$15 A Day -Food for Four

So as we’ve been preparing for Dale to go back to grad school and no consistent income for the next three years, we have been adjusting our budget to try and crunch numbers as best as we can. We’ve had our budget and have worked on it for the past six years -very religiously. We look at the budget at least 2 times a week to make sure we are on track. 9.5 times out of 10, we are over our budget halfway through the month. Taking from savings is a big NO NO, but sometimes we borrow and then try to dig ourselves out of the “debt” of owing our savings. We put all the money back into savings and then we start over again. Fun cycle hugh?

This month, we have decided to make a huge change in our budget and that is looking at our grocery budget. We were spending hundreds of dollars on groceries (not including eating out) and not really being held accountable at a certain limit. SO. This month. 15 Dollars a Day to feed 4 people. Me, Dale, Lindy, and the tenant in the attic.

I LOVE a good challenge and couldn’t wait until August 1st started. As we got closer and closer to August 1st, I was depleting the items in the freezer and pantry -down to nothing. I didn’t want to go buy more food because then we’d start out the month in the negative. Luckily, we received an extra $50 in the mail so Dale and I decided to “stock up” the day before the month started so that we could accrue enough money over the first few days in August for a shopping trip.

I do not use cash on these trips, I use my debit card, so the money is IN my account, I just don’t want to mess with $15 in 31 envelopes! I keep a running tally in my head each day. If I spend money, I write the remaining balance on that day so I know what I have leftover to add to the next day. Since we look at the budget at least 2 times a week, we both have a pretty good idea of what our numbers are.

I have found that stocking up at LEAST twice a month is essential. As I got halfway through the month, I was out of the basics like peanut butter, napkins, dog food, butter, laundry detergent. You can imagine that those items cost…MORE than $15…leaving me no money for food for that day. I think this next month, we will set aside $50 for the day before the month and $50 for halfway through to help with stocking up when everything is depleted.

I am a big menu planner. I save more money and more time by planning menus out and taking one big shopping trip. This $15 a day venture only allows me to plan out 2-3 days at a time, which is not what I’m used to, but I have managed.

To be honest, we are very optimistic about this adventure and looking forward to trying it another month. For the first time in seven years, we have not spent our entire grocery budget halfway through the month!

I have $30 for tomorrow (today and tomorrow’s money) -looking forward to spending it!

People keep asking me how it is going; wondering if I use cash, how I keep track of the money accruing or if I have to shop everyday. One month down, we’ll see how September goes.

Do you do anything similar?



 

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