Monday, May 27, 2013

Marriage Monday ~ Money, Part 2

Finally!  A Marriage Monday post that hasn't been forgotten, photo cop-out post or one of those things.  I'm ready to get back into this if I can.

Last month we talked about our first Marriage Monday Money post.  It was a super duper quick back story on why we are using the Dave Ramsey plan and what we are doing.

This month, as promised, I'm going to write about our grocery budget, and how we make that work for US.  While this plan may or may not work for you I'm hoping it gives you an idea of someone else does it.

I've written about this before... way back when.  It was a post called "Menu Planning"  I wrote all about how I menu plan for our family.  Since then things have been adjusted but the main idea is still the same thing.  PLANNING! 

That's right.  Planning.  You have to plan.

I've started doing these devotionals by Dave Ramsey on my "Youverson" Bible App.  The second day has this paragraph about planning:

"Jesus taught a similar lesson when He talked about discipleship in Luke 14:28-30.  He said no one building a tower would move forward on construction without sitting down to "count the cost".  After all, quitting halfway because the resources dried up would make the builder a laughingstock.  The foundation for his tower would become a monument to his incompetence."

While I don't feel like Dave is saying "only try once and if you fail you suck" more of a "keep trying, budgeting, and PLANNING so you don't fail"  While setbacks happen, and he knows it, we have to keep trying, over and over and over again!

We plan our grocery budget out a lot.  When I was writing the menu planning post (3 years ago) our budget was around $200.00 per 2 weeks.  I did 15 days at a time.   So around $400.00 to $450.00 a month for me.

Since then our family has changed.  We now have 3 adults living in the house.  We are trying to eat healthier (which sometimes means more money) and we are generally careful with what we have to get. 

Not only do we have 3 adults in our house but 2 little boys who eat almost more than their daddy (depending on the day and the meal).  Things got a little more expensive.

I now grocery shop almost the same way.  The flyers are still a great help, and I love knowing sales and not.  I do keep an eye out for our staples (ie, nutragrain bars, cereal, prepackaged rice crispy squares, pasta, sauces, soups, anything pantry wise).  If those are on sale we grab them right away. A great example is today.  We went grocery shopping and spent about $160.00 for 1 week.  *I should say our budget for foods is $185.00 per 7 days/week*  While we were shopping we picked up 2 boxes of KD; 4 boxes of prepackaged rice crispy squares; 2 boxes of cereals; 2 cans of "sloppy joe mix"; 4 cans of soup; 2 jars of seasoning (we need 1 this week and they were a good sale); and 2 freezer garlic breads that were on sale.  Everything was at least 50 cents to 4 dollars off what they normally are.

This is the reason our budget is higher.  We have made "wiggle room" for items we want to buy at a later/earlier date.  It helps us a lot.

I spend some time planning out my meals.  While I'm not as "fun new meals" in our house, I do try new things.  And of those things I do try I attempt to make most of them with things I currently have in my house, not things I have to go and spend lots and lots of money on!

I plan out my meals for 1 to 2 weeks.  We have now made "days" in our house.  Days that certain items are served in/on.  For example.  Tuesdays are "taco Tuesdays" we have chicken tacos, beef tacos, wraps, taco lasagna, ect.  Wednesdays are "Waffle Wednesdays".  I make waffles in the morning and I have them at lunch as well.  I do make a few extra and put them in the freezer for the weekends when the boys want a waffle and I'm not up to make them.  The take them out of the freezer, toss them in the toaster and we are good to go!.  Thursdays, I try, most of the time, to do a Crockpot meal or something super simple as Thursdays are our most busy day.  Fridays are "Burger Friday".  We have quino(sp) burgers, chicken burgers, beef burgers, veggie burgers, homemade burgers, ect.  Anything we can think of.  We keep trying to come up with something new to make it work!

When I'm choosing the meals I try to get some input. Today was the best.  I asked everyone on the way home what they would like to have for dinners this week.  I got a response from Jack of "do you have any meals that have leftovers?" Which made me suddenly realized the past few weeks our freezer meals for the guys have gone down to nothing!!!  So that's the plan this week.

Our week looks like this:

Sunday: Sloppy Joes tonight (way to use up the buns left over from Fridays burger night)
Monday: Chicken pot pie (to get leftovers for the guys)
Tuesday: Beef Taco Wraps
Wednesday: Ramen Noodles with veggies (Kyler wanted noodles and I wanted asparagus)
Thursday: Pork and Hashbrown skillet (something super easy)
Friday: Chicken burgers
Saturday: Perogies and Bacon

When I made up the meals, taking into consideration what everyone wanted/needed, we ended up with this.

Our grocery list was a bit different.  I didn't have time to flyer shop (I swear I normally do) so we went to my "trusted store" and got everything.  Then to M&M's to get the last few things which I know are cheaper and taste better there, and one last stop at Walmart (while doing something else there) to get some hashbrowns because for some reason our grocery store doesn't sell the small cut hashbrowns.

When we got all of our groceries anything that needed to be packaged up or put away was done as soon as we got in the door.  If it's something to make it last longer we do it.  For example, our asparagus was so "woody and dry" at the bottom I cut some off and placed it in a dish of water in the fridge.  We will rinse any fruit we can and get things ready to be eaten right away. 

We do our best to make sure our groceries are bought when we will use them, and only how much we will use.

When I was doing my past Menu Planning post I found that most of our food was put in the compost or out in the garbage.  We just weren't using it up like we should have.  We still have that problem with a few things, but generally with only buying what we need and when we need it, this helps a lot.  Once a week grocery shopping has made this easier and better for us to only purchase what we need.

I've also found it good for our marriage.  When we were pregnant with Otis I had Arnold start grocery shopping with me.  For me, it was hard to push the cart so Arnold came to do the heavy lifting and keep me grounded while doing this.  Now it's just something we "like" to do together.  I'm pretty sure I enjoy it more but that's how it works!

I like having Arnold with me.  We talk about what foods we are eating, how much things cost and where our money is going, how our weeks were, any plans we have for the rest of the week.  And we have been so blessed to have Jack home most Sundays.  He will watch the kids, once they have been fed and we can go out alone.  If not we use that time as a "teaching moment" for the kids to understand costs of things, where items are found, how things are spelled, brand vs non brand foods, how to unload the cart, how to load the grocery bags, and using their manners when talking with adults. 

It's been a good experience.

At the end of June I'm going to write about our budget and how it works for US.  Please remember this is not the be all and end all on these topic I cover.  I'm writing this to share with you how it works for our family and for our needs.  Not every family and every needs will be the same. 

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