Sunday, November 13, 2016

On being a DINK but still having a Budget

Together, Keith and I make up a DINK household. What this means is "Dual Income, No Kids." While this does mean that we don't currently have to worry about diapers, school tuition, and really cute kid clothes (except for our nieces and nephew), it doesn't mean that we have loads of extra income to frivolously spend on whatever we want. It doesn't mean we don't have bills. It doesn't mean we never think about the cost of gas. It doesn't mean we don't need to have a budget.

I'll be the first one to admit that I'm horrible at budgeting. A few years ago I did the Dave Ramsay envelope system and it worked out really really well for me. I was conscious of where my money went and I worked hard to save as much as I could. And it was great! Then I stopped. And lately, I've been thinking about ways to trim down my spending.

The area I struggle with budgeting is embarrassing: it's food. I'm not the kind of person who will go and blow money on clothes, shoes, jewelry, or decorations. I'm the kind of person who will put a $10 sweater back on the rack so that I can feel better about spending $10 on coffee creamer and Cheez It's, a bottle of wine, or take out for dinner because I don't want to cook or think about grocery shopping.

I could list 15 different reasons why I justify buying as much food as I do, but what it comes down to is that I just really excel at being lazy in the kitchen. When I've worked for 11 hours and dealt with sick, cranky people the last thing I want to do is stand over a stove while something summers or try to use brain power to think about what kind of a meal I could make with what I find in the fridge (which is usually vegetables that have gone bad, milk that is questionable, tortillas, and some leftovers from the other week that I really meant to cook, I swear!

I'm tired of throwing food away. I'm tired of trying to figure out what to cook after a long day of work. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to do one big bulk shopping trip and then not go to the grocery store for another week, at least! I made it a day before I went to Wal Mart with a friend to look for Christmas decorations and ended up with 8 cans of soup, a bag of rice, some champagne, and refried beans. But after that second trip I did great! I only went to the grocery store once and that was for milk and wine, which was actually justified. I also sent Keith to the store because while we were still spending the money, I wasn't going to the store so I was still winning.

Only grocery shopping once a week isn't a good way for me to do it, I've realized. What I'm going to try next is to take out cash and give myself a grocery allowance every week. Having the actual cash will help because I will literally be able to see my money being taken away. My plan is that once a week I will do a big trip where I buy the bulk of stuff: meats, milk, eggs, canned food, tortillas, etc. Them, during the rest of the week if I realize I don't have a lime for my fancy lime chicken it won't be the end of the world to go pick up a lime. As long as money comes out of tr "food" envelope,it's allowed. The trick with this will be this is what I'll use if I go to mcdonalds or Starbucks. My grocery money is for all of my FOOD that I consume. 

My goal in this is a few things:
• spend less money, obviously
• produce much less waste
• find creative ways to liven up my current biting dishes.
• get out of the habit of buying something just because "I want it" or "it's a really good deal!"

Since I don't really have to worry about my clothing budget (I buy maybe one new pair of jeans every 2-3 years. Maybe less. The jeans I wear now are all Gap jeans that I bought in 2011. My sweatpants right now are from 2008. I just don't like to buy clothes. 

By sticking to this budget we should be saving a couple hundred dollars extra every month. Maybe more once I realize how incredibly stupid my daily trips to the grocery store are. Think about it: if you spend $20 a night on dinner and then do that every night for 5 work nights, there's. $100! And that's just a really low estimate of how bad I am with a grocery budget. 

So now I really Need to stick with this. We recently came upon a problem with our deck that could end up costing us thousands and thousands of dollars and I don't want to look around and think "where did we spend that $5,000 we could have put toward having a safe place to park our cars? Oh. It's my belly. That spare tire is what's left of my gluttony. Super.

So, I'm trying will you help me? what do I buy? What do I cook? How do I coupon? 8 WANT to be a savvy shopper but I really can't do it alone because OH MY GOD IS THAT WINE THEYRE SELING??? BRB...

21 comments:

  1. You're like me! I'm way too tired from school (doing my Masters) to do much when I get home so I end up with so much waste, especially vegetables. So here's something that really works for me, when you do your weekly shopping (I personally do it every 2 weeks) when you get back prep everything you bought for any meals you might make. So for example what I do is chop up all the veggies that go bad pretty fast like leafy greens (parsley, cilantro.. etc.), bell pepper, tomatoes and so in the shapes and sizes I usually go for when cooking, stick them in ziplock bags and put them in the freezer.. so when I have to cook I don't have to prep anything, I just empty bags into pots and pans and I'm good to go. It's a huge time saver. I do the same with proteins, I buy them fresh and store them in neat portions in the freezer.
    Hope this helps!

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    1. This does help! I just have one question: HOW do you keep your food from getting freezer burn?

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    2. That's what the ziplock bags do.. I just make sure I empty out any air before locking them up securely and putting them in. I've been doing this forever and never had an issue!

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    3. Yesterday I put some chicken in ziplock bags, squeezed the air out, and then wrapped them in aluminum foil. I think my problem is that I buy that really cheap bags that don't TOTALLY seal everything in!

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  2. Do you have an Aldi in your town? Aldi is a super-low cost store. Just be sure to bring reusable bags and a quarter for deposit on your shopping cart. Otherwise, meal plan for a week and make a list! Cooking might be less stressful/annoying if you know you have all the ingredients on hand already and you don't need to go to the grocery store for a lime. And try crockpot recipes if you really don't like cooking when you get home. Dry beans cooked in the crockpot are wonderful for saving money and can be used in so many ways.

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    1. We don't have an Aldi :( but meal planning is definitely what I need to do. I love my crock pot but I really only have one or two meals that I actually cook in it 😳

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  3. We have similar spending issues, I will 100% put down the $10 sweater because I don't need it, I just want it. But a sale at the grocery store...I once bought 15 bottles of BBQ sauce because it was on sale for $1 a bottle and the limit was 15. I love cooking though so my motivation is a little different, I'll buy ingredients because I want to try them and they're on sale only to get them home and realize I have no idea what to do with a coconut (true story). It sounds super cliche but meal planning and list making is my saving grace. I plan out my meals for the week and make a list of everything I need to buy and only buy those things. I'll often let myself get one "treat" (this week it was miso soup that looked interesting) and then end it there. I'm also particularly enthusiastic about freezer meals, I'll spend one afternoon cooking a bunch of stuff and then portion it out and put it in the freezer. I'll even do individual portions that can be re-heated in the microwave, essentially making frozen dinners only 10x more healthier and tastier!

    Sorry for the super lengthy/rambling comment, I'm passionate about these sort of things. :)

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    1. "Because I have no idea what to do with a coconut" haha that made me giggle and feel better! I love the idea of letting yourself get a treat! I think I will incorporate that. Where do you find the meals you make? Do you come up with them on your own? Are they recipes you've been making for a long time? I will look at recipes but if they sound too involved I'm like "NOPE" and then I just end up making one of my staples which isn't exciting at all.

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  4. You can do it!! I used to be just like you, or the complete opposite, I'd go like twice a month and buy EVERYTHING, and then it would all go bad and either way I was wasting money. What I found works for me is to actually plan my meals. I know it's a pain, but I make a grocery list based on what meals I'm going to make for the week + necessities (olive oil, milk, snacks, etc.). In the same "note" in my phone, I write the meal those ingredients will make and I just delete them as I make them. I go about every 7-10 days depending on how long left-overs last and how many times we eat out. I wouldn't say I save money, but I definitely hit the store less, and I hate the store. My recommendation would be to start with a list, include your snacks, your wine, etc. There's no reason you can't buy multiple bottles of wine in one trip to last you longer than two days :) GOOD LUCK!

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    1. I definitely need to just stock up on the wine. The bigger grocery store where I live usually has a deal where if you buy a certain number of bottles they're all cheaper. I think I'm partially just afraid of looking like a lush! Thank you for your tips :)

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  5. And Goodwins is not cheap by any means! Honestly I go to Walmart and Stater Brothers on pay days (1st and 15th) and do my grocery shopping. I buy the 5lb bags of frozen chicken and use it in crock pot recipes. Sometimes I buy red meat or salmon. Staters has an amazing frozen salmon filet that is like $8 and it could seriously feed you both for two days! Veggies and fruit seem to be my waste so I try to chop them up the same day and put them in containers that I can grab to snack on or use in the crock pot. Seriously, not kidding about my love of my crock pot and long days with dinner ready when I get home at 8 pm. You know what we should do, get together and meal plan!!!

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    1. I literally just learned how cheap Wal Mart is for food. I'm going to go there so much more now! I hate the drive over to Staters. It's not long but it just seems like it takes forever, plus that store always has a million people in it. Can we actually please get together and meal plan? THIS WILL HELP ME SO MUCH.

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  6. You sound exactly like me. Food is definitely where I spend/waste the most money. I need to do better at meal planning and eating at home. I know it would save me a lot.

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    1. I'll do it if you do it!! It's just that food is SO delicious...

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  7. You've got this! Do you use an app like mint to track your spending? Could be a good way just to be more aware (even if you're pulling out cash for groceries). It helps keep me in check. Also, use Ibotta! You can get cash back for things you buy- we try to only use it for things we ACTUALLY buy not buy things because they're on there. You can use my referral code https://ibotta.com/r/bbufnqx

    I also wrote a post on this a while back- I have gone down to weekly meal planning now as it gives me more flexibility when one of us has to work late, or we eat out unexpectedly and don't use the veggies we had bought for dinner (because I can then use them for another meal). http://www.sagetheblog.com/2014/04/how-to-meal-plan-and-save-money.html
    And obviously as I mentioned I shop for groceries online now which helps!

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  8. The grocery store is my happy place, I seriously go 3x a week ... but! I clip coupons, and use apps like Ibotta, and Bev-Rage to get $ back ... so I'm FAIRLY good at it ...

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  9. I try to meal-plan either Friday or Saturday and then go grocery shopping on Sunday. A good tip I have learned is when chicken breast is on sale, buy it! Then I divide them into freezer bags (2 breasts in each) then dump a sauce in there-salsa, pesto sauce, bbq sauce etc. Then I freeze what I won't be using that week. Then, next week when we are going to have chicken I take out the bag with the pre-marinated chicken, thaw, then either put it in the crockpot or cook however. It has been a great timesaver! I also know that on certain nights we will probably have leftovers, so I try to incorporate those leftovers (chicken, pulled pork, steak) into another meal; tacos, sandwiches, pasta, etc. Pinterest will become your new best friend for meal planning! =)

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  10. Hi everyone, I'm so excited.
    My ex-boyfriend is back after a breakup,I’m extremely happy that will are living together again.
    My name is Mary Wilkie from England.
    My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you.Email him at:( Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ),you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: ( +2348071622464 ),His website: http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi everyone, I'm so excited.
    My ex-boyfriend is back after a breakup,I’m extremely happy that will are living together again.
    My name is Mary Wilkie from England.
    My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you.Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,His website: http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .

    ReplyDelete
  12. Excited and extremely happy, and thankful that my marriage with my husband has been restored. me and my husband have been married of 22 years together 23. After i found him texting a coworker and questioned him, he said they were just friends but 3 wks later he told me he didnt love me anymore that he was in love with her and that i made him feel bad about himself and she didnt. He left home for 2 wks came home and left 2 wks later. Been gone for 3 1/2 months now. Hes been going to bars, calling women, lying like crazy, drinking like a fish and hasnt spoken to the kids the whole time hes been gone. His whole personality has changed. We believe he is going thru some sort of mid life crisis. Its crazy, he is acting like a person that we dont know anymore. Is it possible to get my marriage back. Because I know that he is going thru some crazy thing right now Im finding it very hard to let go. I still love him. How can I save my marriage and family when my husband is in the middle of a mid life crisis and wont listen to my or anyone else. We are so confused. i try to communicate with him but still hang off the phone on me,I love my family. and my husband and i need to keep my marriage save with him from other women so i have to seek for a love spell to keep our marriage stronger and safe so going online one day on facebook, i saw a prayer point, and a website say if you need your ex back, save your marriage, and fight your husband from divorce. i was so very happy a hopeful again that i can get back with my husband after i saw this website so i read this testimony of this website on how he help save his marriage nd i was excited to give a try so i contacted him and give him all the reason why i need his help, and he assured me that with-6 good hours of his spell that my husband will come back home to me so i believe and trust him coz he was like a father to me also a man of his words so today am happy that my husband who has been away for 3 1/2 months now with his coworker is back home with apology plz you all should help me and thank Dr happy he really save my life and my marriage so email him if you need help also on happylovespell2@gmail.com call +2348133873774 about his service and web site: http://happyspelltemple.webs.com/

    ReplyDelete
  13. After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: spiritualherbalisthealing@gmail.com or call him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS'

    ReplyDelete