(just to catch you up on how I did with my penny-pinching last month)
....that's how much I had left in my baby & miscellaneous budget at the end of October. Before you congratulate me, I had intended to save $150. I have to admit, I was pretty bummed at first. After all, I had worked so hard! Assiduously avoided home decorating stores! Abstained from making any non-essential baby purchases! But there it was. I didn't make it :(.
But I still learned a lot. One: that the miscellaneous category in my budget is code for Overspend Here. It's my catch-all, and it catches a lot. It also covers most of the unforseen-but-necessary payments in our budget, and for that reason, I cannot mentally spend everything that I have in that category. I've got to start leaving a little wiggle room for the things that come up. Like this month, when Vance's snack bill came due (!! :), the new ESV Study Bible we had pre-ordered was shipped (it's awesome, by the way! get yourself one!), and my driver's license had to be renewed. Which leads me to Two: I can make money an idol by wanting to spend it, or wanting to NOT spend it, and both are idolatry. After renewing my license, I left the building feeling distinctly grumpy....and then I realized, "hello! this is what money is for--to pay for the things we need!" My stingy-tightwad instincts were on overdrive, and I wasn't being grateful for the money to meet my needs. I was mad that it had to leave my grubby little hands.
So I'm trying to keep more mental room in my budget for the unexpecteds, and I'm working on being cheerful and grateful as I spend the money God has given me to meet the needs of my family. As per Dave Ramsey's reccommendations, I've also switched over to the cash system for the budget categories that are variable--food, miscellaneous, clothing, and baby.
My personal financial goal this month is to purchase all of my groceries (excluding produce, and the occaisional unbeatable deep down sale) at Aldi to see how much money I save doing that. I haven't shopped there since Isaac was born. I'll need to streamline my approach a bit....it was a challenge to get two kids, coats, shopping bags, and a quarter in hand to the store in the freezing rain, shop, pay, switch carts (and kids!), and then pack up. But it went surprisingly well for a first attempt, and I know what I need to do next week.
I'm curious to see what I can cook from food just from Aldi. I like to cook, and try new recipes, and that can be my downfall budget-wise. On the other hand, I would go nuts if I ate the same 15 things all year long, so we'll see if I can find that elusive happy medium. Wish me luck!
One money saver that I've had success with at this time of year: cook up a non-Thanksgiving turkey. I got one on sale for .78/lb, and for my $8 we had:
- roasted turkey with butternut squash and green beans
- turkey sandwiches for dinner with home fries and homemade applesauce
- a huuuge pot of turkey vegetable soup which lasted 2 meals plus extra for lunches and Claire's dinners (pick the meat off the bones and make a great stock with them!)
- enough meat for probably 9 or 10 turkey sandwiches for lunch (I really really love turkey sandwiches)
Not too shabby, eh? This week Rainbow is selling turkeys for .58/lb, so I think I may try it again with a different twist--maybe make tetrazzinni or an asian stir fry or chipotle tacos and freeze the stock for another soup sometime. Hey, tastes like chicken, right?
I wonder if my family is going to hate the sight of turkey by December.... :)