10 pounds down 32 pounds to go!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

money isn't everything until you don't have any

Matt and I made a decision in December to start living off his paycheck in January even though I'm still getting unemployment benefits. It has become apparent that a new job won't be easy to come by and it will be good for us to practice living within the means we will have when my unemployment runs out. It is very, very tight, but not un-doable. We wrote down everything, as you do, the fixed monthly bills, the monthly amounts of yearly bills, budgeted amounts for the unfixed bills. Pretty much that last one is food, for people and pets, and sundry items from walmart or target.

Obviously the puppy adds to our budget, food, toys, grooming supplies...he and the meow have to get by with 20 dollars a month each. Vet bills aren't included so this will be an out of savings issue once my benefits run out. There is no allotment for clothing so I can't change sizes at all, not that this is terribly likely, until I get a new job. There will be no new movies or books purchased, which is what the library is for anyway. I'm really fine with all of this, up to here. I've lived with tighter budgets while actually working so at least I have time to cook and garden and the possibility for paying work to improve things.

The part that worries me is the grocery section of the budget. I've always tried to spend around 50 dollars a week, which is what we've budgeted for the present. The difference is that in the past if there was a sale or something to stock up on, I did it with no problem because I really did have the money. Now, for all practical purposes I do not have the money. Stocking up is what makes it possible to live off of 50 a week for two people for three meals a day for seven days. I have staples and a full freezer and so the 50 bucks goes mostly for milk, eggs, juice sort of things...and produce.

It's very close as it is and Matt would like me to fit things like garbage bags and toilet paper in to the 50 dollars a week. I'm a little worried about that. With no paper towels or the like, 50 divided by two by 7 by 3 is about one dollar and nineteen cents per meal. That's cheap. Really, really cheap. Possibly cheaper than I am capable of being and if we do need toilet paper that week it might be what we're eating for dinner two nights a week. I'm a little worried about it but Matt isn't because he doesn't do the grocery shopping. Although last night he ran out of ice cream and it's not in the budget to buy more because he asked me to get some vacuum bags this week. Maybe it will be a practical lesson in home economics for him and I'll get 10 dollars more for charmin.


Rebecca said...

$50 a week!

hot damn.. i need to learn to live like that.

do you have a local farmers market?

that could help save some dough.

your already pretty savvy with coupons, aren't you?

you can do it...

Mal said...

For a while I was doing some pretty awesome thing at CVS (with their rewards card thingie), Walgreen's, and Rite-Aid. There are blogs dedicated to this kind of thing -- if you need the info. Last year when I was fairly (though not deadly) serious about coupons and store specials, I could get away with about $30/week, which should hopefully translate in some way to a couple living for $50/week.

teresa said...

You gotta find the hillbilly housewife site. It's a scream - and it sort of makes me feel horribly wasteful at the same time, oddly enough. I go to school and work and some of that stuff seems like so much work.....but it may be ver do-able for you for the time being.

I'd say, start using coupons (what a pain, but helpful!) and searching store ads before shopping. I try to plan out meals for the week, list what I have to work with and go from there. You can also find a cool recipe/meal idea site at www.recipematcher.com where you can input what you have on hand and it spits out recipes for you.

good luck!

Scale Junkie said...

I've been budgeting for a long time now and meal planning is the way to go. Take inventory of what you have an then get creative. Watch the sales, know what you have on stock and make your meals. I always find Jennie-O turkey on sale and our grocery always has beef roasts on sale for under $2 a pound that I cut up into steaks, cubes for different dishes and a small roast. Check out couponmom dot com too and learn to work the coupon sales. You can save a lot that way too. It can be done. Do you have a mypoints account? When you shop online you earn points that you can redeem for gift cards. I used these gift cards for Christmas gifts this year and I saved one for our Valentines dinner. You can live frugally and still LIVE.