Budget 2011 Goals & Challenge

Before I starting couponing our family could easily spend $250 a week at the grocery and drug stores.  We bought frivolously.  If you don’t have to budget why would you, right? I heard about these coupon blogs and thought I’d check them out. After my first trip the the store I walked out with a basket full of groceries and $5.67 in overage in my pocket!  I was hooked!

I have been keeping track of the vast majority of our grocery/stockpile budgeting throughout the year for the past 2 years now.  On average we spend only $10 a day, much better than the over $35 before.  But what was even better than that was we had stuff left over at the end of the week!  Before I knew it we were starting a stockpile!

Let me also explain that my budgeting includes items purchased for my family of four and  items donated. There’s no sense in hoarding all my findings for myself so  I’ve since then started a food pantry at our church.

While they are cheap, we are not a convenience food family.  I attended culinary school during my college years and am more than handy in the kitchen which eliminates are need for such “warm and serve” type  meals. Our family eats mostly fresh items including lots of organic meats and veggies, therefore coupons or not our grocery bill tends to be a bit higher than other couponers.

My goal this year for 2011 is to cut my grocery bill again by at least 25%.  In the past 6 months I’ve acquired a rather large deep freezer.  My goal by the end of summer is have it completely stocked.  I will update you peridoically with when goals are achieved.

I challenge you this year to reduce your grocery bill and increase your stock.  It can be cutting expenses by 5%, 25%, 50%…or stocking enough cleaning items for the whole year!  Always feel free to contact me with your goal updates, challenges, questions etc.

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Heather

Do you follow A Thrifty Mama? She focuses on organic deals and post the weekly match ups for Whole Foods. I’ve to WF only once looking for a product for a review. The closest one to us is still a good drive to I doubt you would save very much since your spending extra gas.

I picked up my South Beach book from Amazon for really cheap. There are some really tasty meals and then some with ingredients that your like what in the world is that? The first 2 weeks are the hardest. I thought I was going to die…well not really. I just LOVE my pasta and you can’t have any!

I’m a SAHM so most of my shopping is done during school hours. We are gone almost every weekend. Let me know what your schedules like.

Nicole Tyler

Typically I plan meals around current stockpile. Since my husband has been eating so much, I can not maintain enough food to keep it full. I would like to start planning out my meals, but the problem is his eating habits. I would like to start shopping organic foods and Whole Foods. Can I do that on a tight budget?

I have never done South Beach, a lot of people I work with swear by it. My biggest problem is if something does not taste good or it is not what I am wanting, I will eat something else. I like foods with rich flavor, but not necessarily fatty foods (of course most of the foods with a lot of flavor are fattening.) I will try to read about the South Beach diet and see what I can find.

If you ever want a shopping partner, I would love to go with you! Seriously, I want to see how you shop so that maybe I can get some ideas of how to shop correctly.

Thank you for all your help! It is truly a blessing!

Heather

OH I remember now! We’ve moved since then too..just down the road a bit.

Girl we’ve got to get you off those generic brand too, they cost too much! Are you meal planning around sales or your current stockpile? This will help a TON!

Have you guys ever done South Beach? I bet it would be great for y’all. You could fix the rice/pasta for them and you just eat the veggies/protein. We did this once and I lost 6lbs in a week! I’m a carb addict so of course I hated it and only did the one time.

Nicole Tyler

You are so funny! Yes, I live close to you and surprisingly I know where you live! I picked up a FreeCycle bunch from you. When you replied by email is when I got the web address for Frugal Realty and have been hooked ever since. You gave me some really nice home decor when I moved into my first house. It was a blessing more than I could ever describe.

I am always looking for someone to shop with, especially since my husband does not like to. I usually go with my girl friend, but lately I have not been able to go on our usual shopping days (every other Friday).

I am really shocked that you said Randall’s is the cheapest. I like their fresh products and love their meats, but I do not care for their generic brand (like I do HEB). I always come out of Randall’s spending a fortune, but maybe it is because I am always in a hurry when I shop there. I will try to go there on my next shopping trip and scope out their deals.

My husband bought me a treadmill last year and I ended up pregnant three months later. We sold it because we needed the room for baby and had no idea that we would be getting a house that would fit the treadmill. We sold it on Craigslist for 1/2 of what we bought it for. Now I regret it. I will have to look for another on FreeCycle.

Thanks for the advice I will check into it!!

Heather

Girl you’re right around the corner from me, I live in Old Katy! We can go shopping together! Randalls is going to be a great store for you this year. I know you’re probably thinking “Yeah right that place is expensive!” Let me tell you it’s become one of my favorite places! The one on Fry near the hospital an the one on SOuth Mason Near Heb have the best clearance. Your family needs fresh stuff. Randalls has the best produce, next to Sams if you don’t have a membership. I always stock up on meat and milk from Randalls clearance section. You have a deep freeze so it won’t go bad. You can also find ok deals on produce at Kroger but only if you plan to use it that week. Their 10/$10 bags are great for weekly meals.

Keep an eye out for trial deals for gyms wit in the next month. I know last year there were tons of places offering a free week. Yeah it’s only a week but hey it’s free! I always try to post them when they’re up.

Do you do FreeCycle? It would be a great place to pick up so exercise equipment if you have the room in your garage or spare room. I personally don’t like gyms or much less working out but we do have a gym set up in our garage and I will make myself go out there.

Nicole Tyler

Heather,

I will re-post here, just incase anyone else reading may have the same dilemma.

We have actually taken the Dave Ramsey class when he came live to the Toyota Center and also at church. It is really helpful, if we could only put money into savings. We are barely able to pay our bills much less save money. My goal this year is to do the envelope system.

Both of my girls will eat big people food. They do not have to eat the graduates. I just want to be sure I give them foods that will help them grow.

My favorite stores to shop at are HEB and Target. I am located right in the middle of all of the grocery stores. I live in Mayde Creek behind the Fry HEB.

Thank you Lisa for the advice. It is really helpful. I will say, I am not a big eater. I actually eat three small meals with an occasional healthy snack sometimes. I consume about 1700 calories a day (which could be cut down more, but is not excessive). I am tall (5’11), so that adds a little weight; but most of it is because of my lack of time to exercise. Between work, school and the babies, I have had no time to exercise. I would like to get a gym membership because when I did have one last, that was when I was my skinniest at 145 (only 5 years ago). I worked out constantly, and know I would now. I can just go there straight after work and then come home and do what I have to get done. I just can’t just convince myself to pay the outrageous membership fees (if you know of any gym deals, I would love to hear about them!)

Lisa D

What an inspiring post! I started couponing early last year and have tons in my stockpile already, but am always looking for a great deal. We have a deep freezer and only have to stock up on meats every 3 – 5 months.

For Nicole (above comment), have your hubby eat a couple pb&j sandwiches (on white bread) every night before bed. That’s a guaranteed way to gain some lbs and is easy on the pocketbook. Losing the weight is the harder part, imo. I was at 222 lbs and to help me lose the weight (I’m 160 now) I only ate on small plates and bowls, cut out soda, stopped going for seconds at mealtime and took a 10 – 20 minute walk everyday. It took me over a year to lose the weight, but I did it. My best advice would be to make a list of the MOST COMMONLY used items in your house (food, hygiene, etc) and keep an eye out for the sales/deals for those items and buy enough to last your family 3 months (by then it should go on sale again). Don’t forget to combine the sales with COUPONS! That’s what has saved my family the most money in the long run. Good luck!

Heather

Nicole, I would be more than happy to help! A few questions first and if you’d rather do this through email that’s fine too (heather at frugalreality dot com)

1- Have you heard of Dave Ramsey’s Financial University?
2- Does your toddler eat like the Gerber toddler foods only or can he/she eat “big people food”?
3- What are your available grocery stores?

Nicole Tyler

I do not know how much you can help me, but I am desperate. My husband and I make pretty good money, but our problem is that we have so many student loans and can never pay them because our paychecks do not go far enough. I have found myself spending Over $1,500 on groceries and necessities each month. I have been religiously following your blogs and have cut my spending down a lot, but I am still spending about $1,100 on groceries and necessities. I need help finding ways to get to around $800.00 a month and still by the things I need.

Let me tell you a little bit about my family. My husband is vigorously trying to gain weight. He weighed 125 lbs this past January and is now at 170 lbs. His mindset is that he wants to eat as unhealthy as possible. He eats frozen foods, bacon, pizza, sandwiches and any other kind of junk food. I am at 260 lbs and need to loose 100 lbs. I enjoy eating healthy organic food, and am primarily vegetable eater. I have a restricted diet because I also have Chrone’s disease, but my budget does not allow me to buy the foods that I need because my husband’s eating habits are costing me an arm and a leg. My last dilemma is that I have two children. My three year old is out of diapers but devours milk and is following her dad’s poor eating habits (which I would like to change, so I try to cook healthy for her and I). My one year old is in diapers, slowly transitioning from formula but is still eating toddler foods. I would like to get her on a healthy costly diet as well. We have a deep freezer, but it usually stay stocked with processed foods for my husband. I have discussed with him that I would like for our family to start eating organic, natural foods and maintain healthy eating habits. He is on board, but he demands that there is food with flavor and no vegetables for him.

Can you please help me find solutions to our family’s desperate need for a budget makeover? I am finding myself so overwhelmed with trying to maintain my finances and keep my family healthy.

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