I am so freakin' proud of myself.
I'm trying so hard to be good with my money. We managed to work ourselves out of debt completely a couple of years ago. Only the mortgage. Of course, nothing good lasts forever and slowly but surely debt has crept back in. Nothing unmanageable (certainly not of the calibre we were at before) but it's there none the less. I much preferred not having any debt.
Anyhow we've got the new windows and doors now and while we technically don't have to pay for them until March of next year, I'm not all the interested in the interest that will be accrued from now until then. So I'm trying to pay as much of that off as I can before March. Oh, and there is the small matter of the Visa balance. Again, not much but it's not $0 either.
So in my effort to be good I've taken tips from Gail Vaz-Oxlade and put myself on a strict budget. We've already got plenty of money going into retirement savings and the kids education funds. So what's left is paying down our debt and day to day living.
The problem is that both mine and Sean's income fluctuates. Sean's can be varied within a $200 a week range. Mine is the same each week but being self employed, all it takes is for one of my clients to leave and my income changes drastically. On the upside, filling a spot gives me a bigger safety net.
So we've decided that from this point on it's cash only. No more paying with the bank card and no more credit card. Cash only.
So this morning I took my pathetic little $100 to the grocery store. Before I go any further I should mention I am a grocery snob. You know how some people will only by brand name clothes, $500 shoes, $800 bags....well don't you try and sell me your crappy no name brand Ketchup. It's Heinz or nothing (haha - maybe I should send that to them for their next ad campaign....A woman on screen, fake boobs, botoxed face, tanned, hair extensions...the whole package..."I love my Manolo Blahnik shoes, my Coach bag and my Tiffany bracelets...and when it comes to my ketchup, it's Heinz or nothing!")
I have to shop for my family of five plus 4 daycare kids. I try to avoid prepacked foods, not healthy and more expensive. Sean and I are also trying to eat a little more sensibly and lets face it, produce ain't cheap. So that said, it's not unheard of for me to drop upwards of $200 a week on groceries. And now here I am strict budget of half that.
Armed with my list, my cell phone calculator and three
not-so-impressed-to-be-grocery-shopping-at-8 am-on-a-Saturday kids I faced my challenge.
Oh, I also broke the cardinal rule of food shopping. I hadn't had breakfast and was starving!
Now I'll openly admit that some items didn't get sacrificed. I bought the generic bread (yuck) but I bought the real Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. I bought what we commonly refer to around here as "bologna burgers" (crappy, 3 oz frozen hamburger patties) but squeezed in a bag of tortilla chips (we needed at least one treat) The girls wanted Hamburger Helper (oddly enough a favorite of theirs lately) and had to choose between the chips or the hamburger helper.....guess which one won.
And when it was all said and done I got out of there with food for the family and daycare for the entire week, plus a treat, paid in full with cash....and I have $11 to spare!!
Oh, and since we were at WalMart anyway and I had two McDonalds gift cards in my purse with a few bucks each left on them (leftover Christmas gifts for the kids) we each got a hash brown to reward our frugalness. (is that even a word?!)
I'm pretty proud of my first ever effort at list/calculator/cash shopping trip. I'm thinking I could save a small fortune like this. And by God I could get those windows paid off before March if I really, really try.
As for the $11, 3/4 will go to beer (but it will be the crappy value brand) and the rest will go to a movie for Em's sleepover tonight.
And come Monday morning it's a whole new week with a whole new budget!