Stretching a Budget


As I referred in a past post, budgeting has been a big obstacle for my family this year.  It seems like all I’ve been doing is “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.  So, a few weeks ago, I settled down and really looked at where my money was going.  I wasted so much on stupid stuff, primarily getting junk food at the local gas station (my beloved Dr. Pepper Polar Pop and bags of either Chex Mix or Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn).

So now on days I have these cravings, I simply use cash.  If I feel the need to have a Polar Pop, I have to come up with the 74 cents it takes to purchase it.  No more putting it on a credit card or debit card.  Cold. Hard. Cash.

This has helped a great deal.

But then a week and a half ago, on a day when I was feeling really good about myself (I had called in to pay off a debt… like one of our biggest ones… I was so incredibly proud of myself) and then 4 hours later while driving home from work I get a call from my husband that he lost his job.  I’ve been in stress mode ever since.  So, later this week we will go back to this as I find ways go de-stress (because Lord knows, I need it).

Anyhow – it’s funny how you hear through the grapevine the best places to grocery shop for your family when you are trying to maintain a budget.  I have always been bad about going to a bunch of different places to get the best prices but I can honestly say last week I went to the main grocery store I always go too, got enough food to make 2 weeks worth of meals and only spent $111 and some change.  Granted, most of the items purchased were on sale – as we had $69 worth of savings using one of the rewards cards.

Now hubby did go to another store to get chicken breasts as a competitor did have a better price, but it wasn’t by much, because all in all we only saved about a $1.50.

And this week we have picked up a few items – with the kids now being out of school, Eggo waffles were on sale so we’ve gone twice now to pick up a couple of boxes (they can’t get enough waffles).

So I guess the moral of the story is this:  choose foods on sale and stock up on the foods when they are on sale and you can easily purchase a decent amount of food to make a number of meals.  I still check all the ads and pick which grocery store will save me the most money and this really seems to help.  One store seems to do better with meats, others with produce.  But that’s okay – I’ll do what I can to get the most bang for my buck.

Is this common sense? Yes, but so many don’t start with easier tasks to get to the final destination.

Another huge help has been explaining our situation to the children, and this has surprisingly made life easier with their not constantly asking me if they can have this or that.

Life is a struggle at the moment, but we will survive!  I’ll share another budgeting tip next Monday!



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