<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Grocery Spending
 

Viewing the 'Grocery Spending' Category

How do I love thee, kitchen items? Let me count the ways!

April 12th, 2015 at 08:52 am

This morning I entered the amount for the few little groceries I bought yesterday into EveryDollar. I also checked balances in my envelopes. I'm doing very well with my spending. When I funded my envelopes last Friday I got $60 for groceries. I'd budgeted $75 for two weeks but wanted to come in under that if possible so $60 seemed like a good goal. I still have $40 of that so I feel as though I've accomplished something. However, there are a few things I need before Friday, the next pay day and I'll probably get those later today or tomorrow before work. I budgeted $25 for gas for two weeks and still have $15 of that and $10 of the $15 I'd budgeted for Sammy the cat. Yeah, all in all I'm doing great!

I posted some clothes and household goods on a local free stuff group. I hope someone wants it all because I very much want the stuff gone. Decluttering is pretty easy for me but I have a few emotional issues with some of it, especially kitchen items.

My apartment is about 540 square feet with a seemingly impossibly small kitchen. It has few cupboards, a tiny amount of countertop, two drawers and no pantry. But I love to cook and do it daily. Fortunately, most of my cooking is simple so all I really *need* are basic items. The problem, though, is that I'm so very attracted to kitchen gadgets and doodads! An all expenses paid trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond is my idea of a great contest prize! Ha ha!

Over the last few years I've managed to calm down that crazy side of myself but I still have things I rarely use. For example, I found a blender at Target three years ago for $6. It gets pulled out a few times a year, generally to make hummus. Keep it or let it go? And there's my KitchenAid mixer. I'd wanted one for many years and scrimped until I had enough to get the red one that made my heart sing. The problem is that I haven't used it for over a year and prior to that its main job was to make shortbread, my all time favorite treat, and that was done only between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The thought of getting rid of that beauty causes anxiety so I keep it. It sits on a counter and takes up space but I smile each time my eyes spy it. I think it needs to stay, at least for now. Maybe soon I'll feel ready to sell it but not yet.

And then there's the electric digital pressure cooker. Another tool I love and one I rarely use now. It produces the best tasting and most tender roast I've ever had but I don't eat much meat now. Of course, I could use it to make vegetable soup. Hmmm, maybe I should try that today. And what about the stovetop pressure cooker? One of my sisters gave it to me a couple of years ago. I've not used it but can't seem to part with it because it was a gift. And let's not even get started on the slow cookers and coffee cup collection!

See the problem?

That darn kitchen. I have so much affection for the inanimate objects contained within it and have saved that corner for the last of the big push to simplify. I thought I'd be ready by now but I don't feel ready. Yes, I know it's just stuff and I know that each item can be replaced easily, if not cheaply, if necessary. But it's still so hard to even consider letting some of those things go.

I think I'll list the kitchen items to which I have no attachment (like a few of the many whisks I have and the wine bottle opener thingamabopper I've used once..what are those even called?) and enjoy the freedom of that for awhile. Maybe then I'll feel ready to rid myself of the other stuff. We'll see. It's a process and for me it's been a long one.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying a day off work and am about to head into the kitchen to give vegetable soup in the pressure cooker a try!

Happy Sunday. :-)

2 NSDs, cooking for one, odds & ends

January 8th, 2012 at 09:42 am

Wednesday was a no spend day and yesterday was another. Awesome! I can't recall the last time I managed that but hope I have many more in the future. Smile

Today was destined to not be one because of the laundry. I went to the washateria this morning but it was closed. I needed to burn about 20 minutes until it opened so I drove to Albertson's and am glad I did. They had boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.79 lb so I got 2 packages of those. They also had boneless sirloin steak for $2.99 a lb so I got a few of those. When I got home I divided it all into one serving portions, used the vacuum sealer, and now have plenty of meat in the freezer again. I hadn't planned on spending that $20 but my supply of meat was getting very low and I don't pass up a good deal on meat, especially when I'm so low on it.

When I got home I put the clothes away (by the way, I spent $2.50 on the laundry) and ended up getting sidetracked by canvas bags. Yes, canvas bags. I had several in the closet and they all had stuff in them and for some reason it was bothering me to not know what all was in them so I cleaned them all out, threw away the old trash, gum wrappers and whatnot, put away other items, etc. and now I have them all hanging together on one hanger. In the process of going through them I found my iPod headphones I thought I'd lost, several small bottles of bath/shower gel, and 15 cents. It was almost like Christmas! Wink

I spent some time yesterday looking at "cooking for one" sites and am dismayed how few helpful ones there are. I found a lot of sites saying that's their purpose but they don't give a lot of practical information or actual recipes. Contrary to what one would think, it isn't always as easy as cutting a recipe in half or thirds or whatever. Yes, it often works that way but not every time. I did find a few sites with helpful information and recipes, though, and will spend time today pillaging and plundering.

Tonight's dinner will be the turkey ham and cabbage from my menu but I'm going to change it a little. I have about 3 ounces of chicken broth languishing in the fridge so I'm going to use that with a bit of butter and olive oil to fry the cabbage, onion, sweet potato, and turkey ham all together. I might pass on the green beans but am not sure about that yet.

I work tomorrow but it's a fairly short shift and I don't get a meal break so I shouldn't need to take lunch or buy anything there. I might even be able to make it a NSD!

Ugh, a spendy day!

January 4th, 2012 at 11:12 am

I paid the rent and water today and they came to $576. I also did some grocery shopping. Y'all, I did pretty well at resisting but still spent $32.36. I've budgeted $100 for January so that's a third of it. One of the items I got was my Vitamin D supplement and it was $6 of the total so meh, perhaps it isn't as bad as I figure.

I don't think I splurged, really, though the can of sugar free mandarin oranges might be considered a luxury. I love that silly salad with cottage cheese, dry orange jello, and mandarin oranges but it's way too high in carbs for me and would require a lot of insulin to enjoy so I haven't had it in close to 15 years. So when I saw the can of splenda sweetened mandarin oranges I got very excited! I can have one of my all time favorite desserts again!! In moderation, of course. Smile

I guess considering the dead weight I cut out today a little splurge of $1.38 for mandarin oranges isn't so bad.

Go, me!

Here and there, this and that...

December 20th, 2009 at 09:07 am

Besides paying bills and putting gas in the van I haven't spent much at all. I forgot to take my lunch to work yesterday and the shift was too long to go without eating or drinking so I spent about $5 but other than that the spending has been kept down to a dull roar and I've managed to have at least two no spend days the last week. Yaaay for NSD! My shift today is a short one and I'll eat dinner before I go so I shouldn't have to spend any money. But I'll take along a small container of soup and a drink just in case.

Speaking of soup, last night I put the ingredients for split pea soup in one of the slow cookers and I've already had a small bowl of it this morning. I'm on a split pea soup kick right now and who knows how long it will last. I love the stuff and it sure is good when it's cold outside.

Today we have to do a little grocery shopping so we'll go to the bank to get money for groceries and gas. Things are a little tight right now so well get only what we need - creamer, milk, bread, etc. No luxuries, no fun stuff!

There's a young woman at my place of employment who seems to spend too much of her time struggling with finances. Actually there are several young women there like this but right now I focus on the one with whom I work most often. Her checking account is often in the negative and she wonders why she never has money. She lives with family members, half of her income goes to bills and the other half, somewhere around $800, apparently gets frittered. We've talked briefly before about this issue but she approached the subject with me again last night. I quickly explained the zero based budget concept to her and by the time we were finished talking her eyes were tearing slightly.

I think she's truly agonizing over this and doesn't want to wake up some morning to the realization that she's 47 and scrambling to deal with debts, retirement, and the fact that the "plenty of time" she had to plan and save has passed her by. I invited her to stop by the office some time so we could talk more about this. I'm not sure just how to get through to a young person like this but I want to help her if I can. I imagine my mother thought the same thing about me when I was young. But I wonder if telling her about some of my personal experiences and how challenging it is now to play catch up would help. It might. If you have suggestions on this, please share them with me!

Scored at the local 50% off grocery sales

March 14th, 2008 at 06:51 pm

The sale started Tuesday and I wanted to get there earlier but we didn't make it until tonight so there's a lot of stuff that was gone. But here's what we got at the first store:

10 cans salmon for .64 each
2 boxes of Panburger Beef Partner (for those nights when I just can't handle much cooking!) for .49 each
3 cans mixed vegetables (we use them only for soup or chicken pot pie) for .25 each
1 bag of beef jerky (their brand is the best!) for $1.19
18 small pizzas for when the kids are around for .44 each
Bottom round steaks for 1.99 lb

We also got some sour cream and three 20 ounce drinks not on sale. The total at the first store was $35.27.

At the second store we got:

3 bags of blackeye peas for .39 each
1 bag of large limas for .64
1 bag of baby limas for .96
2 bags of navy beans for .46 each
1 bag of great northern beans for .99
4 bags of kidney beans for .49 each
1 bag of black beans for .49
2 jars of DH's instant coffee for 2.68 each
3 jars of my coffee for $2.89 each
3 chicken gravy mixes for .16 each
3 sloppy joe mixes for .16 each
9 cans of chopped chiles for .59 each
8 cans of mixed greens for .37 each
7 cans of chili (my favorite breakfast!) for .69 each
3 boxes of chopped frozen broccoli for .25 each
34 cans of stewed tomatoes (I love em!) for .41 each
1 roasted chicken, not on sale, for $4.99

We spent $60.18 at the second store. We spent a little over $95 total.

I think we did pretty well and we certainly won't go hungry or thirsty any time soon. Wink

Grocery shopping & two week's worth of dinners

March 9th, 2008 at 07:21 pm

We went to the grocery today and spent $74.20. That was more than we'd planned to spend but since we'll have two bottomless pits in and out over the next week, that's fine. We'll need it all and then some!

So here are the meals we'll have for the next two weeks. The menu might change a bit if we go out to eat a time or two (we do plan for those) but this gives the general gist of two week's meals. There are too many carbs in most of the meals but darn it, it's hard to eat low carb on a budget! I just won't overeat..or will try not to. *sigh*

Beef tips and wild rice made with a couple of the charcoal steaks, served with a salad and green beans

Breakfast of turkey sausage, eggs, and toast

Slow cooked beans

Turkey chili with corn chips, crackers, or tortilla chips and salad

Pressure cooked hen with carrots, potatoes, onion, and green beans

Slow cooker chicken and rice made with leftover chicken and wild rice,
probably served with salad and a green vegetable

Breakfast again of french toast and turkey bacon

Skilletini with a salad and whole wheat rolls

Quesadillas made with leftover chicken, low carb tortillas, and served with salad

Pressure cooked beef roast (Ray's 3 envelope roast) and vegetables

Beef vegetable soup made with leftover beef roast and vegetables

Slow cooker chicken and biscuits made with leftover chicken (a new to me recipe I want to try)

Red beans and rice with salad

Leftover beans with more salad! lol

I heart envelopes!

February 16th, 2008 at 09:25 am

This morning I went through the bank drive thru since the lobby isn't open on Saturday. Since I've gotten into the habit of going in to the bank for all transactions I really missed it this morning! But I managed. I gave the teller the list of cash amounts and asked him to put each amount in a separate envelope. He gave me an odd look but did it.

After finishing at the bank, I went to Wal-Mart to do a little grocery shopping. I spent $35, leaving $95 for food.

Someone emailed me asking what payments are 'enveloped' and exactly how we handle our envelope system. The business and larger expenses are funded daily by money that comes into DH's business and things like food, gas, and clothing are funded by my pay.

Here's the breakdown of the envelopes funded by money from DH's business:

The business envelopes are funded six days a week because the business is open six days a week and is mostly a cash one. Each night we sit down together and record what's come in for the day. Some cash and all checks are deposited into the bank. Varying amounts of the remaining cash are put into each of the business envelopes and because we add money almost every day we know where we are with each envelope at any given time. When it's time to pay a bill the money is removed from the envelope and if we have enough in the checking account to pay that bill we pay it and put the cash in other envelopes that need more money. If we don't have enough in the checking account to pay that bill the cash is deposited into the checking account and we write and send the check for that bill and start filling that envelope for the next month. Using this system we're able to know exactly where we stand with bills, pay them on time and not worry about spending food money on advertising or some other need.

The expenses covered by my pay every two weeks are set ones and here's a breakdown of them:

Food - $130 Covers food for two people.

Gas for truck - $130 My pay for this period was less than usual so I only put $75 in it. DH will fund the remainder.

Entertainment - $25 Yes, we do budget a little for entertainment. If we didn't, we might go nuts! We didn't spend the last pay period's entertainment money until last night and it was nice to go out to eat and know it was budgeted for. No pain, no stress, no guilt!

Laundry & Clothing - $20 We don't have a washer or dryer so I go to the least expensive washateria to wash and dry clothes. I don't spend $20 in two weeks and the remainder is kept in the envelope to help with clothing expenses. We rarely buy new clothes and even if we do they aren't at all expensive. We generally spend less than $200 a year on clothes.

Whatever is left of my pay, whether it's $10 or $100, goes into savings.

So there you have it - the envelope system that works for our business and personal expenses both. Is it any wonder I have a mean crush on Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University?

February so far...

February 8th, 2008 at 08:52 pm

We started on February 1st using Dave Ramsey's envelope system for our personal expenses of food, gas, clothing/laundry, and entertainment expenses. And so far we're doing very well. We'd budgeted $86 for food for 14 days and we're at $108.22 only 8 days into the month. Interestingly enough, that's about the amount we haven't spent by not smoking, which right now is $108.19. Ha!

We've definitely spent more than we'd budgeted. However, we still have $24 in the food envelope. The difference between the $108.22 and the amount we've spent from the envelope, $46 and some change, came from a combination of our personal spending money and entertainment money. A little over $24 of that was actually for nicotine patches rather than food so it isn't quite so bad as it looks. But I include it all in food here because I'm lazy. Wink For you purists, I have it all properly broken down in my spreadsheet, though.

This month we're trying to spend as little as we can for most things. We're hot and heavy on the trail of an increased emergency fund and paying the bills! In light of that, we're using quite a bit of food from our pantry and eating meals like slow cooked beans, rice with a little chicken gravy and tossed salad, homemade taquitos, chili, etc. We have a beef roast, some ground beef, and several big hens in the freezer but I'm cooking with less meat for health and wealth. So rice, beans, small amounts of meat and lots of vegetables are the way to go this month!

So here's what we've spent so far:

Business rent, utilities, advertising, etc., $1000

Food, $108.22 This includes spending for groceries, eating out, snacks and drinks at work, and cat food

Gas, $49 (budgeted $86 for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th)

$100 for Financial Peace University

$35 to oldest stepson (we'll more than likely do this every week or couple of weeks for awhile so I might create a new envelope for it)

$60 supplies for office (not something we buy monthly - we usually don't spend even $5 on office supplies in a month)

$15 personal (budgeted $20 each for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th)

$7 laundry and $11 for a work shirt for me (budgeted $21 for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th and will have to increase that amount a little I think though I don't buy any kind of clothing every month much less every two weeks)

So far, so good. We have bills due again starting in a few days but we have most of the money for those and will have the rest by their due date, I think.

All in all, Financial Peace University and the envelope system are really helping us. And it's great to know the bills are paid..or almost paid!

It might just be shuffling money but...

February 1st, 2008 at 12:20 pm

It's hard to describe what the last three days have been like for me. I've been in the depths of despair and have been almost elated, also. Why? Well, let me tell you!(Glad you asked!) And no, we didn't win the lottery!

About three weeks ago or so (after we last paid bills) we set aside envelopes to put cash from the business in to pay expenses. We realized that if the money is in our pockets it gets spent. So we wrote things like Rent, Electric, Advertising, and Materials and Supplies on regular envelopes and every night, after the shop closes, we sit down together and go through the sales for the day and put it in the envelopes. Business is slow (apparently in this field it drops off somewhere around Christmas and stays slow until early to mid February) so there have been days when we only had $25 to put in envelopes but we'd put $5 in this one, $10 in that one, etc and keep just a little for ourselves. We do this every day we're open, 6 days a week. Keep in mind this is our first time of doing this and we had no idea if it would work.

Then recently we opened a checking account at a bank closer to the shop. My checks go into that account as have some cash and all checks written at the shop. I've managed to be very careful with that checking account and rarely write checks from it. DH has a debit card for it but I don't because I KNOW from experience that it's just too easy for me to spend money with a debit card. Long story there but for me plastic just isn't money. It's.. plastic! Instead I get a little cash from when I need it. When it's gone, it's gone.

We just started Financial Peace University (FPU) last week and got Dave's envelope system. Since we already have one going for the office expenses so we decided to use the FPU system for things like food,
clothing, laundry, gas for the truck, etc. After looking at that cash flow plan a couple of days ago I didn't see how we could possibly do this and was so upset! And I'm still not sure how we're going to do it. But yesterday I realized that all this is just part of getting control of the finances and rather than panic and worry I need to stay calm, learn from this, and USE it to help us.

So last night I realized we needed to get the phone bill paid immediately or we'd incur a late charge. Now mind you, in the past even if I had the money to pay on time, I rarely did. I just didn't think about it and we constantly were late on bill payments and paid those late fees.
But last night I did think about it so I called the phone company and paid the bill over the phone with an e check, making sure I noted that in the checkbook. We had the money in the checking account so there
was no danger in me doing that. Plus we had the money for that bill in the Phone envelope set up recently.

So, this morning I picked up my paycheck and went to the bank. I took the FPU envelope system with me. It's very small, looks much like a wallet and fits in a purse easily. I knew the amount of cash I needed to get for the next two weeks and knew how much for two of the four categories I needed. I couldn't remember the other two amounts but knew the total amount to get. So I get to the bank and rather than go through the drive through I walked in. Why? Well, there were a couple of reasons but one was something that just dawned on me this morning. When I use an ATM or drive through it's just too easy. It's too easy to get cash from the ATM or a drive through teller without THINKING about it. For me, it's similar to using plastic. So I decided to go in to the lobby because that makes me THINK about money. Ehh, it's hard not to think about it with all the money related stuff staring at me. Also, I needed the cash broken down into certain bills and it was going to take a little while and it's cold outside and there's no need to hold up other customers while I piddle with money. So I went to the teller, gave her the deposit slip and check with the 'less cash received' part filled out and said, "I need this cash in a certain way." No problem.

I got $87 for food for two weeks, $87 for gas for the truck for two weeks, $25 for entertainment for two weeks (not that we will use it but we figured that amount in on the CFP sheet so I did it) and the remainder was $51. I walked to a side counter and put $87 in the food envelope, $87 in the gas envelope, $25 in the entertainment envelope, and left the $51 remainder in the bank envelope. Then I headed to Wal-Mart because we needed bread, lunch meat, and a little fruit.

Okay yall, this is where it gets good! Why? You'll see change of thinking popping up a lot though you may see some of that already. I got to Wal-Mart and walked in with my little envelope system and my keys and my cell phone and nothing else. No checkbook, no cards, not even my purse. I walked by the deli and saw they had my favorite egg rolls at 2 packages for $5. I bought a package of orange chicken a few days ago for dinner one night this week and figured egg rolls would be great with that so I got one package. Not two, not three, just one. Then I picked up bread, lunch meat, 3 bananas and 2 apples. That's it. I didn't wander around the store, I didn't look at every thing there. Oh, I thought about it but I had $87 in that envelope to last two weeks so I knew I couldn't fritter it away. I got what we needed and went to the self check out stand where I rang it all up and paid cash - $10.59. I paid for it, put the bills and change I got back back into the food envelope, wrote on the envelope what I'd paid and the new balance, and got out of there.

I got back to the office and told DH how much my check was and such. I balanced the checkbook, told him what's in it (a little more than we usually have, even on my payday!) and started showing him the envelopes with the money. He had the office envelopes in his hand and we started going through those while we talked. He said something about being a little short on the rent money which is due today then commented that we had enough in the bank to cover it. At about that time he handed me the phone bill envelope and told me to go ahead and deposit that and send the payment. I said okay then it hit me. I paid that last night out of the checking account! I told him and he told me to just deposit it then. But he'd just said the rent money was short so I asked what he needed for that. He counted and told me. I opened the phone envelope and handed him the money and said "There, done."

I know, this is simple stuff to some of you but this is a light bulb moment for me! He took the money, grinning, added it up, saw that it was enough and called the landlord and told him to come get his money when he was ready. After giving him that money I had $25 left of the phone money. We slipped that into the electric bill envelope which is still short but we have until the 12th to pay it.

Okay, so the phone was paid last night, the rent was paid today, the electric bill envelope has about 1/4 of what it needs with about 11 days to go, and we have plenty of food because we believe in stocking up when prices are really good.

Realizing the bank account was in the positive(not a lot of money there but a little), he went ahead and ordered something he needs for advertising purposes. The cost was only about $38 or so but he did it over the phone. Afterwards, he realized that he had $30 of that $38 in the advertising envelope so he got that out and moved it to the savings envelope. Yeehaw, another $30 in there!

At this point, yall are probably thinking "Big deal, they're just shuffling money around!" and that's true, we are. But this is our first time doing this and it takes awhile to tweak it so that its just right. For awhile, it will go on like this and that's okay. The point of all this, though, is that we're beginning to see the light about how we spend and we're beginning to be able to pay things when they need to be paid, and still have a little left. And more than that, we actually have money to shuffle!! I can't tell yall what this feels like to me!

The main reason we can do this is the Cash Flow Plan and the Allocated Spending Sheet. They're helping us prioritize what needs to be paid. A lot of people can do this without help but we need help and FPU is giving it to us.

No, it won't be easy and it's going to be very rough at times. We have a lot of old debt to deal with and at some point we will. But we have to take care of the four walls and the business and that's happening, slowly but surely. And my next check will be very small since I am only working a few hours this week. But most of the bills will be paid and we'll have food. And life will rock on, even if it rocks a little slowly. Smile

I hope all this makes sense to yall. I'm just so excited I had to tell somebody! I think I see light at the end of the tunnel.