On Budgeting and Monthly Menus

On Budgeting and Monthly Menus

We’ve been getting our business going at full throttle here lately and because of this we’ve had to do some serious budgeting.  I’m not sure if any of you have ever started a business, but those of you who have know what I’m talking about.  New business = Ramen noodles and cold cuts.  Unless, of course, you were like… born into money.  In which case, send some of that cash-flow over our way.

At any rate, we’ve been cutting back here and there where we can.  I took this as an opportunity to cut back on grocery shopping because: A) I loathe Wal-Mart, but it’s the only grocery store around here that doesn’t price gouge and, B) I’ve been meaning to start a monthly menu that doesn’t completely revolve around grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, and applesauce cups (don’t judge… at least I was feeding them.  Right?).

So I seized the day.. er.. Pinterest boards… and we’ve been monthly menu-ing it since February.  Let me just say… I freaking love it.  I go to the store ONCE, that’s right — ONCE, for our “big grocery shopping trip”.  I go with list in hand and buy only what’s on that list.  Nothing else.  The only things I go back for are milk, bread, and weekly produce, which I get on the weekends.  I’m in complete love with this system.  It’s infinitely cheaper (you would not believe how much money we were spending at Wal-Hell) and so much easier for all of us.  I typically go on the last Thursday of the month while Gabe is at OT & speech therapy.  I’m in and out in an hour.  Until February, I believed there was some unspoken law that no one could get out of Wal-Mart alive before his or her two and a half hour time slot.  It was something that I’d do on a Saturday morning, and by morning I mean 3:30.  PM., which would completely ruin the day and moods for all involved.  I’d grocery shop and would pick up take-out because hell no I’m not cooking for you heathens right now.

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Anyway.  It works like a charm and I’m a little embarrassed that I never did this before.  Some days we veer a little off track.  Like a few weeks back we were with the kids at the ER for various sick-ish reasons and I was not cooking Monterey Jack Chicken at midnight.  Sonic really stepped up their game that night.  And, really… who doesn’t love a late-night grilled cheese?  Just me?  Hmm.

I even stepped up my game and made an Excel spreadsheet of item costs.  A little above and beyond, you say?  Did you miss the part about budget?  I’ve allotted us a $350 grocery budget for the month.  And, truth be told, that’s a little extreme.  Because for the four of us for the month, weekend produce/milk/and bread trips included, I’ve been coming in well below that.  Like, ~$200 – $250 kind of below that.  It’s amazing.  If prices change (excluding sale and coupon costs), I simply change the amount on my spreadsheet.  I always know exactly how much I’m going to be out-of-pocket before I even make it to the register.  Seriously, y’all… if you haven’t tried this system, you really ought to give it a look-see.  It’s wonderful.  And for those of you who have been using this method for years?  Why haven’t you helped a girl out?  Secrets don’t make friends, guys.

Because this little venture turned out so beautifully, I’m branching out to other ideas and household organization tools.  This weekend I’m working on a chore chart/reward system for the kids.  Yes, kids.  If Connor, the 1.5 year old, can go put his plate in the trash and clean his tray by himself, then he can do other little things around the house.  Plus, I’m beyond tired of hearing, “Moooooom!  I’m bored!”  Trust me, they’ll never know what hit ’em.  And maybe my baseboards will stay clean.  Hashtag: wishful thinking.

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