Monday, September 13, 2010

How To - 30 Days Towards Saving Money - Part 2

Hi Friends,
Remember when I spoke about saving money in this post HERE.
I was going to record where every penny went during the month of August and analyze my findings.  My goal this past month was to see where we were spending money needlessly in order to cut back and save.  My savings goal was/is to put more money on the principle of our home and get it paid off as soon as possible.

The Results

Recording every penny was an eye opener.  I'll share just a few figures with you.  Groceries for 5 (5 adults as we have three teenagers in our home)  was $404.  I'm pretty frugal in watching prices and stocking up when items are on sale as well as matching coupons to sales.  I also don't cook high dollar meals like steaks except on rare occasions.  I stretch meals with beans and pasta and don't throw away leftovers.

Dining out was $488.  Yikes.  We typically eat out two meals a week, once on Friday night and again after church. 

Another category was clothing, but I should rename this category to "there's always something" category.  "There is always something" we need/want to spend extra money on.  The reason it was clothing during the month of August was because of the kids needing school clothes and shoes.  I haven't spent a penny this month on clothes and will hardly spend anything on clothes until spring now.  That said, "there is always something".  Next month Mike and I are going away for 4 days on a much needed vacation.  Then there is Christmas.  It's always something.

The Solution

We have sat down as a family and discussed numerous things.  A person never knows what is going to happen tomorrow so being in a debt free place is where we want to be.  What if Mike lost his job?  Where would we be then?  So...

1.  The one area we are focusing on is dining out.  It frustrates me to spend money eating out when the food at the restaurant is only as good as my cooking.  If we're going to eat out, I want it to be something that I  can't or don't cook and I want great flavor.  Otherwise, I can just make it at home.  We are cutting back our dining out to only one day a week, after church.  I just hate coming home from church and feeling rushed to get a meal on the table to a hungry group, so that is going to be our dining out time of the week.  So far this month of Sept. we are doing good.

2.  I'm going to help contribute to the income. 

You may have seen on the left hand sidebar that I'm an Independent Scentsy Consultant.  I have signed up with them and am having my business launch party, open house, tomorrow night.  (Wish me luck)!
I've done direct sales one other time when we lived in Florida with a new scrapbooking company.  Unfortunately they were very new and didn't make it off the ground so that ended sadly for me as I enjoyed it. 

This time I chose a company with a product that has been in business and is doing well and I am passionate about.  Scentsy is a flameless candle (it uses a small light bulb) to melt the most yummy fragrant wax in a gorgeous ceramic container.  I'm going to take a moment to tell you that I'm not going to make this blog an advertisement for Scentsy.  I might bring it up from time to time and I'll keep the link on my sidebar, but I promise you I won't more than once a month to let you know about their specials.  I don't want this blog to be a big ad.  The only thing I will say, is that if you are thinking about these as Christmas gifts, would you consider clicking on my link in the sidebar to get to my Scentsy website.  Also, if you are wanting to do a fundraiser for anything, I'd be happy to help you out with that as well.  If you want to be connected to me on my new Scentsy facebook page the link is here at: My Fragrant Home.

I've discussed with Mike that my earnings as a consultant are going towards the principle on the house.  I always believe in tithing and so my top 10% are going to Christian organizations that I benefit from.  We give to the church weekly, but I've been wanting to support other ministries that have benefited me.  Each day, I listen to Christian podcasts,  The Daily Audio Bible, Joyce Meyer, and Homemakers By Choice.  I have gained so much from these and it is time for me to give back.  So each month I'm going to give my top 10% to one of these places that has given to me.

Another reason I chose to do Scentsy is because it allows me to be flexible with my days and times and it is a business I can grow.  I'm going to confess, I'm afraid of the empty nest syndrome.  I really am.  Katie is a senior in high school this year.  My sweet babies are growing up and it won't be long before they are out of the house.  Yikes again!  I want something that I can start out slow and build to keep me active and social and honestly, not feel alone as my kids start their own lives.

Okay... Did any of you keep a record of your expenses this past month?  Let me know if you did.  Also, leave me a comment if you have any money saving tips or any tips on how to deal with preparing for the empty nest syndrome.

Happy Homemaking.


Terra said...

Being frugal at heart, I love this theme and the planning you are doing. Eating out after church and cutting out the 2d meal out will save you scads of $$$. Good idea. Before paying down the principle, do you have money set aside for unplanned expenses / emergencies? I recommend that, maybe you already do.

Annabelle said...

Good for you! That is great that you and your family worked together to cut costs.

Our HUGE problem right now is prescription drugs. We have insurance, but our portion is still high. For the 5 of us, we spend about $250.00/mo on prescriptions. I've cut down on my asthma meds because it alone is $190.00/mo == this isn't a choice we should have to make.

Good luck to you and your family!


Vanessa Ross said...

It’s amazing how much you spend on things you “think” you need. Thanks for inspiring me to watch my spending.

Julie said...

We're doing the paying everything off thing, too. We want to move to our dream destination and don't want any "baggage" (bills) to go with us. My only suggestion about eating out on Sundays is maybe do a crockpot meal or make the kids cook...seeing as they are all getting older and maybe need the experience in cooking for themselves.

Susan said...

Just blogging around this evening and found your blog. Yes, it seems we are all feeling uncertain these days. My hubby's job has been iffy for quite awhile. Maybe my coupon blog has some offers that can help you get some coupons that will help your grocery bill. I know I try not to buy much of anything without a coupon. But you are on the right track so I think you will be fine. Good luck with your new business, and thank you for letting me visit.

Publix Coupon Queen said...

Following via Surviving A Teachers Salary. Love your blog. Check mine out if you get a chance. said...

I have a family of 6 (4 kids 6and under)and we spent a year doing missions overseasin Vanuastu on our own dime. Then we thought we would just come back and get a good job. That was a year ago and we are JUST starting to get on our feet. We are following the DAVE RAMSEY plan to a T and it is awesome. YOu can read more about that plan and get links to free downloads that help you set up a budget, pay off debt, and plan for the future on my blog . We use the envelope system and it is a great way to stay on a budget (or spending plan if that makes you feel better!) I am going to check out some of these ladies coupon sites that have commented here. If you stop by my blog please leave a comment! Love to hear from you guys!


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