Monday, July 18, 2016

Middle of the Month July Budget Update

I keep a budget of $160 per month for all of my household spending including groceries and other household goods (like laundry detergent, cleaners and toilet paper) for my family of 3.  I make a menu plan at the end of the previous month with the items that we have in the house and try to make my grocery list based on the items that are on sale for the best prices.  Often times that means getting lots of the same item when it is at the lowest price.  The great news is that leaves lots of room to get the best deals on things even if it isn't always what we need right then.  We use what is on hand and work the food into the meal plan as needed.

There were a few questions asking me how I came up with my budget.  About 5 years ago, I quit my job to stay home with my son and we decided to live on the smaller of our two incomes because my husband's job was way more secure working in local government then mine in sales (good decision because everyone in my office was laid off within a year or two of me leaving).  I did this budget for my own sanity before I quit my job to make sure that we could make ends meet.  I figured that I would revisit it eventually as my son got older but it has been working for the last three or four years without too many problems.

I did my normal shopping and kept track of how much I spent for the month.  The next month, I made a goal to cut back.  Over the next few months, I cut back to see how much was reasonable to spend and where the breaking point was and $160 turned out to be just enough money to make it through the month without it being too hard even though we might have to give up some extras like soda or expensive crackers.  Both things that my husband and son thinks are needs so we had a discussion over the last few years about needs versus wants.  We try to balance the needs and the wants and get enough to keep us fed and happy and $160 seems to be able to do that.  I am not saying that this is a magic number for other families to strive for or a goal that is reasonable for anyone but it works for us with strict cooking at home from scratch and shopping with sales and coupons.  We eat lots of homemade goodies (currently chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls and banana bread) as well as I bake all of our bread and from scratch weekly.  It is a little more work on my side to plan ahead and be ready to make dinner every night with a busy schedule.  I try to limit out take out and eating out budget to $25 per month unless it is vacation but we only spent around $75 eat out on vacation so we didn't go too crazy.

In case you aren't following along in the saga that is my horrible June spending and the resulting decisions that had to be made.  I was almost double my monthly budget in one month because of extra spending for vacation and other stockup deals.  The great part is that I did save a ton of money but I decided to put the past behind me (you can see my reasoning here if you missed it with my middle of year budget update) and start fresh with the new month. So here is what I got for July so far:

Safeway $1.38

This was while we were still on vacation but my husband and son went out and got two doughnuts which we split.  One with sprinkles and one without.  They were pretty tasty and it was vacation so even though we had tons of breakfast options at home, I know that we enjoyed these tasty treats.

Walmart $0.88

My husband got a cut on his knee that was starting to look a little funky with the sea water and the pool water so we did a drive by to get peroxide which fixed it right up.  We were almost out at home so it went right into the medicine cabinet when we got home.

Target $2.84

When we got home, we ordered a game for my son online that he really wanted and went to pick it up at Target.  We also needed to get some replacement straws for his camelbak bottles because he chewed through the sippy part.  They were on sale cheaper on line but for some reason we couldn't order them but they were at the store.  The man told me that I could have the cashier price match and she gladly did without any problems and I got a cartwheel off in addition!!! I didn't count the cost of them into my budget because they are basically back to school supplies so that I don't have to buy new bottles even though my son was pulling for new ones.  We also grabbed another bottle of vitamins for my son which was counted into the budget.  They seem to have stopped carrying any kind that he likes so we are brand jumping now and there was another cartwheel so they were pretty cheap and he likes them so bonus!

Aldi $26.48

This was my first trip to the store after getting home from vacation.  I was fairly sure we didn't need anything by milk and lunch meat.  I was going to put off the milk purchase because my son doesn't drink as much in the summer time as the winter so it is going bad quickly but it was $1.69 or $1.99 (I lost the receipt somewhere in my bottomless bag of junk)

Aldi $6.51

We were totally out of eggs and I wanted to make banana bread with the bananas that I bought that were no good.  I also found a lime on sale for $0.19 so I grabbed that so that I could make lime chicken like we had on vacation which was amazing.  My husband likes my seasoned oyster crackers for lunch with his turkey sandwich so I stocked up on both so that I wouldn't have to go back when we ran out next week.

Harris Teeter $0

I got an email from Nathalie (check out her blog here) to check out the freebies at Harris Teeter.  Thanks for the heads up because I would have missed them and been sad.  Both were on my card but only available on Saturday.  Saturday was a tough day to make it to the store between our trip to the library and Lakeshore Learning to do a craft for my son and rush home to leave for a BBQ.  I ended up making my husband stop and drop me there so I could run around and grab them when I was already running late to get to my sister in laws house.  Both were still in stock in that store and didn't even cost tax (sorry for the blurry picture but I took it in the car while we were moving)!!!  WOO HOO!!  

Total OOP $38.09

I think that was an amazing first half of the month even though I got more then we needed at Aldi during my first trip.  It will never go to waste so that is the good thing but I really didn't have a clue what we had at home because we had been away so long so I grabbed some extras.  I am sure that we are going to have low spending this month because I am going to try to stretch everything that we have already and so that I can spend more time with my son.  I don't tend to coupon as much over the summer because we spend a lot of time together as a family and I don't get a lot of time at the store.  I guess we will see what comes up for the second half of the month.

How are you doing so far this month?


  1. Thanks for the shout-out!

    How am I doing so far this month? Well, I'm not sure yet but I know it's not as good as you, hahaha. I didn't go shopping last week (I did grab milk and bread at Publix) but we ate out a few times. Also, I'm grabbing pastries and breads from the 50% off clearance table at Save A Lot when I see them because it saves me from having to bake in this heat. I haven't been in the mood to cook AT ALL this summer. I'm not going to beat myself over it, soon enough it'll be back to school and I'll go back to my routine of making menus and shopping my fridge and pantry first.

    Great job, Alison!

    1. Always have to tell people where I get my tips :) Even when you don't have a Harris Teeter!!!

      I told you regardless of my decision that I knew that I wouldn't get getting a lot of things this month but I really need to make sure that I get everything and don't go crazy. I totally understand not making the house hot especially when it is so hot by you. I try to do things in the morning or at night. Most of my baking has been done at nearly 10 pm when I should be resting... of well!!! I think that I did pretty well and now we have to start to see what we need for next month!!


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