Friday, October 16, 2009

Financial Peace & Dave Ramsey: Updates

First, let me throw something out there for you to think about as you read.

Grocery budget: what do you think is a reasonable amount?

We're a family of 4: 2 adults, 2 kids, one of those being in school (school lunch prep).
The grocery budget has always been the easiest to cut for me, but this month I had a hard time keeping it at that amount, and the month isn't even over yet!

I HAVE made some awesome progress in planning and using coupons. Today, for instance, I bought almost all sale items, then saved $9 in coupons! Woo-hoo! Go me! ;)

I take advantage of the stores that double or even triple coupons.
And not to disappoint some of you, but I am not an Aldi's fan.
First of all, it's mostly processed foods sold there, and we are pretty health-conscious in what we eat (Weight Watchers).

Secondly, I have found several occasions where it's NOT been cheaper, due to a store doubling a coupon, or from buying locally at a farmers' market. (example: Giant Eagle doubles coupons up to a dollar. I had a coupon for Bisquick for a dollar off, which was doubled, so I paid 59 cents for the big box of Bisquick!)

I plan out meals, we are pretty good about sticking to that, but I am not willing to sacrifice fresh or healthy for canned or processed.

Since I'm putting it out there, let me tell you what I've normally aimed for. $150 each pay period, or roughly every 2 weeks. $150 for 2 weeks' groceries.

How do-able do you find that to be?

Moving on....

I'm enjoying the Dave Ramsey videos shown during FPU.
Dave is a funny guy!

His plan is broken down into Baby Steps.
We're working on Baby Step 2-paying off all debt except for the mortgage.
This will be a long step for us, but it's exciting at the same time.
We are pretty close to having our lowest debt paid off, which is our Odyssey.
Once that is paid in full, the next 2 lowest shouldn't take too much time at all. I am super excited about that.

I love how Dave said it. When you borrow, be it from a friend, family member, bank, or other finance-enabling company, that means your money you earn each month has someone else's name on it before you even get it.

Heck yes.

Is that smart? A good feeling?

I understand the various reasons people use credit cards. But heck, study after study has shown that the majority of cardholders are getting ripped off.

This week we made it a goal to earn an extra $100 to pay towards our Odyssey for the month of November.
Our biggest plan of action is to clear out the old laptop and try to sell it.
I also plan to consign some things, or maybe even have a garage sale.
I've never done garage sale and it intimidates me. (there, I said it)

Now that I've rambled on about nothing in particular, it's your turn to speak up!
Leave me a comment and share what you think is a reasonable grocery budget for a family of 4.


Mandy said...

I have been cutting coupons and shopping area sales since August. I cut my 150 dollar bill/week to 60/week for my family of 4 (but soon to be 5!) I am menu planning, we have a garden, and I try my hardest to STICK TO MY LIST. :) There are some weeks when I go over b/c I am stocking up on diapers, wipes, or other baby paraphernalia. But I use coupons for those items, too.

Chrissy said...

Are you saying that your grocery budget is about 300 bucks a month? Does that include what I call "walmart stuff"--toilet paper, tissues, diapers, wipes, toothpaste, medicine?? Because if it does, I think that is SO low. ANd I envy you. I can't even in good conscience, tell you what I spend for a fam of 6, including all that. Please enlighten me as to what you mean by "grocery". Only food or what?

Sue said...

My goal is $100 a week. I know it can be done if I stick to a list!

Kasia said...

Hi Sharon!
I have so many comments!

First of all, we live in CA, family of 4, and our budget is $5oo for the month. Obviously more than yours.

Second, I have been hearing a lot of stuff about online coupons and electronic coupons recently, but don't have any websites to recommend to you b/c I haven't done any thorough research yet. We have safeway here and I did see that on some site, coupons can be downloaded directly to your Safeway card, so you don't even need to bring them. Others you can print and bring.


Fourth, about selling stuff: Have you looked into See if they have it in your area and then I can give you my schpeel on how to make big money.

Anonymous said...

Credit card companies can only rip you off if you let them. I've been using credit cards for 36+ years and never paid a cent in interest, fees, whatever. I've made thousands of dollars in cash back and $$ toward car purchases. Once you get a firm handle on your spending and feel confident of your ability to not overspend with a credit card, I highly recommend them!

Sharon said...

Typically yes, that includes toiletry items, except for diapers. I buy a huge box roughly every 5-6 weeks, and I spend nearly $50 on that. Hopefully my 2yo will be fully potty trained soon and that expense will free up.
I try to buy large packages of toilet paper and paper towels, as in 8-20 count.

We have gone over for this month, though.

Nice to "see" you! Long time! No, Pat is certainly not on Weight Watchers. LOL I'm a lifetime member, and if I don't stay strict with it, it shows. Too easily. Pat, I am convinced, will never have issues with weight.

I agree to disagree with you.
We started out w/ credit cards thinking the same thing. It will be fine if it gets paid off every month, etc. And while I know there is a very minimal amount of people that actually Do that, I don't see WHY do it. The rewards are not typically worth it (spend thousands of dollars in charges to earn a plane ticket? why not just pay for the plane ticket?)
I'm glad it works for some, but bottom line is, if you HAVE the money, I don't see the need to borrow. And God forbid if something happens to you, and you have not yet paid that month's bill, you may be sticking someone else w/ that responsibility. Not worth it, in my opinion,
Again, not trying to convince you, but at the same time, I can't see it your way, either.

Once you get a firm handle on your spending and feel confident of your ability to not overspend with a credit card, I highly recommend them!

To be honest, I found this to be insulting. We have been responsible with our money and DO have a firm handle. We do a budget and live within our means. It's that not everyone has means in excess.
Once you understand THAT, come back and I'd love to explain charity to you.

cecilia tinajero said...

man, i spend $1oo every 2 weeks and its just me. apparently, i need to re-evaluate! ;-)