was hard for me at first because before we lived with my parents our budget for three was $250, which equals $83.33 per person a month. You would think I could manage at $350 a month or $87.50 per person (not including Lucy), however, Lucy is starting to eat more so I need to start account for her. There are some other factors as well that have added to the need to increase our budget. First, the price of food has gone way up since we were last feeding only our family. We moved in with my parents in 2010 and the price of food has gone increased dramatically since then. Second, we are eating a lot more whole and organic foods and lets face it, it costs more to eat healthy. And Third, we moved to a state that taxes food purchases. Nebraska doesn’t charge taxes on food. Seven percent of our grocery budget isn’t going towards food here in Kansas. So out of the $350 we have budgeted, only $325.50 is going towards food. That’s two days, or six meals for four that is going towards taxes! Trying to make sure we have enough food for the month has been stressing me out big time. Add to that, the fact that I haven’t even begun to be able to stock up my pantry, and you’ve got one stressed mama!

So now our budget will look like this $400- $28 (7% taxes)= $372

Lucy: $20

Everyone Else: $88 (I’m just figuring the same for everyone, since I make one meal for everyone)

That’s $2.84 per person/per day

Or $0.95 per meal.

No that does’t account for snack, which we do have occasionally. We don’t always spend $0.95 per person/ per meal though. Like when we have oatmeal for breakfast. I look at these numbers and wonder how in the world we manage to do it, but somehow God always makes it happen.

We don’t eat out as a family more then two or three times a month which most of the time comes out of this budget as we, so pretty much all of our family eating comes out of this budget. Joel eats lunch in town once or twice a week when he is there over the lunch hour for meetings and doesn’t have a place to warm food up. That doesn’t come out of this budget. We are still trying to work on cutting that down further.

If our family ate according to the USDA’s “Thrifty Plan” we would have no problem eating 100% organic and whole foods. We would be eating the smoothies for breakfast that I would LOVE to do, but can’t because all that organic fruits and berries would break our budget BIG TIME. For now we will do what we can, and add new food items as we get stocked up on what we use all the time now so we aren’t buy everything every month.

What do you think of the USDA’s chart? Where does your family fit in? What do you do to keep food costs down?

 

I’m linking this to The Homestead Barn Hop.