May 05, 2012

Struggling with the Budget

I have struggled for the past 5 weeks with our budget. I have overspent and have chastised myself to get back on track. Since May 1st I have diligently been getting back on track.

With a new puppy in the house I haven't had much time for planning meals, planning my schedule or anything else. So with lack of planning, goes spending money on things that I normally wouldn't buy such as convenience foods or ordering pizza. It did make my life a little easier over the past few weeks though.

Molly trying to get our other dog, Griffey, out of the wading pool.
I have pondered a challenge for myself. I am not going to have a no spend day, week or month. What I have come up with is turning into two challenges. One challenge will be regarding food. I will be eating from my pantry and freezer and only buying what is necessary. Hopefully it will only be produce and other perishables that I will be purchasing. 

The second challenge will be for other purchases - non-food. Both of these challenges will be "need" based. In other words, do I actually "need" this? Pretty basic isn't it, but I want to take it another step further. For the non-food challenge it isn't enough to determine if it is a need, I will ask the question, is it essential? Aha. That puts things in a different perspective. 

Asking if something is essential is really the basic question to saving money. Anyone can take a want and put it in the need category if they really try to justify it. It's not so easy to make something essential.

The other day I spent a total of $5.84 on 6 lbs. of fresh strawberries. Yummy strawberries just to eat right out of the fridge. Necessary - you betcha!! We needed some fresh fruit and these were on sale for only 94 cents a lb. 

But - and you knew there was going to be a but -- I looked at the grocery ads for this week. I wanted to check on prices of fresh produce and milk. They are having a sale on 85% lean ground beef for only $1.99 lb. In order to get the $1.99 price, you have to purchase it in 10 lb. tubes. 

I only wanted to add this "dilemma" to this post as when you are consistently purchasing items on sale, it is hard to pass up a bargain. I am still pondering this one and I have until Tuesday to make a decision as that is when the sale ends. This is an incredible sale and I could buy 20 lbs. (the limit) and I would be set for a very long time and for a lot of burgers on the grill.

Need or want??? Never thought I would ask this question about ground beef.


Living on Less Money said...

Essential.. I like that perspective. I've been like you... up and down. Hubby and I have decided to save every penny we can to help in buying a home so I'm back in savings mode. I pulled out my Tightwad Gazette the other night and read Amy's story again. Inspiring!

I really like your blog and will be back.

Debby said...

I would say ground beef would be first in the need department then the want. You need to eat and you want to save so it's a winner for sure!! Sometimes when I do a no spend week I relize I lose out on a good buy for something, in the end getting in on great deals saves me more in the long run. We too have been sloppy in our spending lately,I am trying to get back on track before it becomes a bad habit! Ha

~Carla~ said...

Your puppy is soo sweet!! :) It's great to ask if it's "essential"! I think you should not look at the store Ads if you really want to save $$ and eat from the pantry!

Anonymous said...

It all depends on what all you already have in your freezer. If you have some beef in there and can get til the end of the month with everything in the freezer, I say do not buy more meat. Great deal or not.

As the 'great' Amy would say, "we all have to decide when we have reached our enough".

I have learned the hard way, that just because I have set aside $200 for food, I do not HAVE to spend that amount each and every month. Due to cooking from scratch and making extra for freezer meals, some months I can save a little for a future month when we suddenly are going through more food. Usually this happens when I get lazy and stop making extra to freeze.

Do the pantry and freezer challenge. It is always a eye opener. If you do not have a certain ingredient, make do with what you have. That is the moment when all our frugal learning really kicks in.

blessings, jilly
Did Molly ever get her turn in the pool?

Maureen said...

If you are going to eat this ground beef, save yourself some money down the track and you can afford to purchase it now then it is a need. If you are going to enjoy making dishes to hand out to your family, friends and church then I would class that as a want.
I have never seen ground beef that cheap in years, so for me that would be a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

I jusat found your blog after searching Pinterest for The Tightwad Gazette. I read the first edition as a new bride struggling to make ends meet with a husband in graduate school and it changed my life. As for your dilemma of whether or not to buy the meat--you could split the baby and just buy one tube/ten pounds and reduce the amount of meat in your recipes by 50%. Just a thought.