Friday, August 3, 2012

A Month of Doing More with Less - Week 4

Week 4
Day 1/July 26 - no purchases

Day 2/July 27 - We splurged at the end of the week with a take-out pizza special, homemade caramel corn and a late bedtime thanks to the opening ceremony for the Olympics.  A fun family night was had by all.
Dominos - 5 medium pizzas (providing plenty of leftovers for another easy meal this weekend)

Day 3/July 28
Costco - 4 gallons milk, 3 lbs. bananas
World Market - 3 lunch containers for packed school lunches, 2 bottled fancy sodas for an at-home date night, 1.5 lbs. coffee beans, 2 pkgs. candy  - None of these things were urgent needs, or even true needs at all, but I had a $10 coupon expiring the next day.

Day 4/July 29 - no purchases

Day 5/July 30
Bountiful Baskets order - 3 baskets

Day 6/July 31 - no purchases

Day 7/August 1
I was so weary and discouraged today.  I even cried.  I had committed to getting together with girlfriends, but had not realized just how expensive it was to eat at the restaurant which had been selected. I looked at the menu online and saw the prices a couple hours before and considered not going.  I ended up going after eating beans and rice at home, then ordered a lemonade and dessert.  And the total with tip still came to $14. Ugh!  When I consider that I can feed our whole family, diaper our little ones and keep the household running on $14 a day or less, I see that it is such a waste to eat out.  But I didn't feel like there was any way to bow out at the last minute.  And the fellowship was good.  But I learned my lesson and declined a similar situation set for next week and a home sales party set for later this week.  I think it is better just to not go, than to go and feel stressed or awkward.  I try to decline graciously and don't mention the reason.  We simply can't afford it.
Tucanos Brazillian Grill - strawberry lemonade & brownie sundae
Whole Foods -  2 - 32 oz. bottles of concentrated castile soap for some of our kids with sensitive skin (about 1/2 the normal price & the lowest price I've ever seen on this product)

Week 1 purchases - $172.44
Week 2 purchases - $165.87
Week 3 purchases -  $35.48
Week 4 purchases - $132.60
Total for the month = $506.39

Observations from the month:
- I found that once we had already missed the goal I had set for the month, it was much easier just to let more purchases slide through, which emphasizes the benefit of using cash.  When it is gone, it's gone.  But I didn't make getting to the bank at the beginning of the month a priority and used our debit card from the get-go.
- Sometimes I feel I can justify going ahead and spending beyond the budget because timing is everything.  If I wouldn't have ordered from Bountiful Baskets this week, we wouldn't had been able to have our load of produce this weekend.  Yes, I could go to various stores and find decent deals on produce, but that doesn't seem worth the time, energy and gasoline to me.
- In talking with my husband, we came to the conclusion that this month was not that much different than any other month for us.  Most of the time we are trying to spend as little as possible. I've read that when you budget there is freedom to spend. Either we are not faithful enough to the budget we set, or the budget we have just doesn't cover that much, because I'm not feeling that freedom right now.
-  $500/month for food, personal care and household items is probably a reasonable amount for us (family of 7) with careful shopping.  That amount is higher than I want it to be, but going much lower would be pretty difficult.  {Sigh.}
- I'm going to shoot for $375 for August again because we still have a good amount of pantry and freezer goods stocked and we need to build some cushion for the bulk beef purchase that will happen later in August or early September.
- We are committed to living within our means, but struggling to find the balance with enjoying life now, making good experiences and memories with our kids, and not letting our finances put limitations on every decision. 

What works for you for living well on less?

1 comment:

thehomespunheart said...

I admire your desire to achieve less! And, it was hard to read about your outing with girlfriends being so hard because of the cost - but I have SO been there! I am sure that all of these efforts have been a blessing to your family!