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Update: It’s been a whole year since we did this spending freeze and today we aren’t living on a $100 a month anymore. We can afford to buy healthier options and who knows if we would be in this position today if we had said, “We can only buy organic foods and fruits and veggies,” Especially during winter when hardly any fruits and veggies are in season and you pay more.
We are still strong and healthy today. The decision to stick to using my coupon matchup lists and buy the cheapest food at the time was well worth it. In the long
If you are on a tight grocery budget don’t feel bad for buying the food that is the cheapest during these times. You are taking one step towards a greater victory. Our victory is living in our farmhouse with land.
Let the Story Begin
My weekly Grocery Shopping trips have been missing why?
- Running two blogs is a lot to adjust to.
- My kids love me so much they never want to leave me alone 😉
- I have a husband.
- I put groceries away and then forget about the picture.
- We are in the process of moving.
But what’s coming for this new year new month?!
A Spending Freeze
I have actually for just about a year always posted my weekly grocery trips!
Now if you didn’t know, we are
selling our house. ( Updated 3/5 house no longer for sale!)
This is how we are sacrificing for the life we have always dreamed about! A house with land.
Bring on the bills.
But the thing is, we are going to have two mortgages. Let me tell you, we were supposed to close on our new house 12/18/16 Here we are Jan. 1st and still waiting for closing.
This process of moving is a faith tester. Once I heard we were not closing I just got a sense of God saying “I got this.” With finances you know it’s the hardest area to give complete control over to the Lord.
So with our closing being postponed, it gives us less time of paying two mortgages.
So with that praise comes the spending freeze.
Our budget leaves us– a whopping $100 a month.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Are you laughing as hard as I am?!
Seriously. It’s not funny.
Back to the Basics
So the reason I got on this crazy coupon saving frugal living was when I first stayed home with our first born. Then our income increased and our debt disappeared. We continued to live within our means but I had financial margin.
You know if I saw a cute home decor item on clearance at Target I could buy it. No guilt. No wondering if there was enough money in the account.
Those days are on pause until we sell this house.
So to hold me accountable and keep us in check I thought it would be funny- I mean inspirational! I can inspire myself and you to post what I am buying each week. Because with $100 a month I’m pretty much left with milk and fruit. Did I mention that is for everything?! Toiletries, all that.. 🙂 Only until we sell our house!
The first thing I did was create a just over 3-week dinner meal plan based on what we have in our freezer.
*Side note my husband is a hunter and we have chickens.
I believe many of you could take a look in your freezer/cupboards and come up with meals without even looking to see what is on sale at the store.
Below is the menu I came up with all items that we have in our house.
- Related: The List of Must Have Pantry Items
Here are the 22 meals:
- Chicken Pot Pies- I roasted a chicken and we have more than half left
- Ham and Scalloped Potatoes
- Venison Pockets with homemade cole slaw
- Clam Chowder
- Pancho’s Casserole( use venison)
- Homemade Pizza
- Christmas Gift of homemade soup in a jar
- Baked French Toast
- Chilli with cornbread( use venison)
- Venison Stroganoff
- Chicken Thighs with Sauteed Green Beans( Stocked up when they were $0.79/lb for thighs at Tops)
- Chicken Noodle Soup- use leftover chicken thigh meat
- Homemade Pizza
- Venison Sausage Soup
- Penne with Bacon + Spinach
- Chicken Lo Mein
- Baked Ziti
- Venison Stew
- Omelets with spinach and toast
- Fish Sticks and French Fries
- Spaghetti with homemade garlic bread
- Ham and Cheese Pockets( I made these when we had leftover ham and then threw in the freezer)
For lunch, it will be lots of ham sandwiches. I made a huge ham! This means I can only buy needs. I am anticipating it to be milk, flour, bananas, & apples. BTW- I bought milk at Walmart for $2.19 this week. I was allowing myself the convenience of buying milk at BJ’s and paying $2.59. Not anymore. Every penny counts 🙂
The thought that will get me through is knowing these times will pass. I do not have to live on a $100 a month for the rest of my life.
I’m working my spending muscle so that down the road I can buy something that brings me joy- debt and guilt free.
If you are on a tight budget put all the thoughts of wants aside. In reality, our culture tricks us into thinking we need so many things.
We don’t. We have all our basics. We can cut back and build our spending muscle so that we can have more in the future. Not that more means more stuff- but more as in contentment.
If you are on a tight grocery budget yes you may be eating food that others would turn their head around in disgust, boxed Mac & Cheese, Cereal and whatever else our culture says is terrible for us at the moment.
But it’s a season. It will pass.
Here are my top Tips We Used for Sticking to a Tight Monthly Budget:
- Buy as many food items you can using coupons. Use a coupon matchup list to get the cheapest price.
- Use Grocery Apps to add on the savings from the store
- Have a budget– If you don’t know how much money to spend- your money will go wherever it wants.
- Buy the cheapest cuts of meat. It’s best to ask your butcher for cheaper cuts to meet your needs. The quality isn’t less and many times tastes better and easier to cook with.
- Plan your menus. It’s a must. Use what is in your cupboard FIRST.
- Make your own snacks– think granola bars, cookies, muffins, pancakes, breads, rolls, pizza dough.
- Buy your household essentials at warehouse clubs if possible.
- Don’t go out to eat. Not even once. It may be very hard but don’t do it. Not even a fast food restaurant. You can make everything so much cheaper.
- Change your mindset. You can’t start every day proclaiming we only have $5 to spend today. Instead start your day thankful, grateful, and be resourceful. What do you not need today? How can you not spend any money? It’s just a season. This is not your life forever if you start making these changes today.
- Drink water. Don’t buy extra juice, soda etc.
- If you are a spender– figure out what drives you to spend. For example, my favorite thing to spend money on is home decor items. During our spending freeze I didn’t go to stores that had discounts on home decor items because even if it was on sale, when we did our budget there wasn’t any money for this. I did not tell my money to go there. So I didn’t go there. Plus this discipline of working your spending muscle leads to a much healthier satisfaction down the road.
- Don’t buy any new clothes unless it’s a must. We have kids and boy are the leggings made cheaply today. The knees always get a hole after about 3 months. If your kids are going through all their clothes, by all means, you need to have that in the budget, but thrift stores and online thrift stores should be the first spot to look. Yes as adults we can go a month or more without a new outfit.
- Use Eggs, Tuna, and ground beef frequently. These are affordable and you can stretch them. You can stretch ground beef by adding beans, breading and more.
- Ask yourself before you get to the checkout lane, is this a need or a want? If you have to pause to think about it, most likely it’s a want. Not during this season, but next season just watch how that item will be on sale.
- Have faith. For those who aren’t Christians, this may not apply, but you can always stay hopeful. Keeping the faith during our spending freeze was critical. We never had to go without and the Lord continued to bless us. The weeks we didn’t need grocery items and needed a household or personal care item, it always seemed to have a clearance price or coupon to bring it in alignment with our budget. You will be blessed during this hard time. Keep the faith.