Grocery Budget Check Up Week 8

 

How are you doing on your grocery budget this week? Our pantry was pretty full after last week’s shopping trips, so I made a quick run to Publix yesterday and that was it for the week. We’re eating a lot from what we already have on hand, and I’m working really hard to be resourceful with what’s in the kitchen rather than making an extra trip to the store.

 

Guess what? It works!

 

We spent just $23.42 this week at Publix (while saving $27 – not all that exciting but I’m still keeping life simple around here), and I may use some of our extra cash this week to pick up fresh fruit at Sam’s Club or Aldi.  So, nothing too exciting to report, but I’m thrilled to be way under our grocery budget for the week, leaving me extra moo-lah to spend on the things I really love to buy. ;)

 

 

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I’m still keeping tabs on my grocery expenses with just an envelope each week ~ you might want to do the same thing to hold yourself accountable too!   I’m amazed at how much that’s helped me stay on track this year – just knowing that I’ll have to account for whatever I purchase in that envelope really makes a difference.

Have you stock to your grocery budget this week? Remember that couponing is not a competition, but I do encourage you to do the very best you can do with what you have right now ~ you have the power to save so much on your grocery budget in 2014 if you really determine to do it! Feel free to also share how you’ve been doing in the comments section, and we’ll work on it together. ;)

 

Share how you’ve done this week by clicking HERE ~ I love hearing from you!

(You can also download this free printable monthly budget spreadsheet if you’re new to budgeting ~ go HERE to get yours.)

 

New to budgeting and don’t know where to begin? Here are a few posts to you get started:

 

 

Easy Ways To Save $10 Each Week

(See how we enjoyed this frugal feast last summer for just $1.49)

 

Over the last few months while I’ve had some anxiety about our upcoming move, I’ve really buckled down on how I spend every penny each week. As I’ve shared before, we take out a certain amount of  money every two weeks for groceries, miscellaneous expenses and eating out, and for the fourth time in a row, I think I’ll come out this week ahead of the game. Success! 

(Here’s when we spent $3.49 on dinner - love that!)

Here are a few things have worked for our family and might work for you too:

 

Eat at home. I can’t tell you how many nights in the past few weeks I’ve wanted to skip cooking and pick up dinner on the run, but determining to use what I already have on hand has saved us anywhere from $25-$50. Last night when we had a last minute showing of our house I really (really!) wanted to skip cooking (my menu plan flew right on out the window), but instead glanced in the freezer and found salad, ravioli, and garlic bread. My kids were thrilled (they love ravioli night), it took me less time to prepare than a trip through the drive thru would, and easily saved us $20.

 

Take advantage of the leftovers. So often I pop our leftovers in the fridge, and then let them hang out there until they turn green enough for me to throw them out. ;)  I’ve really been trying to make myself eat the leftovers while I’m at home for lunch (you would think I’d be doing that already, right?), so that we’re not wasting any of the food that’s been cooked at home. This has easily saved me $10 each week , and I’ve felt so much better not letting all that food go to waste!

 

Use what you already have. Last week after making breakfast for dinner our home reeked of bacon. I wanted to bake a batch of brownies so our home would smell a little sweeter when people came to look at the house (I’ve  heard brownies work wonders for home sales), but when I got to the pantry we were all out of brownie mixes (eek!) Instead of heading to the store and paying full price for a box mix, I remembered the fourteen bags of chocolate chips I stocked up on at Dollar General a few weeks ago. Then I found this recipe on All Recipes, and just used what we already had on hand. Do that a few times a week, and you could easily save $10 if not more!

 

Plan ahead. My kids seem to always have some kind of school project lurking around the corner, so the last time I was at the Dollar Tree and found their project boards for $1 (and poster boards for even less), I stocked up and bought 6 sheets of poster board and 4 project display boards. (I typically only buy what they need, but it drives me nuts to have to pay full price!) Since those boards can cost up to $8 a pop at the local office supply store, this was such an easy way to save $10 simply by purchasing the things I knew they would use at the very best price I could find them.

 

Now, I know none of these ideas are earth-shattering, but they WORK, and really can help you reach your financial goals. If you’re in a place where you need to scale things back financially, consider coming up with ways to use what you already have, and really trim out excess things you can live without each week. Ultimately, we’re in charge of every dollar we spend, so let’s choose wisely where it goes!

 

Have you come up with any easy ways to eek out an extra few dollars each week? While $10 doesn’t sound like much, it adds up to a whopping $520 a year, and there are plenty of things I could find to purchase with an extra $500 bucks.  Also see how our family saved $320 in less than five minutes, and share your ideas for pinching an extra few pennies each week too!

 

  Are you working on your 2013 taxes? Be sure to read this post on How To Save On Your Taxes Today ~ it will save you money and time (promise!) Also easily save hundreds each year just by making sure you’re getting the best price on Homeowner’s Insurance ~ it worked for us, and can definitely work for you too.

Grocery Budget Checkup Week 7: Lots of Shopping!

 

I completely skipped last week’s Grocery Budget Checkup while we were in Disney (and didn’t do any grocery shopping), but this week it was time to stock up! I hauled my two older kiddos to Kroger early in the week to stock up on produce with the $25/$50 coupon that was available a few weeks ago (it did work for me) as well as some Angel Soft toilet paper, and goodness, those kids can stock up on some fruit.

 

 

We easily hit the $50 mark and even went a little over, but our fridge is now stocked with apples, strawberries, cantaloupe, grapes, carrots and salad. My kids love fresh produce, so I’m happy to be stocked up even if we spent more than I’d planned!  Here’s where our money has gone this week . . .

  • Target: Spent $4.31 (I used a $5 Target gift card I had from a recent purchase)
  • Walgreens: Spent $3.27
  • Kroger: Spent $45.05, Saved $40.98
  • Publix: Spent $23.15, Saved $23.07
  • Total = $75.58

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I’m still keeping tabs on my grocery expenses with just an envelope each week ~ you might want to do the same thing to hold yourself accountable too!   I’m amazed at how much that’s helped me stay on track this year – just knowing that I’ll have to account for whatever I purchase in that envelope really makes a difference.

 

I just added up my totals (beginning January 16), and we’re at $303 which comes out to a little over $50 per week. I’m pretty content with that! Especially since I’m using almost only printable coupons right now (I just can’t find the time to keep up with all the inserts), shopping strategically and using the discounts I can easily find is definitely working for our family.

 

Have you stock to your grocery budget this week? Remember that couponing is not a competition, but I do encourage you to do the very best you can do with what you have right now ~ you have the power to save so much on your grocery budget in 2014 if you really determine to do it! Feel free to also share how you’ve been doing in the comments section, and we’ll work on it together. ;)

 

Share how you’ve done this week by clicking HERE ~ I love hearing from you!

(You can also download this free printable monthly budget spreadsheet if you’re new to budgeting ~ go HERE to get yours.)

 

New to budgeting and don’t know where to begin? Here are a few posts to you get started:

 

 

Are You Going The Right Way?

piggy bank images

 

I have a tendency to get lost way too easily when I’m driving. It happens all too often, almost every time I visit a new area, because I simply fail to devise a plan before heading out (and am a little navigationally challenged to begin with.) :)

 

Once I was driving in Atlanta (on Peachtree Boulevard, of course), and sure enough, got lost.  Now I wasn’t horribly lost. . . I could almost see the road I needed to be on the entire time I was turned around.  But for the life of me, I just couldn’t get my car steered in the right direction.  Here was the problem:  every time I recognized I was heading in the wrong direction, I turned around, checked my map for directions, and then *hoped* I’d make the right turn, but never really determined a plan.

 

I never really understood where the map was pointing me, but kept hoping that if I made a different turn, eventually I’d end up in the right place.  After about twenty minutes of one-way streets, no-left-turn signs, and u-turns through tiny parking lots, I finally was headed in the right direction: home.

 

It’s so easy to do the same thing with our finances. Instead of putting our financial goals into action, we turn back and forth, not sure where we’re going and without any sense of direction and purpose.  We want to see a change in our finances, but simply fail to come up with a way to get there. (I understand, I do the same thing all too often!)

 

Without a written budget, there’s no way to know for sure where you’re going. Whether you have a simple pen and paper budget or use a basic spreadsheet in excel, sitting down and writing out the plan for your pennies each month can transform your future. (You can also download our family’s free budget spreadsheet for an idea on where to get started.)

 

Do you use a cash budget and have you found a difference in your spending because of it?  Or, are you struggling with starting one and trying to determine where to begin?  Today’s a great day to start. . . make a decision to decide where you want your money to go right now!

 

 Are you working on your 2013 taxes? Be sure to read this post on How To Save On Your Taxes Today ~ it will save you money and time (promise!)

 

How To Save On Your Taxes Today

Have you started filing your taxes yet this year? Dealing with taxes is one of those things I never look forward to, so I’m so thankful that we have a tax specialist who handles most of the work for us.

 

As much as my husband and I enjoy pinching a penny, we’ve never done our own taxes in hopes of saving an extra buck.  Using someone we know (and trust) to handle our taxes has saved us hundreds (maybe thousands?) of dollars over the last fifteen years.  Because their daily business is working on taxes, they know the ins and outs of the tax code, are aware of deductions that we’re clueless about, and they know our family personally (so they’re always looking for additional savings that work for us!)

 

Here’s what our tax preparer handles for us:

  • Let’s us know what paperwork needs to be completed prior to starting our taxes.
  • Updates our taxes with additional deductions that are available.
  • Looks for even more ways to save on our taxes both for the current year and in the future.
  • Completes all the tax forms necessary and submits them to us to look over and sign prior to filing our taxes for us.

 

Unless you’re very savvy at filing your own taxes, it’s possible you’re paying too much. People who hire tax professionals save time on their taxes and usually get a greater returnUsing a tax professional to tackle your taxes will help you find ways to lower your taxes in the future, as well as ways to save on your current taxes this year.  And you can’t beat the the freedom of having someone do the hard work for you while  you save both money and time!

 

If you’re looking for a good tax preparer in your area, go HERE to find one of Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers already working in your area. It won’t cost you anything to get in touch with them, and most likely they’ll save you money right away this year, which you can use on things you really love. (Because who wants to throw extra money towards taxes that could be well spent somewhere else?)

 

Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Provider program is a great place to start looking for a tax help, savings on insurance, a realtor, or even investing advice.  Find out how you can get in touch with a tax professional who’s partnered with the Endorsed Local Provider program in your area!

 

Do you typically do your own taxes, or do you choose to have someone else do them for you?  If you’re not sure where to start, go HERE to find out using a pro can save you $800 or more! 

 
This is a sponsored by Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers, however all opinions are my own.

 

 

Grocery Budget Check Up Week 5: Spent $51.41

 

 

How’s your grocery budget looking this week? As I have so much on my plate right now, I haven’t been able to shop as much as I’d like (so I’m oh-so-thankful for my little stockpile!)  I did make a quick run to Publix for their best deals earlier in the week, and also stocked up this morning at Dollar General Market on fresh fruit and milk to get us through the weekend.

 

While I was at Dollar General I thought I need to start making a weekly trip on Saturdays when they offer their $5/$25 coupon, because I could easily find $25 to purchase there in just produce and milk alone (plus I need to check, but I think they have some great deals on paper products and a PPP reader mentioned she loves their prices on coffee!) I also ran to Target for the M&M deal earlier in the week, so now we’re stocked up for Valentine’s Day. ;)

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(I’m still keeping tabs on my grocery expenses with just an envelope each week ~ you might want to do the same thing to hold yourself accountable too!)

 

 

Here’s where our grocery budget went this week:

 

  • Publix $38.17 (saved $45.07)
  • Target $2.59 (saved $6.53)
  • Dollar General Market $10.65 (stocked up on produce)
  • Total: $51.41 
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I also swung by Bruegger’s this morning to score a few free bagels (my kids are going to be so excited.) ;)
Have you stock to your grocery budget this week? Remember that couponing is not a competition, but I do encourage you to do the very best you can do with what you have right now ~ you have the power to save so much on your grocery budget in 2014 if you really determine to do it! Feel free to also share how you’ve been doing in the comments section, and we’ll work on it together. ;)

 

Share how you’ve done this week by clicking HERE ~ I love hearing from you!

(You can also download this free printable monthly budget spreadsheet if you’re new to budgeting ~ go HERE to get yours.)

 

New to budgeting and don’t know where to begin? Here are a few posts to you get started:

 

 

Budget Check Up Week 4: Use Your Stockpile!

 

 

How did you do this week on your grocery budget? It’s been one of those crazy-busy weeks around here, so I didn’t have much time to shop (which always helps my grocery budget!) I’m so thankful for my little stockpile (and cleaning out my freezer a few weeks ago), because we had plenty of food already on hand which made life so much easier.

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(I’m still keeping tabs on my grocery expenses with just an envelope each week ~ you might want to do the same thing to hold yourself accountable too!)

 

Here’s where our grocery budget went this week:

 

We ate out a little big more than we planned last weekend plus had some unexpected other expenses pop up, so I needed to stick to my budget. I’m tickled that we made it through the week with $3 to spare! ;)  We typically take out a certain amount every two weeks for groceries, eating out, and other miscellaneous expenses, so I was glad to be able to save on our groceries to have extra cash for the other items we needed this week.
Try keeping your receipts together too so you can see exactly where you’re spending your grocery budget, and then you’ll know where your money has gone each week. I’m amazed at how that just keeps me mindful during the week of wasting money without thinking about it, because I know I’ve got some accountability for it! Feel free to also share how you’ve been doing in the comments section, and we’ll work on it together!

 

Share how you’ve done this week by clicking HERE ~ I love hearing from you!

(You can also download this free printable monthly budget spreadsheet if you’re new to budgeting ~ go HERE to get yours.)

 

New to budgeting and don’t know where to begin? Here are a few posts to you get started:

 

 

Free Guide to Budgeting From Dave Ramsey

 

Love, love, love this! Right now you can download your free Dave Ramsey 2014 Guide to Budgeting.  After sharing our grocery budget goals for 2014, this little freebie comes just at the right time!

 

You may also want to check out Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Provider program if you’re looking for a realtor, tax help, or even investing advice.  Consider talking to an ELP to help you work on your 2014 taxes also!  Find out how you could benefit using an Endorsed Local Provider ~  click here today for free help.

 

 

Love a bargain? Find more freeb stuff HERE.

Grocery Budget Check Up Week 3: Saved By Eating At Home

How did you do this week on your grocery budget? I spent a bit more than I have over the last few weeks (mostly because of some great sales that I didn’t want to miss), but stocked up on a ton of groceries. I was most excited though because after cleaning out the freezer last week I realized I already have a bunch of meals right in my kitchen, so this weekend we managed to eat out just one time on Sunday after church (which is the best we’ve done in awhile around here!)

 

Here’s where our grocery budget went this week:

 

  • Dollar Tree: $3 for bread (plus more for school supplies)
  • Publix: $51.99 (saved $87.09)
  • Kroger: $6.98 (emergency – realized I needed snacks for my daughter’s Upward game at the last minute!)
  • Publix Trip #2: $5.45 (saved $15.34)
  • Dollar General $17.02 (stocked up on clearance items plus milk, fruit and veggies)
  • Total: $84.44
So while I was just under my $85 goal for the week, our pantry is stocked and I already have everything I need to make my absolute favorite Baked Spaghetti recipe (so we can stay on track again this weekend!) One thing that I’ve realized in the past is that I often look forward to the weekend as a time to get a break from cooking, but as our weeknight schedules have gotten crazier (and I’m cooking less and less full meals during the week) it’s nice to be able to cook more on the weekends when we’re actually home.  Eating out of our freezer last weekend easily saved us $50 over what we would spend on a dinner out ~ success!

 

If you need to change your grocery budget in 2014, I encourage you to hold yourself accountable to make changes each week. Keep your receipts together so you can see exactly where you’re spending your grocery budget, and then you’ll know where your money has gone each week. I’m amazed at how that just keeps me mindful during the week of wasting money without thinking about it, because I know I’ve got some accountability for it! Feel free to also share how you’ve been doing in the comments section, and we’ll work on it together!

 

Remember that your grocery budget is the one area in your family’s finances that you have so much control over simply by purposefully shopping the sales ads and using a few coupons, and you really can change how your family spends this year.  Share how you’ve done this week by clicking HERE ~ I love hearing from you!

(You can also download this free printable monthly budget spreadsheet if you’re new to budgeting ~ go HERE to get yours.)

 

New to budgeting and don’t know where to begin? Here are a few posts to you get started:

 

 

Help! How Do You Save When You’re Eating Out?

 

If you’ve hung out on Passionate Penny Pincher for any length of time, you know that spending lots of money on food (which just gets eaten and then is gone . . . ), is something I just don’t enjoy (at all!)  However, as I looked at our schedule this fall, I realized that there was no way that we could eat at home on Monday nights.  (Between just three children, we have up to six activities between 4 PM and 9 PM . . . crazy.)

 

Last year we struggled through and tried to grab sandwiches in a mad dash early in the afternoon, but as the 3-4 o’clock hour is now taken over with homework, there’s no (reasonable!) way that I can manage dinner at home this one day of the week . . . anyone else have one of those nights on their schedule?

 

While we don’t eat out much, and certainly not very extravagantly, even two to three meals out per week can really hit a budget when you’re feeding a family of five (especially when one of them is an 13 year old boy!) And, while I know that fast food isn’t always the healthiest option and wouldn’t be my first choice most nights, by limiting the number of meals that we do eat out I feel like it’s occasionally worth the splurge to save my sanity.

 

So, I’ve been trying to come up with a few inexpensive restaurant meals on the cheap those nights that dinner at home just isn’t going to happen.  Here are a few we’ve far:

 

  • Little Caesar’s Pizza and Crazy Bread (using $1.99 Crazy Bread coupon):  Paid $7.02 for dinner by bringing drinks from home.
  • Subway $5 Fotlongs:  Paid $10.24 for 2 footlong Subs by bringing a can of Pringles along with drinks from home
  • Jack’s (using Buy One Get One Free coupons from Enjoy the City booklets): Paid $12 for 4 cheeseburgers, fries & drinks
  • Sam’s Club (everyday low price!):  Paid $12.45 for 5 slices of pizza with drinks

 

And here are a few more restaurant deals to try on our list . . .

 

We’ve really watched our dining out expenses these last few weeks, and have managed to save $75 in just two weeks by planning our meals out in advance, always ordering water (which is hard some days, but saves almost $10 per meal!), and trying to eat at home on nights when we don’t have a crazy schedule. I was pretty shocked when I saw just how much money we saved just by changing a few habits; which means maybe my hubby and I can enjoy a movie night out with our savings! :)

 

What tips do you have for saving on your family’s budget while eating out?  Please leave a comment to share (I need all the help I can get on this one!)


Looking for more budgeting tips? Check out this post on how we’ve found financial counsel using Dave Ramsey’s ELP program ~ read more HERE.



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