Category: How I Budget

May 14th, 2012 by Prudent

First off I LOVE Davey Ramsey and love just about everything he preaches when it comes to money. His grand “snow ball effect” is how we got out of credit card debt and paying cash for a used car has been less stress than another car payment. But when it comes to Ramsey’s famous envelope system I totally disagree. Though this system may work for a few, it doesn’t work for every one. How do I know? Because it didn’t work for me!

I would make the envelopes out as told and place the amount inside on payday. However when time would come to pay that bill from that envelope the money would be gone. How? I don’t have enough discipline when it comes to cash on hand! Envelope #1 would run out and then I would dip into #2 or #3 in order to make up the difference and then start shuffling money around like a stack of playing cards until there was no more money to shuffle. Because this didn’t work for me I started using gift cards. It’s the same concept but I can’t see touch or feel the money so I don’t really know that it is there.

Then one day it dawned on me how far I could actually go with such knowledge and save even more money. Let me try to explain;

  • Krogers allows you to rack up points based on the amount of money you spend in their store
  • these points can be used toward gas
  • Krogers also give you double points when you buy gift cards (sometimes more)
  • you can use Krogers points at Shell Gas stations
  • Krogers sells Shell Gift Cards
  • See where I am going with this??

So when I do my weekly grocery shopping I go ahead and add in my gas amounts for the week buy the Shell gift cards along with my groceries and then fill my tank using the points I earned in my shopping visit. Depending on the week I can save anywhere from .30-.40 cents per gallon of gas.

**Note- I am not the only genius that thought this up and Shell may be catching on…..their gas isn’t as cheap as it use to be…..of course neither are the groceries 😉

Regardless of the gas I still buy my gift cards especially when Subway prints our their BOGO coupons. We LOVE Subway and will use those regularly. I am now known for giving gift cards for every special occasion; birthdays, holidays, mother’s day, father’s day, teacher appreciation and even back to school shopping. I ESPECIALLY purchase these gift cards when Krogers runs their sales where you can earn 4x’s the points.

This goes back to giving every dollar a name only it is more like a “proper” name rather than just “entertainment” it is Subway or Amazon or Spa and etc.

Posted in Budgetting, How I Budget, How I Save

May 10th, 2012 by Prudent

So here is how to get started budgeting you grocery bill with out an adequate stash of coupons….


See I told you saving money took discipline, especially with couponing. But seriously let me give you the run down on my shopping list this week, with No coupons and only a menu plan.
My hubs and I sat down to get our schedule together. We noted the shifts he would be working, the days he would be at school, the nights I would be at work and the days I would have to fix lunch at home and on the go. 
Then we wrote down some of our favorite meals keeping in mind they needed to be cheap meals 😉 I also noted the meals I can cook once and eat twice or more, by freezing or reheating. Here are some of the recipes we came up with; 
    1. Spaghetti 
    • reheated with added corn
    • baked spaghetti
  1. Chicken Alfredo
    • reheated with broccoli
  2. Mac and Cheese with added Ham
  3. Soft tacos with home made tortillas
  4. Only 4 recipes for a weeks worth of dinner and maybe an extra day if you have many left overs.

    I did most of my shopping at Aldis and Save-A-Lot being their prices are cheaper than the average grocer without coupons. For all the ingredients in my menu my total rang up to $60. Pretty darn good if you ask me! As for breakfast and lunch I already had those ingredients at home; peanut butter, jelly, bread, oatmeal and Bisquick.
    Now with this menu I am able to collect this weeks coupons and next weeks which will give me just enough to be on track by the end of the summer……or sooner, I hope!?

    Posted in How I Budget, How I Save, Menu Planning

    April 24th, 2012 by Prudent

    As appose to writing it all on paper, you have to go into great detail, by giving every dollar a name and when I say every I mean EVERY. Not just mortgage and utilities, go right down to the very last penny, even if it is going into your debt jar name it.

    for example;

    • Income – 1750
    • Mortgage – 1252.02
    • Utilities – 89.02
    • Auto 379.89

    your remaining balance would be 29.07, but you are going to give it a name and a home.

    • If you are in credit card debt name it your 1st snow ball account and send it off. 
    • If you can use it as savings, name it and put it into an account.
    • If you are saving for a vacation or a special gift make your self a savings jar so you won’t be tempted to touch it.

    This is how you make your $$ work for you by calling it out and telling it where to go!! Here are a few tips;

    Round up in your check register that way you won’t find yourself in a pinch.
    For instance if your light bill is $102.39 write your check as is then, log it into your register as $103.00 So you now become $.61 to the good. Though you have to forget about your $.61 as if it disappeared!!

    NEVER have “play” money
    now it is ok to have an emergency fund, but you gotta have a place for it. Don’t just stick it in your purse for roadside assistance, that is what AAA is for. Give your emergency fund a name AND a home!!

    Never have cash period
    Even for emergencies there is no reason to have cash. You are more likely to spend it some where other than it was intended to be spent and besides you an make more $$ off of not having cash. How is this possible, I will show you… week. In the mean time get to naming your $$ and making/stuffing those debt jars!!

    Posted in Budgetting, How I Budget, How I Save

    April 16th, 2012 by Prudent

    The first step is simple enough…..PUT IT ALL ON PAPER. Budget with every pay check. This often requires starting a new budget every time. Write down your estimated gross. For example;

    • estimated gross = 1500

    Then write down every bill due within the paycheck period. For instance if you get paid every 2 weeks write down each bill due throughout the next 2 weeks. Don’t forget birthdays and special occasions, treat those as bills too, along with your gas and grocery budgeted amounts. (Keep in mind if you have to travel within this period) Set yourself a limit and list that amount as if it were the amount due. For example;

    • Phone bill – $185
    • Car note – $379
    • Car insurance – $125
    • Personal loan – $356
    • Credit card payment – $77
    • Aly’s birthday party – $25
    • mom and dad’s anniversary – $75
    • Grocery – $200
    • gas – $150

    If you go over your budget; Reevaluate your expenses:

    • Search for birthday gift ideas for Aly’s birthday present, you will find thousands of ideas for budget friendly party gifts specifically for her targeted age.
    • If you don’t have to travel at this time, take a few days to stick around the house, maybe even get some of those honey do projects done. That don’t cost anything, of course.
    • Maybe even budget your menu planning for the next 2 weeks a little tighter. Are there some recipes you can spruce up as disguising the fact they are left overs. (Don’t forget to check your freezer for freezer meals.)

    After you reevaluate, list them again.

    • Phone bill – $185
    • Car note -$379
    • Personal loan – $356
    • Car insurance – $125
    • Credit card payment – $77
    • Aly’s birthday party – $12
    • Mom and dad’s anniversary – $75 (there is no budgeting here ;-))
    • Grocery – $100
    • gas – $120

    Once you have a total you are happy with write the checks!

    Next week I will show you what to do with “left over money”

    Posted in Budgetting, How I Budget, How I Save

    April 10th, 2012 by Prudent

    Now that I have showed you How I Save by using coupons, I am eager to show you How I Budget. Having 3 boys (4 including my hubs) it is hard to keep enough food in the house especially on the weeks we add 2 more. However just like prudent wisdom having a budget is nothing more than a way of life.

    Yet this word stresses some out….B-U-D-G-E-T, in actuality the meaning of the word doesn’t justify it’s true meaning. No really, states that a budget is an estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a given period in the future; a plan of operations based on such an estimate; an itemized allotment of finds for a given period. In reality the word budget means discipline.

    That’s right D-I-S-C-I-P-L-I-N-E

    You can right it all down till your pen falls apart, you can act it out till you have it all memorized and you can even talk about it til you are blue in the face. But until you actually live by it, it is nothing other than a piece of paper with a bunch of numbers scribbled on it.

    To live by the budget you must

    1. (Besides) write it ALL down on paper
    2. give EVERY $$ a name
    3. BURN the envelopes
    4. and STICK WITH IT!!

    Look at budgeting as mindset, once you have your mind set, make sure nothing can change it.

    Posted in Budgetting, How I Budget, How I Save

    saving money
    December 28th, 2011 by Prudent

    saving moneyWell I know that it has been WAY to long since I have posted about my personal grocery savings but I wanted to assure you that I am still saving and pinching my pennies, so much so that tonight I added it all up. And my calculations are better than payday!

    I came across this program from the The Grocery Game, Inc. and have used it my entire savings life. I love it!! All I have to do is enter my OOP and the amount I saved then PRESTO it calculated my cumulative savings/spending for me.

    I copied the program several times in order to keep track of each grocery store. Being that I narrowed my running to 2 stores I deleted the others =0/

    Here is my Krogers savings;
    Groceries valued at $3,167
    Actual OOP $2,064
     Savings = $1,102

    That doesn’t look like much but when you add the fact that the totals include GAS AND DIAPERS it looks AMAZING 😉 I didn’t really keep up with my gas receipts this year but that will be my goal for next year being that there is even more savings to be included just because I use the gift card system at Krogers 😉

    Here is my Publix savings;
    Groceries valued at $1,458
     Actual OOP $687
     Savings = $771

    That looks better but I must admit that I don’t shop at Publix anymore only because of my Krogers Cares card, if Publix came up with something like it would become my second home 😉

    My GRAND total looks something like this;

    Groceries valued at $4,624
     Actual OOP $2,751
     Savings = $1,873


    ***Remember these totals are for a family of 5 and include Gas, diapers, toiletries and cleaning supplies as well as many donated items***

    These totals indicate 3 months I went without grocery shopping. Yep that’s right I said 3 months WITHOUT 😉 Through the entire summer the only time I was caught at the grocery store was to purchase milk, bread and the occasional gas cards and diapers =0)

    My goal is to save even more, spend even less and gain a more valuable reserve in 2012

    Posted in Couponing, How I Budget, How I Save

    April 11th, 2010 by Prudent

    The Grocery Game, Inc. is my #1 resource for saving money, though it is a paid subscription it is cheap enough that I am able to include it into my grocery budget and not miss it. I have used Grocery Game for 3 years now and am a Faithful Grocery Gamer.

    Teri is the owner of The Grocery Game, Inc. and has basically done all the work for the rest of us Grocery Gamers. Each week, rather than thumb through the sale adds and search for my coupons, I am able to sign in to my account and design my grocery list to fit my needs based on current sale listings.

    When The Grocery Game, Inc. lists are released they include all in store sales as well so I don’t have to come back and verify anything for the rest of the week. The lists are also colored coded to ensure the best possible savings.

    • Black=on sale
    • Blue=on sale at bottom dollar
    • Green=free

    Sometimes the qp is what makes the item fall int the color category but the item doesn’t have to be combined with a qp to be a great deal. For example I will translate 😉

    • Black= buy as needed
    • Blue=stock up
    • Green=stock up and/or donate

    Yes there are a lot of free websites out there,

    However let me clarify this is NOT just another web site this IS a service, a service that not only saves you time and money but will save your sanity as well.

    Meaning I don’t have to gamble if this is the best deal on this item for the next 6 weeks

    I know,

    Because it is in the code!

    But you don’t have to take my word for it you can check out The Grocery Game, Inc. here and please use my referral address dana(at)prudentwisdom(dot)com


    Oh and just an FYI, this post certainly contains Affiliate links 😉

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    Posted in How I Budget, How I Save, the Grocery Game

    download (1)
    January 1st, 2008 by Prudent

    My husband and have triumphed many struggles in the life of our marriage and it is due to those struggles that we are who we are today, not just as a couple but as individuals, making us better/stronger partners, friends and lovers in this life long relationship. As it is due to the strength that has been accumulated we are determined to finally conquer the one struggle we have yet to over come…FINANCES. Not just debt but finances, though it is our debt that has us chained down it is our ignorance of finances that has allowed these chains to lock. I would like to think that our ignorance is only a state of mind being that we have never grasped the concept of having our money work for us rather than working for our money, til now.

    After much denial and many hours of looking in the mirror, being of our convictions, facing our faults and owning up to the consequences we caused to fall on our family. Comprehending the impact we were making we realized that we were battling a fight unarmed. It doesn’t matter how much money we make when we continue to live the same life style that led us to this financial state. Although we are in over our heads we are still blessed in many ways to be where we are. We still have a roof over our heads and are not in fear of being foreclosed on, we are still driving safely, not running from the repo-man and we have yet to go hungry. Therefor rather than dwelling in our debt we are thanking God for it.

    Put it all on paper, for some reason it is easier to grasp and you actually feel the kick in the butt. Our monthly bill list looked liked this:

    • Mortgage
    • Utilities
    • Phone/Internet
    • Cell phone #1
    • Cell phone#2
    • Auto insurance
    • Auto loan
    • Life insurance
    • Personal loan
    • Credit Card #1
    • Credit card #2
    • Credit card # 3
    • Groceries-$800
    • Gas
    • Other
    • Doctor bills

    This was the depressing part writing down our official income. When I say official I mean with out depending on overtime or extra income. This was our kick in the butt;

    • My husband’s paycheck
    • My pay check (if any, being self employed)

    OUCH!!! Needless to say our creditors were wearing out Alexander Bell’s invention as they do when you don’t pay what you owe them…..

    Was the official game plan…setting a budget and sticking with it. The hardest part was actually cutting what was able to be cut and decreasing the amount that wasn’t, so I had to do a whole lot of research on what and how.  That is when I discovered the blogshpere and the frugalistic society that it withheld, which in turn unveiled the frugalistic mama inside of me.
    Through out the late part of last year we were able to make a dramatic dent in our debt/lifestyle with out sacrificing so much. My husband sold his truck by making a few transactions on Craigslist in order to pay off one of our credit cards. We contacted the other 2 credit cards and informed them of our financial misfortunes and where one was understanding and helpful the other was very discriminating. Yet the most amazing cut was the wonders I was able to create with coupons, which leads to the description of our monthly bill list now;

    • Groceries-$320
    • Utilities
    • Mortgage
    • Gas
    • Life insurance
    • Auto loan
    • Auto insurance
    • Cell phone #1
    • Cell phone #2
    • Credit card #1
    • Credit card #2
    • Personal loan

    We are using the snow ball effect to pay off our debt and to keep our priorities in order we are paying our bills as listed above. I have not listed the totals here, being that I want to concentrate on the savings in groceries. Due to that dramatic decrease we were able to pay off doctor bills that accumulated to $750. Notice we also omitted others and I am in the process of researching how to decrease our utility bills as well, yet living in a 2 year old house may not render much of a decrease hoping all the money saving gadgets are already installed.

    As far as our depressing income…my husband landed a second job and I was hired at another part time job to supply a more steadier pay check, plus I
    picked up some hours at our church in the child care department which all together brings us up to date.

    Posted in How I Budget

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