Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm featuring Erin's blog in my comments today, because I've been contemplating the amazing budget she uses to provide for her family. I certainly am no where close to her ability at saving, but I am improving and she has helped me see some areas where I can improve my budgeting and spending habits.

She explains how here budget works in a simple document that is linked on her blog. I printed it off, and have been making a few notes on changes I can make.

Erin spends, on average, an amazing $15.38 a week to feed a family of four, plus the two dogs. Even Crystal over at MoneySavingMom spends about $40 a week, which is more than double Erin, and Crystal is very frugal. I'm amazed by both these moms, and feel like they've set the bar a little higher for each of us trying to live with a frugal and healthy budget. So, I'll have to make some changes in order to lower my budget.

One of the first changes I need to make is to add the rebates and refunds I get from budget items back into the grocery budget. This is one of the "tricks" she uses to keep rolling her grocery money, just like we roll the RRs at Walgreens.

I also need to learn how to earn more gift cards. Currently, I have $30 in rebates pending from Walgreens, but that is the only gift card I have going at the moment. I'll be watching for more gift card earning opportunities in the following year.

One thing I will not be doing is using a credit card for my purchases. While Erin does this well, I've not mastered the discipline of spending with a credit card. I don't have a problem using a credit card, but I think, for me, I need to see the cash leaving my wallet. It makes me constantly aware of how much I am spending, and how much I have left.

My personal goal is to always have money left over at the end of the pay period, since the fool spends all that he has or gets, according to Proverbs. That money is tucked away for a later day. I didn't learn to have a "rainy day fund" when I was growing up, but I have one now, and I like the flexibility of it. If I want to bless someone, or hear of an immediate need, I can give out of my abundance. I like that.

I need more insight into where I'm overspending, or where I can cut the budget further, so any ideas and comments are appreciated!


JANE4girls said...

wow you are so sweet for featuring me. You are also taking the right steps to lower expenses by making a plan.

I have been at this for several years and with the help of others and finding deals have been able to get by on less money than people thing possible.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I don't see how Crystal does $40 a week and $15 a week is beyond amazing!

I agree with you that credit cards are not for me. I try to use them occasionally for deals. For example during this holiday season my Old Navy VISA was offering extra points so I used it for my groceries a few times and earned a $10 off Old Navy certificate. While that is good, I noticed it was harder to keep track of my grocery spending when I used that CC.

I am really trying to stick to an all-cash envelope system. Every payday I take the cash out of the bank and put it in envelopes. It seems for us that the money in the bank somehow mysteriously disappears. Obviously I leave the money in the bank for bills that I write checks for--the house, utilities, etc. But for tithe, groceries, gas, my son's allowance, etc., I put the money in envelopes.

My husband and I have a little extra work we do on the side out of our home and that little extra paycheck was always somehow getting spent. Now I cash those checks and put them in their own envelope and I am happy to say that they are piling up!

We have always been pretty good at budgeting, but I want to start putting the leftovers into savings at the beginning of the pay period, rather than waiting till the end to see what's leftover. I think that way if we see the money as gone it will help limit our spending.


Nessa said...

Erin has really helped me a lot as well. Really setting the bar higher as far as living frugal is something I want to focus on in the coming year.