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#1 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These are the areas that I think need some further attention in our budget and I'm curious to know what others spend typically each month. Maybe our spending isn't crazy high?? We are a family of four (children 4 and 2). 

 

Groceries?   We are meat-free and buy organic milk, organic produce (but mainly just the dirty dozen, the rest conventional), very little soy "meat replacement" items and spend around $750 but I hope to get it down to 600-650. We also have a healthy garden and are still eating from it: lettuce, kale, broccoli, squash and our frozen summer veggies.

 

Medical payments?   We pay close to $200 but that barely dents the debt! We are what I consider "under-insured" and no preventative care is covered (immunizations, annual exams, etc.). We're quite healthy but with two ER visits last spring, husband's minor surgery in May and misc. other visits, the debt still adds up quickly and we end up paying for it for years.

 

Dining Out?  We always "try" to keep it under $100/month, but it often creeps into the $150 range. Ideally, I wish we could go lower and spend only about $80/month (which is about two times eating out at our favorite brewpub).

 

The only other area in our budget that seems high to me is our utilities (350 for internet/phone/electric/city services). We're spending more than we make each month so it's time to really address our budget.

 

I'd greatly appreciate your feedback as I know that so many of you are so knowledgeable when it comes to frugality and finances!!! Thanks in advance.

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#2 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 03:31 PM
 
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I agree that some of those areas seem high. 

Groceries - maybe try preparing more from scratch? Processed foods and packaged foods can eat up your budget. Does that number include paper products and pet needs, cleaners etc? 

 

Do you qualify for state insurance? With that kind of payment would it be worth it to purchase insurance? 

 

I'm sure you know that "dining out" could be cut altogether... maybe start an envelope and pay cash when you have enough saved? 

 

I got rid of my home phone and internet and just have cell phones and a mifi. We dont pay for TV, but we can stream internet and netflix. Much, much cheaper. 

 

Hope this is helpful! 


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#3 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 03:51 PM
 
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Grocery cost vary a lot but this is a good chart to get an idea for avg. spending... http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

 

You seem to be between the low-cost and moderate levels.

 

Maybe drop the dining out as a seperate budget and only go if there is any left in the grocery budget at the end of the month.


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#4 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 04:06 PM
 
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Groceries - I'd say we spend around $450/mo... 3 people... Your cost seems a bit high but not astronomical. We do a lot of shopping at the discount grocer (bag your own kind of place) and that saves us a boatload. We get as much organic as possible (esp meat/eggs/dairy) but if we can't get organic anyway then I might as well go for cheap.

Medical payments - yikes, close to $300/mo, plus $750 premiums for insurance. greensad.gif This is a huge portion of our income. A lot of it is therapy copays for me & DS plus lots of dr. visits for my medical issues. I don't know how to cut back because we need these things!

Dining Out - 0? We really don't eat out (unless someone gives us a gift card or something). If we are out & about and didn't pack dinner, we stop at a grocery store for something cheap for a picnic.

Utilities sound high... what's the breakdown of that $350?

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#5 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 04:52 PM
 
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We're a family of 4(though my dad joins us for dinner a few times a week), and on average we spend ~500-600 a month on groceries. Our utilities are ~200-300 a month (we pay for electricity & internet). Eating out is unusual for myself & the boys, though DH tends to eat out at least a 3+ times a week at work - apparently most firefighters & medics eat out on shift. Drives me crazy, but at this point its not killing us so I try not to hassle him.
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#6 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 06:18 PM
 
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We spend about $600 per month on groceries, rarely eat out (maybe once every few months which would include takeout too), spend about $575 on electric/trash/water/cell phones/cable ($100 or so which is reimbursed for cell through dh's work) and a LOT on medical - some months maybe $500 not including what comes out of dh's check due to a pretty high deductible and other expenses that are not covered.  There are 5 of us here - 2 adults, 1 teen, 1 preteen, and a preschooler.

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#7 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 08:41 PM
 
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For a few months over the summer, I realized I was spending between $500 and $600 on groceries, which shocked me, because I used to spend about $250.  Since I made that realization, I've been meal planning a month at a time and really making sure I don't waste any food (which involves chopping and freezing veggies that are close to going bad).  My grocery costs have gone down to about $300/month for the last couple months because of these changes.  I make a big Costco trip at the beginning of the month (only getting things I need and will use) and spend about $100 there.  That leaves about $50ish for weekly trips mostly for produce and eggs.  I make a lot of meals with rice and beans and really make sure to eat leftovers for lunch.  Meal planning is the key to getting that grocery budget down.  I've also not been getting many fancy foods--I'm keeping it simple, and it's worth it for the monthly savings I'm seeing.  I'm a single mama with 2 kids, btw, so 3 people total.


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#8 of 27 Old 10-25-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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food:

500 / mth - budgeted for food, household stuff (dishsoap, detergent, etc); gas comes out of this too -  35 - 40 twice a month. Currently my son eats the free lunch at school and that now keeps me in this 500 / mth budget. This also includes food $$ during the day while Im at work.

 

100 / mth - dining out - we go to a decent restaurant once a week, some take / quick stuff another day a week (this doesnt cover it, but include this in the food budget and it does)

 

****

health care:

400 / mth for health insurance for my kids (2 kids). This is the subsidized program in my state. Dentist is included here. (minimal dentistry, I will have to save for braces if needed)

200 / yr budgeted for dentist for myself - that almost covers two cleanings / year.

300 / yr budgeted to go towards well visits for myself   (No health insurance for myself, although I will start to budget 300 / year for me - that's the price of 1.5 well visits (one doc, one obg). It doesn't include lab costs.  If Im sick and go to the doc, the appt $$ is less. Why am I only budgeting for 1.5 appts per year...I dunno, I havent gone for a few years so this is better then none.

~nothing / yr - vision. Im due.

 

****

Utilities

60 - landline & internet

10 / mth netflix (no cable tv)

$78.00 - $300 (highest in winter for a couple months) - gas and electricity.

 

This is for one adult and two kids 10 & 2.

 

I have approx 300 / mth disposable that covers anything that doesnt fit in or goes over


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#9 of 27 Old 10-25-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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I agree that $750 sounds a little high considering you don't do all organic and grow some of your own produce, but not outrageous, especially if you live in a high cost of living area. Our grocery bill is a tad lower and we shop the same way-- some organic, grow our own, etc. What gets us is snack food for the kids. If I was being really thrifty I would make our own crackers, granola bars, etc., but thus far I just haven't!

 

Have you looked into a cheaper option for internet/phone? Not sure how much of your utilities chunk those are. Do you have a landline and if so, do you really need it? As for electricity I'm sure you know these things already-- but be sparring with lights, unplug electronics if you're not using them, etc. Some things we do to keep energy costs down-- wash clothes in cold water most of the time, don't bathe/shower every day, we do have a dishwasher (new house came with it) but only run it once a week if we're in a pinch, cover our windows in plastic in the winter, I never turn on the AC (DH does but that's another issue!).  But with that said our utilities (for us internet/phone/gas/electric/water) we're around $175 in the summer and $350 in the winter. There's just nothing more to cut!

 

And there's not really much you can do about your medical bills. Hope you can get out from under that debt soon!


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#10 of 27 Old 10-26-2012, 01:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fruitfulmomma View Post

Grocery cost vary a lot but this is a good chart to get an idea for avg. spending... http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

 

You seem to be between the low-cost and moderate levels.

 

Maybe drop the dining out as a seperate budget and only go if there is any left in the grocery budget at the end of the month.

WOW!  Even on the thrifty plan, we still get $200 less per month for food stamps for our family of 4.  No wonder I have to get creative and stay vigilent about what we spend.


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#11 of 27 Old 10-27-2012, 04:28 AM
 
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Grocery cost vary a lot but this is a good chart to get an idea for avg. spending... http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

 

 

Very interesting and useful chart.  Thanks!

 

For our family, the thrifty plan comes out to $775 and the low-cost to $1025 and the moderate to $1315.  I believe I spend about $800-1000 including all toiletries, gardening supplies, cat supplies, and bulk food.  We buy organic and local as much as possible, and have special dietary needs (I am GF and all of us are dairy-free, no cane sugar and minimal soy).


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#12 of 27 Old 10-28-2012, 07:31 PM
 
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We spend a pretty insane amount of money on food; something like 8-950 per month. We do eat meat (organic, grass fed, wild etc) and buy all of our produce organic. I'm also a sucker for good cheeses, and whatever else..I like to think our food is a sort of health insurance :) In that budget I'm also including vitamins, and supplements we take (and those add up)

 

Medical: We do have health insurance but I barely use it, I make most of my own "potions" and healing stuff at home so I'd say that's a yearly thing and not so much monthly, since I buy in bulk once (sometimes twice) a year. My shrink (I take a prescription med) I see once or twice a year to make sure I'm a-okay and that's a few hundred dollars.

 

Dining out: We have two small children, so we don't really. Sometimes we order a pizza (only place available to us) and maybe once every few months we go on a date so $100?

 

And as far as Ultilities we have that triple pay thing that most people do (I'd imagine..) so that is about $100 per month for cable/phone/Internet. I actually PREFER to use my house phone so it works out perfectly.

 

The only thing I want to cut down on at the moment is food. I'm spending WAY too much 


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#13 of 27 Old 10-28-2012, 09:13 PM
 
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Over $700 definitely seems like a lot for groceries each month, especially being meat free and having most of your own produce. We are also a family a four, shop at Whole Foods and spend around $480 a month, including meats and produce, and almost all organic foods. I use a lot of coupons and plan out my meals for the week ahead of time (so I can search for coupons before shopping). Try emailing organic companies for coupons or searching the web. Also store brand foods will keep costs down.

 

Our utilities are pretty standard cost but I always unplug appliances when I am not using them as well as turning the lights off whenever we are not in the room. Also we hang dry all our clothing and do cold water washes. This seems to keep our electric bill down.

 

As far as dining out- we don't really. We tend to just go out for dessert or a coffee but have our main meals at home. If we ever do go out though, I have found restaraunt.com has great discount gift certificates to area dining.

 

My blog has a lot of saving money tips and budget friendly recipes if you want to check it out link is on my profile

 

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#14 of 27 Old 10-29-2012, 06:54 AM
 
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I'm going to check your blog out - thanks! 


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#15 of 27 Old 10-29-2012, 09:29 AM
 
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Thanks mommariffic! I hope you found it helpful :)

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#16 of 27 Old 10-29-2012, 04:13 PM
 
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Groceries: $650 or so, only a little organic (eggs and "dirty dozen" produce), and I feel it's too high, like I should be paying $550. I intend to stock up in a month or so on pantry and frozen goods and stop shopping so often, go with casseroles and soups and homemade bread all winter. I think I'll be counting my garden costs in the grocery budget next year and pray I can put up a lot of produce...first year it's unlikely though.

Restaurants: $150 or worse, especially when I've been sick (like the m/s in 1st trimester) or we've been travelling.

Debt: it's a mess right now because we're in the middle of selling and renting and buying, paying rent and mortgage at once, with inspections and required improvements going on. Ask me after we've settled all of those in Dec, we'll pay off a big chunk with the house sale and whittle away the rest fast as possible.

Medical: I pay my midwife out of pocket but my new one is so inexpensive it's amazing, all told I'll probably only pay her $1200 or less, hopefully paying on time won't be a hardship. Otherwise we've had no recent expenses. Our insurance is lame too, covers next to nothing and high deductible, so when we can start funding a proper emergency fund it will be reassuring. We don't use doctors for much but you never know when a big injury might happen.

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#17 of 27 Old 10-31-2012, 08:40 AM
 
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My husband and I always try to minimize dining out and really only do cheap lunch on Sundays or special occasions (birthdays) with friends. We're at about $60 per month.  One easy way to cut dining out is to offer to host dinner for friends.  It's always that dinner with friends that threw us over budget, and we found we only spend a few dollars per extra person when we cook from scratch, and often they bring the wine or dessert, so it evens out.

 

The important thing with dining out is to set the right incentives.  We do an allowance system.  Each of us gets 10% of our income for personal spending, and the rest goes to bills/savings/tithe.  For me that comes to about $220/month.  But the rule is that ANYTHING we need outside of food, home, car, gas and health comes out of our allowance.  This includes clothes, toothbrushes, coffee, movies, eating out, etc. It really cuts our spending by a lot because we each realize eating out means we are sacrificing a new pair of shoes or something we need more.  When we eat out with friends or treat someone who needs it (like the elderly woman we take to church), usually my husband pays at the table to simplify stuff and we split the cost later at home so it doesn't get awkward.  Sometimes my husband pays in full from his allowance if we have a date, or I'll treat us both to frozen yogurt if he's having a bad day.  We help eachother pay for gifts, and if we earn bonuses at work, they go fully into allowance since it isn't part of the typical budget.
 

I also agree that cooking from scratch saves tons--as does making lunch.  If you are making most of your food from produce, and limiting meat to 2-3 times a week you can save so much and it's much healthier!  We spend about $450/month on groceries--all organic.  Typical "pricy" treats include one $<10 bottle of wine, cereal (oatmeal is much cheaper, but sometimes I just want cereal), snacks for hubby to take to work (peanuts, granola, fruit).  I make lots of things from scratch with the help of a wholesale priced 25 lb bag of flour--pasta, bread, cakes, pancakes (never buy mixes!!), custard tarts, etc.  To really maximize savings without sacrificing health, making from scratch means EVERYTHING--even broth from bullion, and jello from fruit juice +gelatin.

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#18 of 27 Old 11-01-2012, 01:51 PM
 
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Well you don't say how many people are in your family. I have a family of 4 though. We are meat free and I try to buy organic or at least natural (less ingredients the better, pronounce all ingredients, etc). And lately my organic budget has been sliced way down due to costs. I do buy some "fake meat" options. We do eggs but not much dairy as everyone in my family has issues with it.  I spend at most $500? I don't even know because I grocery shop so sporatically and at different stores. When I do my main shopping I spend around $180 at that store. Then I fill in at Target and Aldi's when I need to at around $40-50 a trip.  And I'm trying to bring my grocery bill down! While I know natural, organic, and meat free is important I believe there are ways to be thrifty about it. I mean if you shop at say Whole Foods for everything, you're going to spend your "whole" paycheck.

 

As for the others, I don't think I'd be of much help. We live with my Dad right now. I pay $100 for gas & electricity each right now, He pays cable & internet, but when we lived on our own, we didn't have either of those. My husband drives a company car & uses a company cell so we save there.

 

Healthcare for us is $400 / mth plus $500 deductible for each person. So I don't have much medical bills right now. 


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#19 of 27 Old 11-01-2012, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies. It's so helpful to get an idea of what others spend in the areas I specified.

Greenlea, we are a family of four (two adults, 4 and 2 yr olds).

 

So after reading through the responses, it looks like there is quite a range from $500 (or less) to almost $1000, so I guess our grocery budget isn't all that outrageous. Still, DH and I are determined to keep it at $600 this month so that we don't go into the red AGAIN. We're really serious about it...we can't keep spending our savings. And $600 seems reasonable, right?! I mean, $150/week should be plenty for us although I know it will likely feel like we're scrimping.

 

I do think where we run into trouble is when we are out of fresh produce, bread, milk mid-week and we pop into the store and drop another $50 or so, then that really adds up. Also, I try to not buy too many snacks for kiddos (mainly stick to triscuits, apples, cheese, nuts for snacks), I do end up grabbing a few boxes of Annie's bunnies or applesauce packs for on-the-go eating.  I need to refrain from doing that but I do make my own granola bars (although nobody LOVES them), make muffins, breads, etc. for snacking so that helps a little. I would also like to make my own sandwich bread and would really appreciate a recipe if you have one to share. :) 

 

I do realize that dining out is something we could cut altogether, but I don't think that's feasible for us just because it's such a treat to eat out once or twice a month. It's definitely not often and we never go on dates (though we should...). We keep it pretty minimal but we do enjoy having a local beer and being somewhat social in our small town.

 

Thank you for the USDA food chart, also!

 

By the way, we don't have TV, and pay just about $10 a month for Red box or Itunes rentals, and that's pretty much our entertainment budget. 

I'll continue to check back because it really is helpful to read all of your replies!

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#20 of 27 Old 11-01-2012, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh ya, and it also seems as if our medical expenses aren't as high as I thought they were. I guess I'm surrounded by people who have excellent coverage and spend little to nothing on medical unless they have a surgery or procedure, whereas I have to pay $200 for a yearly pap (although I have skipped several years because I feel I can't afford it). Anyway, it's good to put that into perspective also. Our monthly would be much higher if I paid more than the minimum required to each of our medical providers but they let me keep it around $200/mo and I pay on that debt forever.

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#21 of 27 Old 11-01-2012, 05:21 PM
 
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I do think where we run into trouble is when we are out of fresh produce, bread, milk mid-week and we pop into the store and drop another $50 or so, then that really adds up.

How we avoid this (I shop only once every 1-3 weeks):
-stock up on shelf-stable produce -- i.e. apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, onions, etc. that don't go bad quickly
-fill the freezer with frozen fruit & veggies
-make your own bread, or buy an extra loaf or two & freeze it
-keep dairy-free milks (like tetra-packed almond milk, or cans of coconut milk, or nuts to make your own nut milk) that you can switch to mid-week when you run out of dairy milk

We live off fresh stuff for a week or so, then switch to mostly freezer/pantry for the second week. So no mid-week stops for groceries -- saves time, gas, and money. smile.gif
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#22 of 27 Old 11-01-2012, 05:25 PM
 
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Groceries.  I haven't checked my numbers as of late, bad mommy.  But it's usually about $800 /mo for our family of 6 (includes a 9yo boy, 6yo boy, 4yo girl and 2.5yo boy - all bottomless pits), sometimes 7 (when we have visitors, they stay several days to a week at a time).  Maybe up to $1000/mo when I'm not watching things as closely or stocking up on something extra - half a cow costs a bit more than $20.  We also are working towards eating more paleo-like (that's just what works for our family's bodies - you *don't* want to be near us if no animal fat/protein has been ingested in a day or three and it's just been grains).
I get milk from a local farmer, also use that to make yogurt sometimes and all our butter. 
I do a ton of canning and putting up for the year.  Like last week the grocery store had 28lb boxes of pears for $10.50, I snapped up as many as they'd let me, and now the 9yo and 6yo get to help me go through and can up a box of them tonight (today at the store, they had the same pears for $.98/lb).  It does typically include up to $100 eating out - a fancy dinner for a birthday or a date night for me and hubby (his work schedule is nuts right now, he's traveling/out of the house about a third of the time during busy times).  I buy things when on sale - today was a baking sale at the store, I stocked up on chocolate chips for the year.  When it was tomato season, I canned up all the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce we'd need for the year.  Helps offset when we get a half a cow and half a pig in the fall.  But my budget and grocery list aren't going to be particularly helpful or look like anyone else's since I don't shop *just* for the week, almost the opposite actually.  Today's grocery list was chocolate chips, mandarin oranges (walked in and they were super cheap), cream cheese (sealed bricks, it keeps in the fridge for 6-8mo for me), half and half, some deli ham, 10lbs of potatoes, brown sugar, Rice Chex (to make some Puppy Chow for upcoming events), provolone, and twelve pounds of bananas.

Medical payments...  I guess we're lucky there so far (knock on wood).  We don't currently have any medical debt.  My last three kids were born at home (no horrific hospital bill), and what few issues we have are easily controlled by fairly mild medication or homeopathics.  So if you want to count the FDA-controlled meds, maybe $20/mo if we buy internationally, $40-$100/mo if we buy domestically.  Probably an extra $20-$30/mo for the other stuff - arnica, sabadil, other Boiron homeopathic tubes, EO's, that kind of thing.  I've got a few medicinal things growing in the garden, it's just taking me some time to find them all and get them going how/where I want.  We're switching insurance companies again in January I think, so I don't remember what the numbers/percentages are anymore.  I do think we have a yearly family OOP cap at like $6K-$10K though, which is nice (we have some in savings, well, until we buy a car this year).

Utilities... We pay *much* less.  But.  That's because we live in a low COL area and heat our house with a wood stove.  We only have electricity/natural gas for a few appliances (stove, water heater, etc.), not heat.  We recently found out that our neighbors paid $400-$500/mo in electricity/natural gas.  Holy smokes, we're a tiny fraction of that.  Oh, and since hubby works from home, his work reimburses us the phone bill and internet bill now.  It's kinda neat (although the drawback to that is that I'm on the hook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all seven days of the week, oof).


If you belong to Costco, Annie's bunny crackers typically go on sale/coupon once a year.  Can't remember when it is though. 
Applesauce things... if you're talking about the pouches, Costco had a stellar clearance price months back, Amazon has okay subscribe and save prices.  Or, get yourself some of those cute 4-ounce or 8-ounce canning jars.  Get a giant jar of applesauce (or make it) and dole out in individual portions in the little jars.  If you use the canning lids/rings, they're pretty good at keeping liquids in (not so much with the plastic storage lids).
I like some of the recipes from The Prudent Homemaker (she feeds her large family just from her yard/pantry 80+% of the time) for ideas/inspiration.  Or once a month shopping may be more up your alley to some degree...  The Economides hit that concept pretty hard in their first book.


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#23 of 27 Old 11-01-2012, 08:43 PM
 
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We are a family of 5 and spend about $600/month on groceries.   That's pretty much food only.   I make my cleaning products and only buy laundry soap.  I meal plan for 2 weeks.  Including all snacks and meals.   It's a PITA sometimes, it's time consuming but it's cut down on our costs.   I am about to buy a 1/2 grass fed cow.  My older 2 (and DH) love milk, but my youngest has an allergy so she gets almond milk.  I can easily go thru a gallon in 2 days! With that said, I can't afford organic milk. I do a lot of "from scratch" and we don't do processed foods.  The only thing I will get is applesauce packets.  I've noticed if I spend the $$ on pre portioned snacks, not only do I find the wrappers everywhere, but they go quick b/c it's so easy for them to just grab something.  I buy only natural/whole foods.  'Cept I can't make bread b/c I suck at it!!!
I just splurged on Market Day (I'm the rep for my sons school and I get a discount), it's processed frozen crap, but I got veggies and cookie dough cups. 

 

Utlities (electric, gas, water, garbage, phone, cable, internet, cell) are about $600 (give or take, depending on the weather and season!) also.   We're pretty wired here, still have a land line.  But I was able to shave $80 by calling and telling them I was cancelling the land line (and I was able to keep my land line).  DH's cell is paid for by his work as is his gas.   My gas runs me about $100/month. 

 

We currently have no medical debt.  We're pretty healthy and I do alot of home remedies. I take the younger for WCV yearly and I haven't been to the dr in months.   The kids and I take fish oil daily, I also do glucosamine (sp) daily and just stocked up on vit d and c tabs for the winter sickies.  ;)   I do have an rx for my torn up knees, but I don't take it often only if my knee gets really stiff and swollen.   But that is only a $20 cost and I've done it once.  So probably about $70/on the vitamins monthly. 

 

We also don't eat out, maybe once a month we order pizza.  


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Lil' G 11/8/07
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#24 of 27 Old 11-05-2012, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I went shopping yesterday with our week's meal plan and my handful of coupons and I was pretty proud to come in just $24 over budget (I did do a few impulse buys of hummus and ice cream). My goal was to spend $100 and my total was $124. So now, the real challenge for us is to NOT go to the store again this entire week for ANYTHING, so that we can stick to our budget.

 

We do have a friend visiting that we haven't seen in years, so we'll likely go out to dinner one night, or perhaps just she and I will go out and I'll leave my family at home in order to cut expenses. Working to keep our dining out budget to $90 this month. It's doable..it really is!! 

Thanks for all your feedback.

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#25 of 27 Old 11-08-2012, 08:02 AM
 
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Geez- if you figure in our meat (which we raise ourselves for the most part) we are probably easily hitting $1000/mo.  My general grocery bill though is something like $650.  I buy organic if possible, have my own milk for most of the year, and bake my own bread.  We do spend tons of money on cheese though!  Holy smokes- about $100/mo on it.  My DH works really hard physically and would NOT be impressed with something like tuna and noodles.  So we are very heavy animal protein and some produce thrown in,  Very little grain- the kids and I have oatmeal, some bread and biscuits though- but all organic and home-made.  I have started buying lots of fruit and freezing it- which has helped a lot.

 

Utilities- our electric is about $100, cells $115, Internet $80, +heat (lp is so variable- but probably $1500-2000/yr)

 

Health- $245/chiro, $200/dental and accident insurance, $355 for health sharing.  We only see the dr when someone is bleeding as a general rule :)  

 

What gets me is how much we spend in gas- holy smokes.  Not really any way to combat that one though....


Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014

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#26 of 27 Old 11-08-2012, 12:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTCfirstofmany View Post

The important thing with dining out is to set the right incentives.  We do an allowance system.  Each of us gets 10% of our income for personal spending, and the rest goes to bills/savings/tithe.  For me that comes to about $220/month.  But the rule is that ANYTHING we need outside of food, home, car, gas and health comes out of our allowance.  This includes clothes, toothbrushes, coffee, movies, eating out, etc. It really cuts our spending by a lot because we each realize eating out means we are sacrificing a new pair of shoes or something we need more.  When we eat out with friends or treat someone who needs it (like the elderly woman we take to church), usually my husband pays at the table to simplify stuff and we split the cost later at home so it doesn't get awkward.  Sometimes my husband pays in full from his allowance if we have a date, or I'll treat us both to frozen yogurt if he's having a bad day.  We help eachother pay for gifts, and if we earn bonuses at work, they go fully into allowance since it isn't part of the typical budget.

 

This leaves me scratching my head.  Not judging, just trying to understand.  It seems to work for you guys, but what if your husband for example got a huge pay raise and was making tons more than you (or vice versa) - wouldn't that lead to a little resentment if you go by percentage of income to spend on personal stuff?  Or what if one of you got ill or laid off, or wanted to stay at home with a child for a while?  Again, I know this works for you guys now and I imagine you two would be able to work out an alternative if it was no longer working for you - but I was just wondering if you had a plan in place for situations like that.  Is there any time when you would combine your money for personal stuff as well?  (Not just for bills etc - but for personal needs.)  As a disclosure,

 

I can't possibly imagine not sharing funds with my husband - what's mine is his etc.  When I was working and he wasn't, or when he was getting a check and I wasn't... even my inheritance went into our shared money pot.   We have an allowance system too - right now it's $200 per person but it works by taking the amount that we're not spending on bills or putting into savings and dividing it down the line.  We use the allowance in similar ways - like whoever wants to go eat out picks up the bill, or if we need new clothes etc.  But we always have the same amount to spend, in theory.  (OTOH in practice, he usually spends a bit more because his wants are more expensive, so I spend a bit less out of my money to even it out, since I don't really have any expensive wants.

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#27 of 27 Old 11-21-2012, 12:10 AM
 
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I would say definately cut out eating out and the little packaged applesauce and such.. buy a big jar and some tupperwares and package it yourself. If you do eat out, always use a coupon, like groupon or livingsocial or restaurant.com

I see you like redbox.. sign up for their emails or text and use their promo codes.. they send me one for .50 off every weekend.. also maybe your local library has a good movie selection=FREE!


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