If Groceries are a Priority, where do you cut back? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 08-04-2011, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been reading the thread about what organics are important, etc. I am in the boat that I really feel we have not had to go to the doctor in the last year because we eat well. I buy everything I can organic...although I am loathing the organic may I just bought (spectrum brand). Anway, it seems we spend $200 a week average. If I spend under that one week, I am sure to spend more than 200 the next.

 

After all our bills are paid and money is put into savings, we are left with about $400/week. So our groceries are half of that, and we spend at least $75/week on gas and if we have to fill the truck, it's more like $125. SOOO...that doesn't leave much left for anything else, and I have been taking money out of savings the last few months to tide us over (let me just clarify though that I put about 25% of our income in savings). But I don't want to take ANY out.

 

My caveats are clothes and Starbucks by the way...

 

How do you stay on budget? I realize we are lucky to have the budget we have, and trust me we haven't always. We went through college with two kids and food stamps making what we make in one month last an entire semester. I feel like that has all slipped away and I want to be better but the last few months have seemed out of control...

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#2 of 8 Old 08-04-2011, 09:22 PM
 
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Going cash only is the only way for me to stick to a budget. So I bring my $ to the store in cash, and leave the cards at home or in the glove box of the car. Sort of prevents that Ventilation Java Chip Frappachino from slipping into the day when I simply don't have any way to pay for it.

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#3 of 8 Old 08-05-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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For starbucks I load a gift card at the beginning of the month and when it is gone it is gone.  It is hard to resist because I work there.....

 

Same with Gas.  My 10 gallons has to last a month.  It is strictly budgeted and if it is dwindeling too fast i take a look at cutting out extra trips.


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#4 of 8 Old 08-05-2011, 08:16 PM
 
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Food prices have gone up and with the horrible weather so much of the globe is experiencing, I think that trend will only continue. I don't know how you can budget, other than cutting back somewhere else, or accepting that your food costs will continue to grow beyond your control. I'm pessimistically planning to see my food bill increase at least 10% in the next year or two, unless I make changes in what we buy/consume. At this point I'm basically planning to save a little less, and cut back on eating out and discretionary spending.

 

I think we in the US have been kind of spoiled re: food costs since the Green Revolution, because it seems much of the world does spend a much larger portion of income than we do on food, and so did we even just a couple of generations ago.

 

(sorry to be a downer!)

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#5 of 8 Old 08-06-2011, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am ok with the food budget being as large as it is. I agree that things are only going to go up, and I am not going to give up the organics (unless something drastic happened).

 

BUT my real question then is how do I stick to the rest of our budget? How much do y'all really spend on clothing in a month (hubby and I work out of home as teachers)? How much on going out to eat? How much on kid's stuff? How much on gifts? I feel like I spend way too much on it all but don't know how to get it under control.

 

I think cash will be good and a starbucks gift card to budget me is a GREAT idea!

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#6 of 8 Old 08-06-2011, 08:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holidaymama View Post

I am ok with the food budget being as large as it is. I agree that things are only going to go up, and I am not going to give up the organics (unless something drastic happened).

 

BUT my real question then is how do I stick to the rest of our budget? How much do y'all really spend on clothing in a month (hubby and I work out of home as teachers)? How much on going out to eat? How much on kid's stuff? How much on gifts? I feel like I spend way too much on it all but don't know how to get it under control.


Well it sounds like you have a pretty decent amount each month to go toward savings and discretionary spending. I think it will be really hard for you to cut back unless you have some solid financial goals. WHY do you want to spend less? Are you saving up for something specific? Vacation, large purchase, hoping to work fewer hours in the future, etc? If you are just trying to save for the sake of saving, it will be pretty hard to sacrifice since you have the money and aren't under any financial pressures.

To answer your question, we really don't spend much (if anything) in those categories you mentioned.

We have simple wardrobes and don't need to buy clothes every month (I get bored with my outfits so it would be fun to have some new pieces, but it's not something we need so we just don't spend there).

We almost never go out to eat, but when we are in a better financial place, I'd like to be able to go out maybe once a week & spend maybe $10-20 (so average $60/mo) -- right now it's at about $0/mo!

My DS is only 2 so we don't spend much on kid's stuff, he gets hand-me-down clothes, I might buy him a $2 toy at the thrift store every other month, and we occasionally do a (cheap) paid activity with friends -- so total $5-10/mo, often less.

Gifts... we do some homemade gifts, and also keep an eye out at the thrift store for new-in-package things we can use for gifts... Target clearance rack is also a great way to get 'cheap' gifts... I'd say we spend $5/mo on gifts for other people (probably would cost up to ten times that if we paid full price). DH, DS, & I don't really give each other store-bought gifts throughout the year (birthdays etc.), we might spend up to $20 each for Christmas though.

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#7 of 8 Old 08-06-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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We don't go out to eat but once a month, if that.  I can cook it better and cheaper myself.  We buy thrift store clothes when necessary, or ThredUP or get hand me downs.  We only need to buy once or twice a year.  We recently bought for everyone in the household and spent a bit under $300 for all our needs (my dh's work boots cost $115 of it and all shoes we buy are new usually).  We don't buy gifts unless it's the holiday season, or a bday (and we often find cool stuff on freecycle or craigslist).

 

You have to find better ways to obtain your food.  Look into local rather than organic.  We barter for stuff, and recently were given 5 nice fat rabbits from which I'm going to get around 15 meals for free.  Be creative.  be creative with leftovers, too, and that reduces waste so much. 


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#8 of 8 Old 08-06-2011, 04:33 PM
 
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Gifts-BUY IN ADVANCE. Honestly Im so glad I have a gift cupboard. When dc get a gift thats not age approriate or I dont like in general I put a stickie on who got it for them and put it in the gift cupboard. When I see something on crazy sale I pick it up. I got an h&M sundress last year on the sales rack for $2.00 used my staff discount got an extra 25% off. Just gave it as a gift today at a bday party. Where if I went out to get a present last minute I would have spent over 20 easily

 

Buy "plain" gift wrap if you like to wrap. Big rolls of stripped unisex or plain colored paper goes for everyone saves on clutter and is cheap. Same with blank cardstock. Have your kids make peoples cards. Cheap and everyone loves them

 

Clothes for dc. I just dont buy them any. Seriously. I dont remember the last item of clothing I bought these children. Especially brand new. And if its brand new it has to be discounted by a very large amount. I get a ton of hand-me-downs and give a ton away. And when people ask what the kids need for their bday I'll be honest and say they dont "need" anything BUT they are growing out of xyz. People want to give useful gifts.

 

We dont go out very often. If we do its a walk thru the forest, a trip to the free zoo on our way to great-grandmas house, a friends house for a playdate, library for storytime ect. We dont buy books,movies or magazines. Sure I might have to wait for the newest magazines at the library but honestly am I missing out? Is it news that I need right away? We also dont have cable for the same reason. I can watch cnn online,watch all of my fave shows online. Why bother?

 

Food we don't budget or make a list...which I know is a no-no. Well list things we know we need-flour milk eggs ect. But we always leave it up to whats in season,local,organic,cheap,on the discount rack ect. Then Ill base my meals around that. I buy alot of produce on the discount rack. I got a huge bag of about 20 organic bananas for 1.49. And they were FINE. I made banana pancakes,muffins,smoothies but really dc gobbled them up. I also got a 5kg bag of seconds peaches for $5.00. I made pancakes,muffins,smoothies but again dc ate them up. Dhs work will know what fruit was on the discount rack by what type of muffin tray he brings in for everyone on monday.


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