Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Frugal Crucifixion

Stay calm! Take a deep breath and try not to hunt me down. I'm sorry, I'm saying 12 frugal hail Marys. I keep telling myself that to fail is to learn but why did my budget and savings have to suffer. So my total for our month of healthy eats was $603.69. Yuck, its like bile on the tongue. So it was $150.92 a week for four weeks. And it was a meal plan that none of use were really happy with. We thought we would love having fish twice a week but it wasn't as well received as we had hoped. And because I suck in the kitchen a lot of times Den had to come home and cook. I wasn't even going to chance ruining a salmon fillet. And that made me feel really bad like I wasn't taking care of my family. Awwwww, it almost sounds like I'm trying to be a good wife and mom.
But a few good things have come out of this heart wrenching experience for me. And yes, it is heart wrenching when you are as frugal as me. Two weeks in to this mess, Den and I had a talk about how much we were spending. So we are going to divide and conquer. After work on Fridays, he is going to go to some of the ethnic stores on his was home and buy their loss leaders. I'm going to do the same around here and try not to spend too much in gas. And then once a month, I'm going to go and pick up our staples from Woodmans(30-35 minutes away but the cheapest around).
I also, went to the library and picked up a few budgeting books. Most of it is a brush up but Den is really starting to get into it. So it would be great if he would happily get involved. We will see but he seemed to like the idea of freeing up some money so we would be able to do some fun stuff.
So it looks like I will be doing more work on our monthly grocery list and our monthly budget. Oh well, its not as if I have anything else to do.;)
And of course, I will keep you posted!
Thanks for stopping by,
SonyaAnn

PS- Look what I found under the tree in the front yard! The funny thing is just a few feet away there is still snow!



24 comments:

Marilyn's Money said...

Whooooa! I bet we have to pick you up off the floor when you figured that out! Remember Aldi's has fredh fruits and veges, cheap, however not organic.

Sheila said...

Good luck. I am glad you have your husband on board. Mine does okay for a while then he just has to have something we hadn't planned on--I can make menus and shop only for that and it works for a while. I hate the "Do you know how much you spent on groceries this month?"!!! Yeah, well I do know--it just doesn't always work out with whiners in the house. Sorry to vent--I just get frustrated trying so hard with no help or appreciation.

Annie Jones said...

There are no rules. It's all trial and error, until one day it becomes trial and success. Just keep trying and eventually you'll hit upon a method or two (cooking, budgeting, whatever) that works for your family. Don't give up. :)

SonyaAnn said...

Marilyn's Money-I was so upset. We just don't have money to waste. Anna has a bunch of bills coming in for college and I just feel a bit overwhelmed! I just keep telling myself, its alright. I've been tracking every dollar that we spend on groceries so hopefully in a month I can figure it out.

SonyaAnn said...

Sheila-It is a constant struggle here too! You can whine all you want and I will be standing next to you agreeing!

SonyaAnn said...

Annie Jones-Thank you for the encouragement! Ugh, it is just so hard cuz Den gets struck by a cooking mood and then my meal plan doesn't work. Not that I'm complaining about what he cooks, its just that I hadn't planned on it so everything gets messed up. I'm rewriting the monthly meal plan and I'm trying to find a way for some leeway. Den shops at some of the cheaper markets out by work and sometimes he can get super cheap veggies on clearance so he picks them up. And that is where we get lost on the budget.

Frances said...

I miss you, too!!

I would have had a heart attack over that grocery bill, though, if I added up what we spent this month and included the meat market trip, it might be close to yours. So, I had better not do that.

It is great that you and Den are together on this. It works so much better when you are not having to try to do it alone.

How structured is your meal plan? Maybe it is too structured? At our house, dinner on weeknights is whatever Hubby gets the urge to cook from the contents of our fridge, freezer and pantry. That way we don't feel locked in to something we are not in the mood for.

Of course, that might not work for everyone.

SonyaAnn said...

Frances-;)
I think we need to "eat down" the pantry and see if that doesn't help. It also doesn't help that I have changed our monthly meal plan 3 times in the last 4 months. SO we have a lot of things that aren't on the next list. I'm going to keep tracking our spending and see where the problem is. Not fun!

Together We Save said...

I always seem to fail when it comes to the grocery budget. I get wonderful deals but my family eats so much it just doesn't seem to be good enough.

SonyaAnn said...

Together We Save-We are huge eaters! We are on the IL/WI border and that's all you do here. Cheese, potatoes, and beer are the staples.

Frances said...

SonyaAnn, do an inventory of your pantry and make your meal plan around that. Once of the websites I love has a monthly pantry challenge where people eat out of their pantry except for perishables.

While I think you need to have a well stocked pantry, if you are not eating from it, it is not serving its purpose.

Have you tried doing a weekly meal plan instead of monthly? That might alleviate some stress.

Tracking expenses is definitely not fun. :-(

SonyaAnn said...

Frances-I feel as if I'm losing control in more areas than groceries. Den says that we should just eat out of the pantry for a while. And while I'm not against that, I think that we should switch over to the cheaper monthly meal plan, get what we need and then see how long we can live off the cheaper menu. It's a toss up. We did the weekly grocery shopping for years. Shopping monthly seems to keep the cost down more.
I just got off the phone with EIU's financial aid dept. They are auditing all Anna's papers so everything is being held up. They said it is just a random thing. It is fine by me cuz everything is in order but all aid is on hold. STRESS! I know just let it go.

Beth said...

Whew! That grocery bill is what I spend for me and Madison for two months! I try not to buy anything unless it's on sale, I use coupons when I can, and cook as much as I can from scratch. Some nights we have breakfast foods for supper or even cereal (does this make me a bad mom?!). I've built up a pretty good stockpile in the last 6 months of couponing too and that helps. These sites help me: www.time2save.blogspot.com and www.southernsavers.com Hope this helps!

SonyaAnn said...

Beth-Thanks for the help. We are usually at $120 a week so $30 is really upsetting. I'm still working on it.

www.MaisonStGermain.com said...

Hello:) Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello. I shop every two weeks and seem to spend less money that way. Because I could spend over 100.00 every week if I went. This has been a real savings. Good Luck:)
~Debra
Blog; Capers of the vintage vixens

SonyaAnn said...

www.MaisonStGermain.com-Thank you so much for coming to see me!
It is just so hard to find a system that works. And I thought I had a good one and then I blew it. It just never ends!

McVal said...

Wow! You got your husband pumped about being frugal??! You've GOT to write a book about how you did it!

kado! said...

hey we have those cute purple flowers too!

i saw this article about a woman who did an "at home experiment" where she challenged herself to go one whole week using only the food in her pantry. I believe she only bought milk and eggs that week from the store. It was fun and interesting to read about and I've been wanting to try it. The author stated that she started it to save money but then it became such a fun game to see what kind of meal she could come up with that she extended it another week just to see how creative she could get!

slugmama said...

SonyaAnn,
Don't WORRY about the audit thing. We got one too...figures, right?lol
Just sign the thing and send the copies of the tax stuff they want. Matt's school said it should take 2-3 weeks to get into the system or whatever. This shouldn't hold up or affect any of Anna's aid....unless you really made 4 billion dollars last year and lied to the IRS that is. In that case, please adopt me!lolol

SonyaAnn said...

McVal-Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, he is interested. And I'm sure that he will stay interested as long as he doesn't have to do too much!

SonyaAnn said...

kado!-I'm just so glad to see a bit of spring here.
That is a good idea about eating out of the pantry but I'm not very creative. We would have left over hamburgers sprinkled with cereal!

SonyaAnn said...

slugmama-Sorry to hear that you were audited too. But I'm glad to know that they aren't picking on us. And if I had that kind of money, I would adopt you and a few other of my friends!Imagine the fun or should I say trouble we could get into!

A.Marie said...

Hi there! I am right with you on the "feeling the pain" when it comes to the monthly food bill. I have been making my family "eat from the pantry/freezer" and they haven't complained too much...yet!

I try and shop the ads, but I also don't like to have to drive everywhere, so I do major food shopping like every 2 wks or so and fill in with the milk, eggs, etc. at the local *expensive* grocery store.

Luckily, my hubby is on board, like Den is, as long as he doesn't have to do too much of the work or thinking! HA!

SonyaAnn said...

A.Marie-"Luckily, my hubby is on board, like Den is, as long as he doesn't have to do too much of the work or thinking! HA!"-LOL. Isn't that the key to a good marriage?
It is getting a bit better but still I'm envious of the people that can feed their families on $50 a week. It just isn't going to happen here, though. Of course, I'm going to keep working on it but we don't get the deals that others get. Gas alone here is almost $3 already and that isn't the summer blend that we are required to buy. UGH! We may get to $4 by the end of summer. OK I'll shut up now because I'm just upsetting myself!