Friday, August 24, 2007

Budgeting

In trying to purchase our new house, it is necessary that we watch our money more tightly. So, I have created a budget & keep my receipts & keep track of how much is being spent & where. It is very exciting. I have set up an account on wesabe & can't wait to actually start using that. (I am currently waiting for my bank to complete setting up our accounts online...)
I just added up all my grocery (food, paper goods, cleaning products, diapers...)receipts & was very pleased to see I am right on target. We are striving for a $250 monthly grocery bill. Does anyone have great tips they want to share? I have a "store comparison" excel chart that I am working on. This way, I really know who has the lower prices - is it Target? Costco? Safeway?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

$250 a month for groceries? Including diapers and household stuff? What's your secret?!

When we first got married, I was working and on my very meager salary, we got by for almost 2 years. To stay within our budget, I used my grandmother's tried and true envelope system. :-) Make envelopes for each category you're planing on including in your budget (ie - groceries, household, gas, entertainment, allowance, etc) and then withdraw your cash at the beginning of the month. And then only spend what's available in the envelopes. The people at the bank will think you're nuts for withdrawing that much cash, but it does work if you don't pull out the debit card once the cash is gone. ;-)
Really though - how do you keep your food budget so low? Do you guys buy organic produce/meats? I've personally chosen to lay the blame for our inflated food budget on the whole organic habit. ;-)

Erin said...

I do think organic meats are really expensive. It's a choice to make, I guess. We don't get it. The one time I got organic chicken was because I had a good coupon, but it was still really expensive. I think it was more than 3x the money from "regular" chicken.
We get organic produce, but through a farm co-op. So, that means we don't get to choose. But, it is local, fresh & organic. That cost $20 a month.

Stef said...

Yeah, we spend $3-4 a month on all that stuff. Jason and I are also looking over our budget and trying to find more ways to save (Laura, I love your idea! I'm not a huge fan of having it all on the computer). Menu planning helps and figuring out which stores are cheaper. For me, I'm starting to realize Costco isn't always the best way to go, budget wise. I look at Walmart/Target adds to compare when they have sales on diapers, wipes, ziplock bags, etc... and often times I can get a better deal at those places. Staying away from brand names (unless its a must) usually works.
I'm excited to read your feedback, because we'd love tips! :)

Erin said...

Ladies,
I mispoke about the produce... It is 15 a week. And, in truth, I didn't factor it into our budget. I forgot, since we paid for the whole year a long time ago... So, 250 is not entirely accurate. Sorry!
I guess my tip is menu planning & steering away from "convenience" foods.

big hair betty said...

I am really impressed with your budgets Erin and Stef! I've never been really strict with a budget for groceries/household stuff, but I do usually buy things on sale (love those weekly ads!)and we don't eat very extravagantly (except the time I bought that beef filet for the bourgigone!). As I look at my monthly expenses, I do know that I was using more prepared foods (usually from Trader Joe's) since early pregnancy doesn't always help when planning the menu for the week. Our bills have gone up since Justus has been eating more (since he eats more than Ezra) and we do have Alex eating with us, not all the time, but a significant amount. I do probably need to plan a weekly menu better, as the organization will help when the new baby comes along. I have been printing out blank calenders from http://organizedhome.com to help me keep track of what I make over the month, but that is mainly to help with dinner ideas. There is always room to improve and so I will appreciate all the tips from you all as well! Thanks!

Stef said...

flylady.com also has awesome stuff for organization. I'm not totally into her cleaning techniques, but the website has some great tips. I buy her calender every year and love it!

Unknown said...

I signed up with Wesabe- cool site. I already track all my spending with Quicken, but the site has cool interactive elements that would be awesome to utilize. I love your excel price comparison sheet. If you're willing to share it, it would be fun to make it a Google Doc and add other people who might want to contribute/view it too - you can set the permissions.

Snooley said...

I signed up with Wesabe- cool site. I already track all my spending with Quicken, but the site has cool interactive elements that would be awesome to utilize. I love your excel price comparison sheet. If you're willing to share it, it would be fun to make it a Google Doc and add other people who might want to contribute/view it too - you can set the permissions.