Sunday, September 6, 2015

September 2015: The $30/week grocery challenge

My sister got married this summer (yay!), and we've had a lot of fun with traveling, gifts, and luxurious spending. Well, luxurious is questionable. Our idea of luxury isn't average, but really, it's been a spendy summer. We spared no expenses throughout the summer, which is very unlike us. 

We have some goals that we established over a year ago financially that I'm going to re-visit here in text. 

The goal is to eliminate all of our debts, bringing our overall monthly expenditures down to minimal levels. Once that happens, we will employ the use of compound interest with the left over money. Mr. Money Mustache is the inspiration here, along with a few others. 

  1. We've been trying to pay down the mortgage. We bought the house at a ridiculously low price right after the real estate crash, enabling us to enjoy immediate equity in the home. We no longer pay PMI, and haven't paid any since March of 2013. 
  2. We've been trying to bulk up our emergency funds as it makes both of us very nervous to drop below a certain level in that regard. After this summer, we're at pretty dangerous levels as far as we're concerned. If a medical emergency occurred, or even a job loss on either of our parts, we're up shit creek without a paddle. We're working diligently on bringing that back up. 
  3. Throughout the above 2, we're trying to bulk up our Roth IRA. Not easy to do when you're already spreading it around, but we'll get there... eventually.
Last month and at the beginning of this month, there were a few expenditures that weren't planned, and we pretty hard-hitters. Our budget will take a hit because of it, but it's not too bad, and honestly, more like a fun challenge.

Instead of our generous $60/week in grocery money, I've cut it down to $30/week. I also cut the gas budget to $10/week instead of $20 a week. $20/week usually fills the tank easily, giving us the energy to take sunset drives and enjoy some wind in our hair.

I mentioned this on Facebook and people went bonkers, as though it's impossible. Also, some political comments that were unsavory, but really, fuck'em. I'm doing it, even if some people have no choice out there to live with a budget like this constantly.

Here are the rules we set for ourselves:
  • Everything that we already have (spices, canned goods, condiments) are fair game. This is not the SNAP Challenge, this is a personal budgetary challenge.
  • Eating out is not permitted in the budget, but is allowed using non-expense money, which is also extremely tight. So tight that I hesitate in even buying a cup of coffee when out, so yeah. Eating out is not really an option either way.
  • We can buy things at the store in between grocery runs, but it has to be under the budgetary account.
Pretty easy, right?...

...I'll post weekly receipts of what we buy and what we cook, and we'll see how we do!

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