I thought I’d share my personal New Years “challenges” (I don’t want to use “resolution”) with you all to explain some of the changes on my blog. Feel free to participate, too, if you’d like!
My weekly posts will basically stay the same, but beginning on Sunday, I will be making these two weekly changes:
*Mondays will change from “More Savings Monday” to “Menu Planning Monday”
*Saturday will still be “Savings Saturday” but I will also post my total savings for that week
Here are my challenges for the year:
*$40 a week grocery budget (this is for a family of four) – This will include all of my groceries. I do an overall monthly budget, but rather than allotting a certain amount for the month, I am going to try to stay within the $40/week to make it easier for everyone to follow. I do my grocery shopping on Saturday, so the details from this will be posted in “Savings Saturday” but my menu for the week will be posted on Mondays.
At this point, my grocery budget does not include paper products. I don’t really budget for these things because I basically have a six month to year supply of most of these products thanks to CVS/Walgreens. Any additional paper products I do buy will most likely be covered by ECBs or RRs. It also does not include health & beauty products (I have at least a year supply of most of these and buy most of the rest using ECBs or RRs) and does not include our expenses for eating out. This comes out of a separate category in our budget.
The $40/week will be based on my out of pocket expenses. If I use gift cards, coupons, RR, or ECBs, those will not count toward the $40 weekly budget.
**I wanted to add that I see this as a possibility for me because I have a stockpile of items already to work with. If you don’t have a stockpile, it may cost you a little bit more to get started, but I will be posting items that you should stock up on while they are super cheap as they come along. Also, two of the major grocery stores around me triple coupons up to .39 and double coupons up to .50. We also don’t have any food allergies or dietary restrictions that we have to accommodate and I don’t have any babies eating baby food or formula right now.
*Meeting the following savings goals without touching our monthly paychecks
Each month, we save for some things such as auto maintenance/registration; property insurance/taxes/HOA fees (we do our own escrow after a bad experience with our escrow company a few years back); planned vacations; clothing, and long term emergency planning. If you don’t have an ING account, this is a great place to keep all of your “extra” savings accounts because you can create sub accounts and track everyone in one place.
The following savings accounts will not be funded through our monthly paychecks. I will use the “extra” things I do to fund these accounts. You can follow my savings progress through the tickers on the right side bar of the blog.
*Gift savings – This will include Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and other gifts that we need to pay for throughout the year.
*Baby emergency fund – If you follow Dave Ramsey, you know that this is. Basically it’s $1000 that you keep on hand to cover any emergencies
*Rolling entertainment fund – We have a monthly entertainment budget, but this will cover any spur of the moment “extras” like a weekend getaway or an unplanned family excursion. It’s “rolling” because if we use the money, I’d like to rebuild it 🙂
Here are the ways that I plan to fund these savings accounts:
*Payment from various survey companies – Mysurvey.com and Pinecone Research are my two favorites right now
*Checks from rebates (I earned about $800 last year from rebates and many of the rebates I submitted were for products I bought for “free” using ECBs or RRs)
*Garage sales – we have two community garage sales each year
*Ebay sales – every six months or so, we do a clean out of our house and items that are not being donated or sold at our garage sale get listed on Ebay
*Payment from articles that I write for Associated Content
*Money from our cash back rewards credit cards – this works well for us because we pay these cards off in full every month….I don’t recommend this route if you’re not in a position to do that