Saturday, September 29, 2007

Shopping Day!

I spent a couple hours this morning doing my every-other-week grocery shopping trip. I used to go grocery shopping every week, but I have found that by doing it less, I don't spend as much. I'm not sure if it's because I don't buy as much extras, or if it's because I try harder to make things last longer, or because most things are sold in larger amounts than we use in one week, or what, but since it seems to be working, I keep doing it - plus it saves on gas, which around here is pretty important. The only drawback to this is that sometimes on my non-shopping week, there are some good sales that I miss out on. If it's a really good sale, though, like last week's oats, I might go get some anyway. Of course, by then, I've usually spent all my food money for the period, so, like I did last week, I have to take some money from somewhere else, and then I just replace it when I get the next period's food money.

For the last month, I've been trying really hard to lower our food budget even more than I already have. Until now, we've spent $200 a month on food, which is pretty good, but this month I tried doing it for $175. Since I get my food money twice a month, I have about $87 dollars to spend each time. So far, I've been able to do it. My one concern about lowering my food budget was that I wouldn't be able to take advantage of really good sales and stock up like I've been able to do. But since I was able to buy a bunch of oats last week, and it all ended up coming out of my food money, I'm more convinced now that I'll be able to stick to $175 a month. That will allow an extra $25 a month to go into savings! And like they say, every little bit helps!

One thing I do that has really helped me stick to my budget in food, as well as other areas like gas and entertainment, is that I use cash. This isn't a new idea, but it really works for me! In this "easy money" world of debit and credit cards, it helps me keep track of how much I'm spending and gives me a stopping point. It's so easy to swipe a debit card, and you forget how quickly even little purchases add up, which makes it easy to spend more than you want without realizing it. By putting my allotted amount into an envelope, I easily can see how much of my budget I'm using in any single transaction, and I know that when the money's gone, it's gone.

One other way to save a little extra money that I've found to be really easy is by saving change in a jar. I almost never use change at a store. Whenever I get change back, it goes straight into a jar. I have never missed it, and it's amazing to see how fast it adds up! Every few months, I roll up the coins and take them to the bank. I always have a nice little chunk that I either put into my special savings, or that I use to buy something that we needed. It's a nice way to save up for something special without feeling like you're taking money away from something else.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Never Enough Time

When I decided to start a blog, I was a little afraid I would spend more time than I should online, blogging and reading other peoples' blogs. I didn't think that a week would pass with me not spending more than a few minutes online. I always find it amazing how quickly life can fly by...days pass, then weeks, and I hardly know where they went, or what I did with them. I am certainly looking forward to the coming days when I can spend my time at home doing the things I want to be doing, rather than having to go to work all day, and then come home to what seems like a very short evening, go to bed, and start it all over again the next day. I do like my job - I love working with kids - but I don't like the fact that my time belongs to someone else. I like to think that when I am home all day, I will have plenty of time to do all the things I would like to get done. Somehow, though, I have a feeling that even when my days do belong to me, with a new baby, there will still never be enough time...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's an Art!

A big part of any homemaker's job (especially those on a limited budget) is to make the household income go farther. One of the ways I try to do this (as it is one of the areas I have the most control over) is to feed my husband and I for the smallest amount possible. Of course one simple way to do this is to buy items on sale. The more items you can buy on sale, the more you'll save, with the goal being to buy everything on sale, to pay full price for nothing. But, stores don't always have things on sale when you need them. So then, you either have to do without or buy the item for full price. To avoid this problem, I have been trying to stock up on items that are a really good price, to last me until the item goes on sale again. However, the more I do this, the more I realize that it is somewhat of an art form. It takes thought, planning, and definitely some experience to be able to realize when something is a very good price, to be able to predict when it will go on sale again, and to be able to determine how much of that item you will need to last you until the next sale. If you are able to do this, however, it will undoubtably save you a lot of money in the long run. Of course, it does require you to spend a little more upfront, which can be hard for some people, but it can be done if you work it into your budget.

Since I'm still fairly new at running a household, this is an art I'm definitely still learning! A while back, one store had a really great deal on Quaker products, including oats. I bought a bunch of oats to put in my stock. For a while they just sat there, but then I started making homemade granola, and using them for other things, like granola bars and cookies. Then the other day, I realized that my stock of oats was almost gone. Since I didn't want to be without any oats if I should happen to need them, I put them on my list to buy on my next shopping trip. When I went grocery shopping, I found some oats on sale for $2.50. I knew that I had gotten my last stock for cheaper than that, but I couldn't remember exactly how much I had paid for them, and I didn't think that was a terrible price, so I bought one. I sure regretted that decision a few days later, when I opened the grocery store ads to find that great Quaker sale again! Oats were on sale for $1.00! I couldn't pass up this sale, since I knew what a great deal it was! It does take a bite out of my food budget to be able to do this, but I know I'll save quite a bit of money in the long run! Saving money certainly is a learning process!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Welcome to my blog! This will contain my thoughts, ideas, and snippets of my life! I pray it will be a blessing and encouragement to all who read it!