Learning to save money in my shopping.

Shelly had wondered how I was doing on my goal of spending under budget on groceries so that I could give to charity what I saved. I had planned to post about that monthly and I didn't so this would be a good time to do that!

The amount that we have budgeted for groceries (this is just food, we have a different category for household expenses and another one for entertainment/eating out) is $325 (for our family of 6). For the first 11 months of this year our average is $303.67 per month. Ken wanted to wait until the end of the year and then give away the amount we have saved. Some I am planning on working extra hard this month to spend less.

I didn't go as far under budget as I had hoped but I am pleased that we are under. Also I did decide during this past year that I really wanted to purchase Hormone free meat so we decided to purchase 1/4 of a steer (around 150 lbs of beef) that was local, grass fed and hormone free. We just got that last month so we actually have a bunch of meat (I also am very stocked up on grains, canned and frozen stuff from the garden, butter, sugar, honey and many other staples) for this next year! That means we should be able to spend considerably lower for quite a few months to come.
We have been incredibly blessed with many good things to eat this year and many of them free. My parents are very generous with sharing fresh farm eggs much of the year and Goats milk (which all of us but Ken really enjoy!) for the summer +. During that time I also am able to make some cheese to freeze and I also froze whey to use in pancakes and such this winter. God also blessed our gardens in many ways and we were able to put stuff up from ours and what my parents and friends shared with us. We were also blessed by many apples which I was able to pick through freecycle. Again this year our freezer has a bunch of berries in it and I have plenty of jams made. God is so good!!
This has been a fun year of learning more about shopping and spending my money wisely. I have also remembered to pray for God to give me wisdom as I shop and plan as well. He is so good to help throughout every part of our life!
Another goal that I had set was no buying of clothing or anything to wear for the kids and I. That has gone well. The only time I strayed from that was last January when boys coats went really cheap and so I decided to pick one up for Jonathan that he will start wearing probably this coming Jan. I spent less than $10 on it. The clothing challenge has been a really fun one for me. I admit I have gotten somewhat tired of the clothes I had but I still had plenty to wear. It has made me be more creative and I have tried combining different clothes together than I usually do and have found some "new" outfits that I really like. Challenges can really help make us creative! I do admit that I am looking forward to going shoe shopping come January but that is pretty much all we need.
This month my goal is to see if I can spend less than $100 total. That is for me not Ken so that includes all groceries (my department to spend in), household, gas for the van, gifts (except what he might get for me), postage, etc. It will not include utility bills and such like which Ken takes care of anyway. I plan on reporting each week to let you know how I am doing. So far this first week I spent:
  • $18 on dairy for the next 2 weeks. (Hormone free milk from the farm)
  • $16.39 on toilet paper (I didn't want to run out!), fresh fruit, walnuts and a great deal on Choc. chips.
  • $29.08 to fill the van with gas (What a blessing that gas has gone down!!)
  • $6.33 on pictures to send out with Christmas letters.

Total: $69.80 leaving only $30.20 for the rest of the month. Obviously I will have to be careful. It will be interesting to see if I can do this. I will let you know if there are any particular challenges that we have to think outside the box to deal with.

Have you visited my giveaways yet? I am giving away a tote bag, note card set, gift tags and coupons!

How has your year gone as far as financial goals? Do you have any fun plans for next year? Do you have any special challenges with the holidays? I would love to hear what you are thinking about!