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lisajl
09-03-2005, 07:11 AM
Forgive me if this has been posted before. I have just started the TMMO.

How are you all doing on your budget? I am having trouble just figuring out what to put down for food!
We are a family of five, plus we have 6 cats, a dog and a rat!

Someone please help me kick-start this budget. Any suggestions welcome!

TIA
Lisa

blanq
09-03-2005, 07:26 AM
Hi Lisa! Well, I am new to budgeting myself, so am no expert. Also I am not doing TMMO, but I have read a lot about it.

One option for you, since you really don't have an idea of what might be reasonable spending in certain categories, like food, is to track each and every penny you spend for a month or two before beginning a strict budget. I have done this and found it very helpful. It can be a real eye opener to see where your money is really going. DH and I found out that we were really piddling money away on things that weren't that important to us. Tracking helped us decide where we could cut, and then we developed a spending budget from that experience that we feel is realistic. Once we set our spending limits for each category, we transferred them to our budgeting software (we are using "My Budget Planner" software) and we track our spending there now.

One tip: don't forget to build in non-regular payments (quarterly water and sewer bills, etc.) that you might not actually have an opportunity to pay during your month or two tracking period.

One other note, we also purchased "My Budget Planner" software for our DS (age 12), and are using that as a tool to teach our son and hopefully get him into good spending and tracking habits for a lifetime. The version we purchased is for teens, but a child's version is also available.

Good luck with your budget! You CAN do it!

lisajl
09-03-2005, 07:32 AM
Hey thanks for the Budget planner tip. I have not heard of that software.
We have quicken that we use for our checking, maybe that can help me trace where our money goes.

I am just tired of running to the store everyday for something. I look at my checkbook and it is mostly to the grocery stores!!

Thanks for the info.
Lisa

blanq
09-03-2005, 07:43 AM
I am just tired of running to the store everyday for something. I look at my checkbook and it is mostly to the grocery store

Okay, I gotcha! Okay, here is something else to consider doing. How about meal-planning? Every Sunday morning, I review the grocery store adds. Then I sit down and plan out my meals for the entire week. My meal list for the week is posted on my fridge and I cross meals off as we eat them. I virtually never have to make unplanned trips to the grocery store anymore! For me, unplanned trips, which seemed to occur when I was most hungry and had little will power to tell myself "no", resulted in picking up excess items I did not need, or items that were prepackaged (translated: more expensive) Also, when I shop, if there is a super bargain on meat or something I stock up the freezer. I have a tracking log on my freezer, listing everything that is inside and I cross things off as I use them.

RichNKatHolly
09-03-2005, 07:51 AM
Family of 5 here. Since we started menu planning once a week (with the ads from our Shoprite), we spend about $100 a week in the grocery store. That includes DDs diapers as well. Sometimes my bill is $90 and sometimes $120 but the average is $100 a week.

I'm also on the free trial of the Grocery Game to see if it helps me any. So far, not so much, but I'll give it the next 3 weeks to see what happens.

Good luck! We are just starting the TMMO next week too.

mom4graceandlogan
09-03-2005, 09:45 AM
I only have two kids and I have the exact same problem. Trying very hard to get on track and looking into tryingTMMO. I can't help you with what amount to budget for. I have found that writing down every penny for a few months has helped me in the past. I do have some ideas for stopping the constant grocery store stops. Have you been to www.flylady.net? It is a free site about organizing and decluttering your life. It is an e-mail reminder system and offers constant encouragement. It has a mealplanning element, finance element and home organization element(primary focus of site). It has completely changed my life. I joined in May and I have now established a set of basic routines that have been lifesavers. HOw does this affect trips to grocery store? Every Wednesday(you could pick a different day) you clean out your fridge and make your menu and grocery list. YOu also check your bathrooms and laundry room. This way if you have something that is about to go bad(i.e. produce) you incorporate into a menu and actually use it instead of tossing it when it is too old. I do not do my menu's by day, but by number of meals needed. FOr instance we eat out once a week. One night is always leftovers, one night is soup/sandwiches, and one night is spaghetti. SO I only have to plan three other meals(sometimes four if we get tired of soup). You have a set of basic routines(easy) that you do every day and you are reminded by e-mail by flylady everyday((several Times). One of the most important is deciding first thing in the morning what is for dinner. That way you can pull out what needs to be thawed. I also go ahead and put all of the ingredients on the counter( I am more commited to it at that point) or in the front of the fridge. Crock pot meals are great started in the morning. Really prevents you from stopping by McDonalds or the grocery store b/c you are tired. I always have a back up choice in case I forgot an ingredient. THis is so simple and really cuts back on trips to the store. I save on my grocery bill by only buying what meat the grocery store has on deep discount with their loyalty card. I buy in bulk ( at least enough for five meals). I divide it up into meal portions when I get home and freeze it. I also stock up on buy one get one free, but only if we truly like the product. At first you have limited choices. But since the sale always changes you will have alot of variety after a month. I.e. ground beef, pork chops, chicken breast. Boneless chicken thighs are wonderful and cheap for the crockpot dishes. I also always have frozen chopped bell pepper and onion(that I chopped) in the freezer for dishes. I get up before my kids do, get ready, unload the dishwasher and go ahead and try to pre-chop whatever I need for dinner. At first it was hard to do, but I have a 22 month old that interupts me soo much while I am in the kitchen that I would give up and order pizza every night if I did not do some things while she is sleeping. Check out flylady.net. THere are several non-grocery elements that would help you on spending less/saving money. For instance she has a big focus on decluttering your home. As you do this you start to see all those last minute purchases that you bought because they were a great deal, but did not really need. Also she points out that most of us have way to many clothes because we don't keep up on laundry. Sorry to get a little off track, especially if you already know about flylady, but thought it might help someone. It truly changed my life from chaos to peace(well not really b/c I have a four year old and 22 month old, but chaos to alot less chaos.) Getting organized is a major way to keep our finances under control.

lisajl
09-03-2005, 02:04 PM
Wow! I knew you all would come through for me.

I have not heard of flylady.net I will check that out.
I have been de-cluttering our home for the past year. My mom is a pack rat and is 85. I don't want to be like that when I am her age.
RichNKatHolly Family of 5 here. Since we started menu planning once a week (with the ads from our Shoprite), we spend about $100 a week in the grocery store.

I have been doing that...going through the sale papers, but not really making out menus. I have one picky 8 year old boy! He hardly eats anything!

I will try that philosophy tomorrow. I don't mind going to 2 different grocery stores, they are pretty close to me.

Thanks for the help.
Lisa

Renate_do
09-03-2005, 03:40 PM
What is TMMO?

Greets Renate :wizard:

Taja
09-03-2005, 03:46 PM
TMMO = "Total Money Make Over." It's a book and philosphy of living debt-free, I think by Dave Ramsey. C.Ann has a thread started on it.

lisajl
09-03-2005, 04:05 PM
Yep! That's what it is!

jay-nee
09-04-2005, 08:03 AM
I am starting this part today. I'm a little stressed to even begin, but I will. I need to know where we truly stand.

Food is hard, I find it fairly variable. This week I have no extra money: house payment due next week & DD started PT ($25 a session, twice a week). So, I only bought $14 in groceries (bread, milk, and eggs). We will live out of our quickly shrinking pantry. I am running out of lots of things now though. Frustrating!

Thankfully, DM brought over tomatoes, so I made a fresh tomato sauce for pasta last night. Added fresh basil and fresh parsley and a little oil and viola!

We've been eating lots of zucchini (about the only thing that really grew this summer in our garden). Today, I hope to make a zucchini bread, but I'm staining the back of the house today (thankfully the stain is already bought and paid for ($12 a gallon with coupons and discount)), so we'll see if I get to the bread making.

So, back to the food budget. I'd like to have $125 a week for goceries and toiletries as an average. Well, I'd like to be less than that, but that would be a good predictable amount for us. We have me (40), DS (14), and DD (11). Milk alone costs us $25.83 a week - we need a cow! ;)

I'd like to hear how other folks do it and at what cost.

I cook from scratch and do not buy processed foods so most of the coupons don't work for us. I do use coupons for the items that we would buy normally, but I do not use any coupons for items that I would not normally buy. I refuse to put junk in our bodies, yuck!

Can't wait to hear other peoples strategies. Bring them on!

lisajl
09-04-2005, 08:22 AM
jay-nee,

I am starting the budget today, also. I really need to cut back on my grocery stops. We are always there. We, too, run out of milk quickly.
We are trying to cut back on the soda and other processed foods as well.
Would love to hear how other people are staying on task and on budget.