"I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
— L.M. Montgomery

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cutting Back

When we started paying off our debt the beginning of 2007 we made a promise not to get/have ANY credit cards. We will pay with cash, and save for the larger things. While we were paying off the debt our budget was very tight. There were times that the numbers didn't add up on paper, but we always had enough to cover everything. Thanks to odd jobs, patient land lords, etc. God really blessed our endeavors to be debt free.

Now that we are debt free (and buying our house) the budget looks a little different. We have enough money to set aside a nice bit of an emergency fund (big fan of these by the way!), and still have a bit of wiggle room. I handle getting the bill paid and such. This is a way I can serve and help my husband.

My system is simple. We have set bills that I have written inside of a folder. Some are paperless, while others still come in the mail. When a bill comes, I put it in the folder. Pay day is twice a month, and the bills are divided up accordingly. Payday comes, I grab out the bills that are due (or pay them online), mark on them when I paid and how much. The paid bills then get filed in a different folder. Simple and works for us. I also take cash grocery shopping. I have a set amount, and that's it. Its much harder to part with cash, then to just swipe the card (debit)or to write a check. We don't have many extra bills. Internet and Netflix are our "entertainment" bills.

I ran across a neat website: http://groceryshrink.com/

A while ago she set out to pay off their debt quickly and save money, in the process she shrunk her grocery budget to next to nothing for her good sized family.

I have ordered her book, and am going to challenge my self to cutting our food budget down. We spend about $350 (this is a high end amount, its usually a bit less) in food a month. I would love to spend $250 a month. That's $50 per-person. A savings of $100 that's can be added to our savings. I am thinking I can get it even lower, but that seems like a good start for now.

We are going to cut out eating out when we are in town (once a week), and buy our veggies at the farmers market on Wed. evenings, instead of the store (much better stuff anyhow!). We already eat mainly whole grains and order in bulk, but I would like to be better about using the things I ordered (like dry beans) and making sure I always have lots of rice, oats and such on hand. I ordered our beef in bulk as well as some chicken. We also raised 10 birds of our own to add to the freezer. It is so nice to have a freezer full of good, quality meat! I have my hens for eggs, and sell enough to pay for their food, making our eggs free. I would love to raise a steer for our selves every year, but I will have to think of a way to do that.

So, check out the website above and I would love to hear tips on how you all save money and/or shrink your budget. Any "getting out of debt" stories as well!

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