Last week The Hubby and I had a really long discussion about money. You see, we don't have debt we're particularly concerned about (ie. no credit card debt and other debts have other benefits or low interest rates), so we haven't done much to cut it down. I pay a bit extra on the mortgage each month, but other than that, we pay the scheduled payment on the other loans. It's worked fine. Until now.
We're wanting to sell our house. We love the house but hate the location--we need a better school system for our daughter. And with the housing market where it is, we could actually afford a home in one of our most preferred school districts--something we couldn't do when the housing market is booming. So we started looking into the expenses that come along with selling a home and, to tell you the truth, it's daunting.
We've always prided ourselves in not being upside down on our home, even with the decreased home values and the fact that we bought with 0% down. But when we take all those selling fees into account, we will make nothing on the sale of our home if we sold right now. It's a buyer's market and we'd be buying...but we'd also be selling. Yes, we could save more than we would lose if we moved now...but is it worth it to us to make that step and essentially have no equity to show for our house?
So then the discussion turned into wondering what would happen if we started getting aggressive on debt repayment. I started doing all sorts of calculations and looking at our budget and even with maintaining the standard of living we have now (besides the bigger purchases that we'd have to do without), we could pay down our debt enormously in just a few years.
But the first step is finding little places to cut back. The first place I thought of--cut down our food budget. I already don't spend more than $300/mo at the grocery. But we also spend about $150/mo eating out. That's way too much, in my opinion. So we've started being even more strict about how much we eat out and I'm going to be shopping even MORE cheaply than normal (if that's possible). But first I realized that we have plenty of food in our house right now:
That right there is the counter BELOW the cabinet, where we store snacks (because our snack cabinet is at Baby Girl-level and we got tired of having smooshed tortilla chips), Cheerios (because those HAVE to be on hand at any given time), bread, and extra stuff that just doesn't fit.
And then there's this cabinet:
There are a couple of other cabinets with spices and oils, but that's about it.
Besides the 5ish foot long deep freezer in the garage that is about half full. And the inside freezer (the half of the side-by-side) that's stuffed full.
So yeah, we aren't hurting for food. All that stocking up that I preach? I've been practicing it and have been doing well. But it's time to USE it.
So this week I decided I was only going to cook meals that I could do with almost all ingredients on hand.
My grocery list this week:
milk (which I forgot...lol)
Oh, and a Manager's Special pumpkin pie (see? I sort of suck at this, too--you might think I'm perfect at saving money...but you'd be wrong!)
Also on the list? Pop for The Hubby (and me, occassionally). He drinks at least one pop a day and if I find it at $2.50 or below during the winter ($2 or below during the summer), I buy some. Kroger had 24 packs for $5 apiece when you buy two, so I bought two.
The grand total for the week was $18, even with the $10 worth of pop and $2 for the pie. (That would've seemed a LOT more impressive if I were reporting a $6 grocery trip, wouldn't it?)
Either way, this is how I came upon my meal plan for the week. We'll be trying to use up some of the things in the cupboard. I'd bought a bag of black beans awhile ago, fully intending to cook them up and use them instead of canned beans, but it just hasn't happened. Well, tonight's the night. And I'm using this as my guide.
I'm planning to keep this up--to start shopping out of my cupboard & freezer more to decide what we're going to eat, instead of basing it on the sales and then just not buying ingredients we already have. Wish us luck!
(there you go, Cassie--a sneak peek into our house and a preview of the post I'm going to do about the transformation of my kitchen ;) )
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