Pages

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Diet That Won't Make Me Skinny.

& it won't make my wallet skinny, either. I'm actually hoping it will make my wallet a little chubby. ;)

We're going on a money diet, folks.

Let's not beat around the bush. Times are tough & the economy sucks. We can't control that. What we can control is how we spend/manage our money that we do have.

If you have been a reader of my blog for a while, you'll remember when we did this last May. Well, that was a big fat FAIL. We were going to try not to eat out & I was going to try to cook more often. Ya, that lasted maybe a week & we were back to our normal spending habits.

This time, we don't have a choice. This isn't a game. We have to cut back on everything we possibly can. Do we want to? No. Of course not. But with me only working two days a week {my mom just got a new job & can now only watch Claire once a week} & having a baby, we have to make cuts on our spending. It sucks, but it's life.

So last week, hubbs & I sat down with his handy dandy Ipad budget app. & literally put in every single bill we pay. How much we spend on diapers, groceries, medical bills, medication, car payment, etc. The amount we spend a month is shocking. I wanted to puke. I actually think I did a little. Just kidding.

After we added up all of our expenses, we went through to see where we could cut back:

*Grocery shopping is a HUGE problem in our house. I suck at making lists. If I make a list, I usually always venture off of it & buy other crap items that I don't need. I suck at meal planning, too. I will walk out of the store after spending $150 but have maybe two dinners to make & I end up running to he store 4-5 times during the month to find things to make for dinner. Oh & I never use coupons.

Ya, I'm the epitome of a bad shopper.

This obviously needs to change. I am going to start meal planning at the beginning of the month & from there, write down allll of the ingredients I need to make those meals. I'm also going to go to Costco & buy all of the meat in bulk & freeze it. Hopefully that will save us $$ in the long run. The last thing in attempt to control our grocery bill, is to only allot a certain amount of money to spend, use cash to pay with so that we don't feel like we have an unlimited amount to spend & CUT COUPONS.

*We are selling my car. I drive a tank H3. I absolutely love it for the nasty Utah winters. BUT I hate that it eats our bank account each month. We don't need that big of a vehicle. Yes, it's super safe for Claire & I, but we can find a more affordable vehicle that's just as safe & much more cost effective/fuel efficient. I'm sad, but if it's going to help us save money, I'm all for it. We are hoping to cut our monthly payment down by at least $100. So, if anyone wants to buy a red '07 h3, let me know. HAHA!

*Only buy Claire things when she needs them. This one sucks. Plain & simple. hmph.

*NO MORE EATING OUT. This is where most of our extra cash has been going lately. Between my daily Starbucks runs {which are no more, thanks to my espresso maker!}, quick fast food runs & weekend sit-down dinners, our wallets were being drained. We have to stop. I'm now making my own morning lattes, hubbs doesn't go out to lunch & I'm cooking more at home. We've decided to allow ourselves to eat out once a month. I think that's fair. This is going to be by far, the most difficult task in our money saving journey. We love food & I don't love to cook. But we can do it!

*Cut our DISH Network package. We are now spending $20.00 less a month. I'm sorry, but we aren't a family that can go without cable all together. We need it for our sanity. Judge if you may, but I need my Teen Mom fix! hehe.

*Cut our Internet bill by $20.00.

*No more shopping. Not that I did much of that for myself, anyway.

So, I think this is a good start. Anywhere we can cut corners, we did. & we are getting our taxes filed next week. That will help so much. We are hoping to pay off all of our hospital bills. That will be a huge weight lifted!

Wish us luck!

What do you & your families do to cut back on unnecessary spending each month? And what are some east, affordable meals for lunches & dinners? Please share! I need inspiration & ideas!

31 comments:

  1. wow, sounds like you guys have done great so far! good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. We make lists and our grocery bill still tends to be crazy. It is one area we are working on. Have you heard of E-meals (www.e-mealz.com)? We have been doing it for about 6 months now and it has helped us a TON. We were really bad about planning out meals, which caused us to eat out a ton. Now we are following their WW points plan (so we are losing weight too) and we love it. We aren't wasting as much food and a lot of the meals make leftovers for lunches. It gives you a full menu and grocery list for 5 meals a week. It is $5 a month, but toally worth it for us.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Do you like Mexican food? I do NOT like to cook, but I mix together different variations of black beans, corn, avocado, onions, tomatos, olive oil, and hot sauce or salsa -- just whatever I have but all these things are dirt cheap. You can eat it alone or in a tortilla or over rice. I saw it on Rachel Ray and I eat this probably 3 times a week and it never gets old. You don't even have to cook it, just heat it up.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We need to do that too. We have a budget but we never check in to see if we stuck to it. I want to start doing the all cash thing as well. I hope you keep us updated on how it goes!

    ReplyDelete
  5. casseroles, chili and pasta dishes are usually great meals for us to have two nights in a row. They make plenty, and are still yummy to eat re-heated. We tend to buy meat in bulk also and freeze it, then we just buy several different vegetables for side dishes each night. We may have pork loins 3 times one week (if that's the meat that was on sale) but we have a different side each night, so it doesn't seem TOO repetitive :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh god, I don't know how someone goes without cable. I love watching my shows once Liv is asleep and I have time to myself.

    I never used to cook, but after I moved to Calgary and didn't work at all...I picked it up and surprisingly I love it. I started reading some food blogs and I tend to use my slow cooker a lot bc you can start it early in the day and have dinner ready by 5 or 6.

    My favorite food blog is pioneer woman. She has lots of pictures and step by step instructions! I think thats a plus if you aren't comfortable cooking...that way you know how its supposed to look along the way.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. money diets are TOUGH. We started one yesterday too. We spend way to much money on eating out and random grocery items. I can relate 100%. My goal for the month is to meal plan each week and STICK to it. We can do this together!

    ReplyDelete
  8. coupons my dear!

    plus i know having a little girl doesnt make it easy not to shop ....but for mine i make all her hair bows and accessories....so that helps when i feel the itch to buy her something i make her something instead.

    Try selling some stuff you dont need or want on EBAY too ! That extra little cash helps. I cant tell you how many times ive bought shoes and not worn then and finally just said F-it! Throw them on EBAY and get a little $$$

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm totally going through the same thing at our house! Coupons and not eating out/ordering pizza will be a huge thing for us! For recipes, I always google things. There are really simple recipes out there and the crockpot is my best friend! You can throw anything in there in the morning and hardly do much cooking and it be done by the time your hubby gets home!
    Good luck and keep us updated! I know I need the support too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. *coupons.com, smartsource.com, mommysavers.com

    *soap.com, every order over $25 ships for free (1-2 day shipping) and you can combine with diapers.com. I buy baby stuff and personal care stuff here, because otherewise I would go to Target, wander around and spend $100 on crap I don't need. This way I'm home, I get what I want, the prices are the same as Target, and I save $$

    *restaurant.com for restaurant gift certificates, you usually get them for at least 50% off, and you can use these for your monthly dinners out to eat.

    *when Claire starts eating solids, make your own baby food...it is SOOOOO much cheaper. Seriously, 2 sweet potatoes, organic, cost me like $2 I think, and it made 30 1 oz ice cube tray servings.

    ReplyDelete
  11. definitely try to use coupons more often. My husband ALWAYS has to remind me to cut out coupons but when we use them, it save alot of money.
    I do bring lunch to work everyday and that is SUCH a money saver. I stock up on cans of soup, low carb wraps, salad, turkey and cheese etc... and if I make chicken for dinner, I'll make a little extra and cut some up to put in my salad for lunch the next day. It's good to get in the habit of eating semi-healthy now so when Claire is eating regular meals you won't have to rely on take-out.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good luck with this! :)
    I think you should maybe try eating out once a week and then going to once a month, it's really hard, believe me!
    I found a great resource for saving on groceries! www.moneysavingmom.com
    Thanks for making me think about getting myself in line, too!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Isn't crazy how much your life changes once you have a baby. I mean before having a baby I feel like there was no worries with money, we spent what we want when we wanted on whatever we wanted. However once the baby came we had totally different expenses to worry about and the word savings meant something totally different! So we are on the same boat as you, and its amazing to see what is possible to save! A book that we read that seriously helps SO much was the dave ramsey book. You should read it, it helps alot and gets you motivated! but good luck with it.... it will all be worth it!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Good Luck with your cuts; we are cutting back as well & our biggest thing at the moment is trying to sale our boat. we love it but with an 18 month old & another one on the way does it really make sense having it???

    You have also reminded me that I need to get back to meal planning, list making & coupon cutting ASAP because when I did those 3 little things we really could see the savings!

    ReplyDelete
  15. We have so much in common! (yes, I am a Teen Mom addict, too) I am also aweful at grocery shopping, hate to cook, and never cut coupons. But we are also trying to be better. We started using Mint.com to track all of our spending and it has been a HUGE help in setting budgets and making sure we don't go over. Check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I just recently signed up for Peapod grocery delivery service. The delivery is free for orders over $100 (and with 2-year old twin boys, every order is over $100!), and I am finding that it helping me do two things that you mentioned -- it helps me budget b/c there is a running calculator at the top of the page, and if I only have $150 budgeted, that is all I allow myself to spend, and it is also helping me plan meals in advance -- because I have to order groceries a few days before delivery. I am also finding it easier to stay organized and not get distracted and stray from my list because I can sit in front of my computer, browse the sales ad, find coupons, and shop accordingly. Might be something worth looking in to, if there is one in your area, especially b/c there are a lot of promotional codes for new users (like $10 off first purchase, $6 off for paying with direct check, etc). Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Good for you, Momma! Cutting back spending royally sucks, for anyone, and it's always hard because so much seems like necessities. Let's see... any tips that I have... All we really do is try and eat out only on weekends (I cook most of the time during the week just because I enjoy it) We don't really go shopping all that often (if we had a precious baby girl, it'd obviously be hard not to!) and we really only buy things that we NEED. It's hard, and it sucks, but being newlyweds and trying to save for a house is no fun. But, just remember, it'll pay off in the long run!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I clip coupons, plan weekly menus, and never go shopping without a list (and coupons).
    We got rid of cable and got Netflix instead. It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be, Netflix has a lot to choose from, and we watch a lot of things instantly on our PS3.
    We have a basic cell phone plan with no texting, and no home phone.
    We switched to cloth diapers when DD was 6 mos old. We use the Flip system which is very cost effective and easy to use. It does take a little more time and effort, but it is soooo worth it to not be paying $50 or more on diapers every month!
    We eat out only once or twice a month and use Restaurant.com certificates a lot like someone else said.
    I make a lot of DD's baby food. It's easy, fun, and saves a lot of money.

    Good luck! I love reading your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  19. We are doing the same thing. It is amazing when you look at your expenses each month and have no idea were any of the money went to. We are staring the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace 7 steps. He has a great website that you can download and print your monthly expenses. Good Luck with everything!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. We all have to cut back! One thing Jeremy and I do is allowance. It makes us really see if we need something. We do 10 or 20 bucks. He usually buys monster energy drinks and crap and i spend mine on Ella or smoothies. It helps us watch what we are spending on junk.

    Also with grocery shopping, we are BAD at it too. We throw away so much food that sits there and goes bad. After I have my surgery, I am hoping to plan meals too. Keep us posted on pointers.

    I also recommend Pioneer woman and slow cookers like Desi! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Good luck! We're doing the Dave Ramsey plan, and as much as it sucks, I know it will be worth it eventually.

    We cloth diaper, which saves TONS of money, we plan our menus and shop accordingly and we don't have cable (I know you like it, but streaming Netflix is only $7.99 a month! And you can watch Teen Mom on MTV's Web site, fyi, for FREE!)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh, and ditto what Mama Fee said- the allowance saves us from spending too much money on junk. We get $75 every two weeks for "personal" stuff like DVDs, decor items and fast food "wants" like Starbucks or Chick-fil-a breakfast.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I hear you! We were on the verge of not so great things financially. I started my own business and the money I'm bringing in is helping tremendously.

    Since you're at home most days of the week, have you thought about starting your own business? It's not hard, and if done right, doesn't take too much time either.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I use couponmom.com for our grocery coupons. We also go to Costco and we love their diapers! We pay about $33 for 216 diapers....lasts a long time!! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Have you thought about making freezer meals? It's actually pretty cheap and you have a whole meal (minus sides) ready to go. I just got into it and I'm in love. I'm just doing one dish at a time and it's been great! It might seem like a lot of money on groceries at first but when you realize that its for 4-8 meals it's really cheap.

    ReplyDelete
  26. We never thought we could get rid of our cable, but we did last year. Almost every network puts their episodes on their website the day after they air. (CW is one exception that takes about 7 days). We were never able to watch the show when it aired anyways (we would have to DVR it) so we figured we could save the $80 and watch our shows online. We just hook the computer up to the TV and hit play. And we still get free channels (nbc, abc, cbs). It was SO MUCH EASIER than we thought it would be. The first couple months were the hardest.

    Oh, and I'm not judging. I think the rest of the things you're doing/planning are awesome! Good Luck! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am starting to cut coupons and looked online at the krazy coupon lady website to started. We had cable, but switched to dish network which was A LOT cheaper. We also slowed down our internet speed which saved money and you can't really tell. We have recently looked into shopping around for car and home insurance. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  28. We also have started the Dave Ramsey plan. We just started this past month, and even though it has only been a month we've seen a big change in our spending, as well as in our savings. We are also guilty for eating out way too much and when we started budgeting it was almost sickening to see how much money we wasted a month. I read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and loved it. Easy principles, easy baby steps. I would definitely check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  29. My husband and I did Dave Ramsey's class called Financial Peace University and it was a great program. It gives you lots of tools, a plan and accountability. You can go to his website to find a class near you. Living on a budget is not fun, but it takes away so much stress!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Amazon's Mom program is awesome for baby/household necessities. If you do the "Subscribe and Save" program for things like diapers, wipes, toilet paper, etc., you can save a lot (I blogged about the program recently). I also use ebates.com to get cash back on an online shopping I have to do (I made about $25 at Christmas). I clip coupons, I make a grocery list and I meal plan as much as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  31. i'm not sure what the PP's said (i'm too lazy to read all of them, ha!) but we also had to cut out a lot of expenses for me to stay home. have you heard of hip2save.com? she posts deals all of the time and gives you great deal scenarios with coupons for different stores, etc. i've cut my grocery bill a lot by her help! also, Costco typically isn't much cheaper than other places (unless you have a Costco coupon). i've found by using coupons at grocery stores that it's way cheaper. i buy tons when it's on sale and have coupons and freeze it. and i freeze tons of stuff. bread, lunch meat, pancakes, you name it. it's amazing what you can freeze w/o hurting the quality of the food.

    we like you guys, traded in a car and saves over $100 a month, cut our cable, phone, and internet bills. we try hard to put any extra money toward are stupid credit card debt so hopefully one day we can take that payment away for good.

    good for you guys for starting this! just remember YOU CAN DO IT and the payoff of being able to spend more time with your kiddo is way better than any take out could ever taste. :)

    ReplyDelete