They’re everywhere. They’re in the car, sometimes in our bed, I found one in my sports bra this morning. Our life is definitely covered in Cheerios and that’s okay. We love them, the kids love them…and they’re a big part of what’s reduced the SPENDING in our home.
We definitely love to talk about the Dave Ramsey journey thus far, and it’s been such an inspiration to so many (WE LOVE YOUR EMAILS and MESSAGES…keep them coming! We want to cheer you on!) but I am seeing the same thing across the board, almost for EVERY person, when it comes to what they figure out is the biggest cost of all that they are “wasting” money on.
I am 100% the person who would say “meh, a coffee and bagel here and there doesn’t break the bank” except I was doing that two or three times weekly. That’s eight to twelve times a month. That may seem small but it adds up. The most important thing to know…is that little food costs and drive-thru runs here and there ADD UP. Little spendings ADD UP.
The concept of budgeting is so hard for so many because they don’t see the big picture. They neglect to make the connection of several small purchases adding up to one big number as being an issue. I understand because I used to be one of those people! Then I agreed to try to magic of a budget out…and everything changed.
Food is a huge expense monthly. We recognized TWO WAYS we were overspending on food and wanted to share with you today, ask a couple questions and give you the BEST advice we have for getting in check. It’s going to take a little work, but most good things and progress come along with a little work. The work will be worth it.
The two ways that food expenses were bringing us down financially:
1. We were getting too much carryout (pizza, mexican, sandwiches, etc)
2. We were going to the store and just buying anything we saw that we liked and not sticking to a list or monthly limit on spending
You may have no idea how much this sneaks up on you, but like we mentioned, we saved over $600 on food the first month and MORE the second after starting Financial Peace University.
That means, by now, our family has thousands more dollars than we normally would all because we do the following:
1. We limit our “out to eat” (or carryout) budget to $40 a month…and it WORKS! That’s at least one pizza, a couple of coffees and bagels from our favorite place.
2. We have a grocery list and we STICK TO IT
3. Going along with number 2, we meal plan. I spend Sundays making meals to last all week.
4. CHEERIOS (and other snacks:). Oh how we love thee. We have a basket in our pantry with prepackaged snacks (Nutrigrains, pre-bagged little baggies of goldish, Cheerios, etc) This has been so good for us to make SURE we have food when we leave the house! We don’t pick up this or that anymore because we have something WITH US always. I am in the YMCA during Parents Morning Out right now and I just polished off a bag of Cheerios…which is why you get this creative blog title, haha! Old Amanda would have hit up that vending machine OR stopped by Dunkin drive-thru on the way home and gotten a bagel (which we have at home) or breakfast sandwich (which I can also make at home).
5. We also have a grocery budget monthly that we stick to…we DO use the cash system and side note, we do NOT include diapers and wipes in this (we run that on the debit card separately) as we don’t think it’s fair to deduct that from the food budget! 🙂
We hope this helps some of you out there struggling to figure out how to reduce their spending! Some people SWEAR it’s shopping but when you add up your bank statement charges from the month before…you may be shocked to see how much you spent on food! XOXO
SIDENOTE! I got this email recently from EveryDollar (the budget app we used created by Dave Ramsey) and wanted to share because we have many people ask us about eating healthy on a budget! We’re kind of doing it, but not doing enough of a good job to share…so here’s a link they sent us regarding that in a newsletter! (CLICK HERE)
One of my favorite things EVER is making a seasoned chicken and using it all week different ways. Here’s one of my favorite most filling sandwiches I can put together REALLY fast with just some crockpot prep one day of the week!
*Chicken tenderloin in crockpot with olive oil & Mrs. Dash chicken seasoning
*Avocado with some sea salt on top (which I let ripen until ready and then keep in the fridge which SAVES IT from going bad the rest of the week, more time to make more things with avocado!)
*Bacon is DEFINITELY an upgrade and not necessity on our grocery list, we’re pretty much down to picking it up less than monthly but it’s great on this sandwich when we have it!
*We almost always have a bun coupon on Ibotta but if we don’t, toast is great, too!
*Because of the avocado (and the fact that the chicken is crockpot chicken and soft if done right), you don’t really need a sauce BUT in the past I’ve mixed mayo and an oil-based sandwich dressing and just put a little on there and it’s great!
We are working SO hard to give our girls a Disney trip. We were supposed to in October but lost the time off with Mike’s job because of the car accident. Budgeting is hard, but WORTH IT! We can do this!
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