“How do you feel about another boy?” my husband asked. With our four children tucked in their beds and sound asleep, my husband and I settled in the living room to talk about the ultrasound tech’s “It’s another boy!” announcement. “I’m a little disappointed for Ellie’s sake,” I confessed. “She already has 3 brothers and had her heart set on a sister.”
From there our conversation moved into the practical realm and landed on one fact – beds and clothing chests for 4 boys cannot fit into either of the kids’ bedrooms. They MIGHT fit in our bedroom, and that’s a big might. Our master bedroom furniture MIGHT fit in the boys’ current room, again a big might. What we really need is a house bigger than 1200 sq ft!
A few days later I hopped online to get a sense of what our house might sell for in the current market. It ain’t pretty folks! The short story is we’ll walk away from 75% of the equity we have in this house. The bottom line is we need to save $60,000 in 3 years.
Reduce spending and increase income.
I only know of two ways to save more money – reduce our spending and increase our income. Homeschooling and being 7 months pregnant mean I can’t add to our income right now, but I can reduce our spending.
As the primary shopper in our home, I have complete control over our most expensive regular expenditure – grocery and household shopping. With the “Save. Save. Save.” mantra in my mind I entered February intent on reducing what I spend on groceries, household expenses, and toiletries (these all come out of one budget line item).
Spend less on groceries and household products.
My plan to lower our grocery/household expenses is very simple:
- Create a weekly menu plan.
- Plan ahead for special meals and treats for holidays, birthdays, and potluck dinners.
- Use up what’s in the pantry and freezer.
- Simplify meals.
- Set a monthly budget of $500 and track spending.
- Shop once a week for groceries and once a month for household and toiletries.
- Substitute or do without if we run out before shopping day. (Exception: toilet paper!)
- Use cash.
February grocery/household savings.
So, how did I do this month? I squeaked by on $500. A number of things made this month tough: running out of several toiletry items at once (razor blades, deodorant), Ben’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, and 2 extra-curricular potluck events. I anticipate a little more leftover at the end of March.
I’m pleased with how February’s spending turned out. I had to swap ham from our freezer for buying a beef roast, go without paper plates, and limit my kids’ snack portions. Overall, we did really well. We’ll do better in March as we adjust to more disciplined spending choices.
How do you save money on groceries and household products?