I struggle with budgeting anything, but time and money are definitely the worst for me. I'm a huge procrastinator, and I'm certainly not opposed to a money budget, but it's stressful for me. Well, as it turns out, I'm sick of paying the car pmt. every month, we just acquired a bit more debt to build the garage, and as far as time goes, sometimes I feel like I'm stretched too thin. SO, Brent and I made a budget. The great part about budgeting as a couple, is that I only have to be in charge of the $ I spend, so I have three seperate budgets: groceries, gas, and personal. I'm on week three of the $60/week budget for groceries (food, paper stuff, diapers, everything!!!) and no problems. Back in the day, when we were really poor I did $40. I don't know if I'll try that again, but $50 seems like a good goal. Ther personal budget is harder :( I don't ever spend a lot of money on any one thing, but I do love a deal (anything under 50% off is NOT a good deal- trust me!), so it was really hard to pass up $2 shirts at Old Navy the other day. I was telling a friend about my grocery budget, and she didn't know how I could do it. It's not really that hard, here are the basics:
1. Cut down on cereal. At the CHEAPEST, cereal is about $1.89/box. Think about how many boxes you need. It takes up a lot of the budget. Oatmeal and eggs are cheap!!! Also, the batch of pancakes I made this morning cost me about $.20 Seriously.
2. Cut down on meat. As it turns out, you almost never need as much as a recipe calls for. Especially ground beef, you can usually use about 50-75% of what the recipe calls for, and you'll never notice the difference.
3. Shop at a bakery outlet. I get almost all of my really delicious, 100% whole wheat bread for $.65. The same stuff in stores is around $3, and I don't know about you, but we eat a lot of bread! Find one now!
4. Eat soup. I have about 5 soups that I make on a semi-regular basis. They're cheap AND easy. My favorites are: Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato Basil, Beef Vegetable, Chili, and Chicken Tortilla. The most expensive of these costs about $6 to make and can EASILY feed us for two suppers and a lunch. Not too shabby.
5. Aldi. If you don't have one near you, I'm so sad! I don't buy everything there, but I do buy most of my basics. $.50 canned veggies, $1.29 flour, $1.50/bag cheese, $2 butter, etc. I can sometimes find these items cheaper if they're on sale elsewhere, but the prices at Aldi are always the same- cheap!
6. Research/Make a menu I don't coupon anymore b/c I found myself buying things we don't need or want (a lot of coupons are for processed foods), but I occasionally run across some coupons for cheese or salad. I do however always look at my local grocery ads and plan my menu around what is on sale. SO, if chicken is on sale, we're not having chili.
7. Bulk Food Store. We go to a place in Shipshewana called E&S Sales, and I buy all of my spices there for dirt cheap. I also bought a 5 lb. bag of cocoa for about $6 and 1/2 lb. cinnamon for $2. That is not a typo.
Here's my favorite budget friendly soup-Chicken Tortilla. Price breakdowns and all!
1 lb. chicken breast, raw and cut into cubes- $2 (I won't pay more than $2/lb for it)
2 Tbsp. olive oil in bottom of crockpot- $.05???
1/2 onion, diced- $.25
2 cloves garlic, minced- $.10
1 tsp. cumin- $.05?
1/2 tsp. chili powder- $.05
2 can black beans, rinsed - $1 (I always get mine at Aldi for $.50/can)
2 cans dices tomatoes with green chiles- $1
1/2 bag frozen corn- $.50 ( I always buy the Birdseye super-sweet when its on sale for $1)
4 c. water
4 chicken buillon cubes- $.20
Stick it in the crockpot on high for 3-4 hours. I know I said earlier this was $6, that's because I like to splurge on a little cilantro ($.50/bunch) and some corn chips crumbled on top ($1/bag, but you won't use the whole bag . . .I hope :) Enjoy!!!