First, let me get out the intros :) I'm a 30 yr old divorced (now single) mother of a fabulous 11 year old son. I live paycheck to paycheck and anything remotely out of the ordinary throws me into a cash crunch. My car died a few months ago and it wasn't paid off, and it was too expensive to fix so I had to buy another used one, which means I have two car pmts and then I had some health stuff which is costing me money ,etc.
After reading some blogs and seeing how people are doing this I want to create a realistic grocery/personal care budget starting in 2009. I've just recently started couponing so I don't have much of a stock pile of items.
I know I'm suppose to lay out my goals, etc, but I'd love to get some insight on how to organize what my needs will be and some realistic expectations for the months to come. What items are typically gonna be free so I can remove those my list of things that I will have to purchase....
any help/encouragement would be greatly appreciated! I have been spending roughly 400 a month on groceries/personal care......
12-16-2008, 12:11:17 PM
WOW!! $400 a month for 2 people?? With couponing and sales, you should be able to shave that down to at least 1/2 or even more if you really work at it.
I am a single mom with 1 teen at home. I have been couponing for about 8 months now and we have a good size stockpile.
We could probably live off it for about a 3 months or close to it, without going to the store for anything except bread and milk. Bread is questionable. I get it free most times but it does not freeze well! LOL!!
Start by looking at what you buy out of need and what you buy out of want.
Go for bare basics and then stockpile those items that are free or almost free in those categories. TP, SOAP, SHAMPOO, LAUNDRY SUPPLIES, ETC.
When you no longer have to BUY those items, put that money toward your debts.
I suggest you pay off the smallest debts first. That will stop those interest payments.
Once the little guys are gone, start pound the larger debt down and you will be home free before you know it.
I am not an expert but I am old lady that has live a while.
Hope that helps or at least gets you thinking.
12-16-2008, 12:22:33 PM
thank you so much for the post! I would love to be able to take half if not more of my grocery budget and put it on the pmt for the car that doesn't work! My loan is over at the end of 2010 but I'd love if I could somehow get that paid off at the end of 2009.
I will start my list of basics immediately :) I do have about 5 laundry detergents stockpiled that I got for almost free, and LOTS of toothpaste and deodorant, LOL....TP is harder though because I can't ever seem to find enough Cottonelle .50/1....
thanks for the advice again!
12-16-2008, 12:48:17 PM
My advice is to remind yourself not to get discouraged. Stockpiling and trying to drastically reduce your expenditures at the same time is difficult. I started this hard core in August. My bill went down somewhat, but it is only within the last few weeks that I could see a dramatic difference. Look at your menu plans and see if you can add in things that can be made cheaply - pasta and rice dishes. Trade a lot here and also ask neighbors and friends for their coupons. Good luck and keep up posted.
12-23-2008, 01:35:43 PM
My advise is to enter RAOKs. I have won a few and the ones I've won had mostly non-insert coupons which I can never seem to get my hands on. It has really really helped me. I just started doing it and I've already used a bunch of coupons. You should look at what loans/debt have the highest interest rates and tackle those first. Another option, especially if you have a lot of high interest credit cards is to do a balance transfer to a card with no interest fot 6 mos. or a year and then cut up the other cards. THen when you can cut down your spending paying it off will be easier without interest payments on top of it all. That's just my opinion, it's what my mom has done and so far it's working for her. Good luck.
12-23-2008, 02:08:21 PM
If you do the zero interest credit card balance transfer be extra careful to watch the dates. Once the zero interest expires if there is still a balance most of them will go back to day 1 to calculate all the interest and you actually end up worse off. A better idea is to calculate how much you can afford to pay each month, say $100, then pay that amount each month except with a slight twist. Sign up online and send 1/4 ($25) each week to your card. Do not change the amount. You will be surprised how quickly the balance goes down (this is presuming you don't use the card). You can do this with any loan that allows partial payments, check with your bank. I do this with my truck and credit card at my CU.
Also, good luck to you, I know how it is. My family has always considered me the money guru even when I was little. I remarried 9 years ago and hubby convinced me that we could live much nicer now with 2 incomes. I let him talk me into buying things, using the credit card and getting car loans. Now that I have lost my job and have debt (which is driving me crazy) I am having to go back to my old frugal ways dragging hubby with me. He is not a happy camper! lol