February is now gone and beautiful March is here. I love the beginning of every month because it means a fresh new budget and PAY DAY!
Last month I spent $201.43 for the grocery budget (not including any household supplies or personal items). I had a few things stored in the freezer to help keep the budget low, like cheese that I got on sale last year--November--and some beef Lee bought.
Some key things that help me stay in budget:
*Writing a menu before I go shopping
*Buying only what I need (sometimes I buy other things but I try not to stray)
*If I am not quite sure about how much everything is going to cost, I hold back items and see what the total is before I buy them. That way I don't have to ask to have the item voided--I just don't buy it.
*I look for coupons around the store...One luxury I have shopping on base is there are coupons all over. I rarely get coupons on the internet and I don't subscribe to a paper to get them either (which those are GREAT sources!)
*Lee eats lunch at home--we have either sandwiches or leftovers
*We don't go out to eat--we do go out to eat maybe 3 or 4 times a year and when we travel we like to stop at Little Caesars. $10 for dinner for a family of 7, not bad while on the road.
*We don't buy extras, hardly. I do buy apple sauce, animal crackers and pretzels at Aldi ($1 per box/bag) or cheese crackers at the commissary when they're a $1. Things like juice, lunch meat, cheese and yogurt are luxuries here. We have treats for Family Home Evening, Sunday night Conference talks and game/movie nights, but those are mainly things I bake from scratch; cookies, cinnamon rolls, brownies, etc.
*I have a little food storage money set aside each month. For March it's $30. Someday it will be higher. BUT, when fabulous deals come along, like cereal for $0.50 a box, I can buy a bunch and not worry about breaking the food budget!
The key though to all of this IS to have a budget and stick with the pre-determined spending plan. Budget, budget, budget.