So, last week, we came upon a series of changes that has us re-thinking things here a bit. For quite some time, I’ve been harassing the Lord for ways in which to speed up our debt payoff. He answered, I believe, by leading me to a post Grayson over at Debt Roundup wrote recently.
The post, called Stepping Away Can Give You a Fresh Perspective, really resonated with me. After reading Grayson’s article, I decided to step away from our money issues. A few days off; no going over the budget, no looking for extra side hustle income, etc. When I came back from this short “sabbatical” from our finances, one of the first things I did was to look again at one of our blog comments. The gal who left this particular comment had recommended a frugal site called The Prudent Homemaker. I’d been to this site a couple of years ago, but at that time in our lives we were not ready to make the necessary changes to our finances, so although I was impressed, I pretty much blew off this woman’s amazing advice.
This time, though, due to my “fresh perspective”, I was able to see her valuable tips in a whole new light. This woman feeds her family of nine for between $100-$200 a month, and she knows how to live frugally in the other aspects of her life as well. After perusing the tips on her site, I’ve found ways in which we can cut our expenditures dramatically, especially in the area of food.
For instance: We usually buy a 10 pound bag of flour at Walmart for roughly $4.68. I can a 25 pound bag of flour at Sam’s Club for roughly $7.58. That’s a huge savings, especially when you’re cooking for a family of six!
Spices are another area in which buying in bulk can save tons of cash. I can easily save 50% or more on our spice purchases if I buy in bulk and I know we’ll use it all.
Pasta and Rice? Same deal. My 25 lb. box of rice at Sam’s is roughly $10.58. A 50 lb. bag is roughly $17.58.
Buying in bulk is one of our main goals for saving extra money from now on.
Also, the Prudent Homemaker takes major advantage of sales, and has maximum prices for what she’ll spend on certain items based on those sales. For instance, I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post recently that I’d picked up a 10 lb. bag of potatoes for $1.38. I was super psyched that I could feed our 25 guests potatoes for under $3. But the Prudent Homemaker would’ve done differently. She would’ve picked up as many bags of potatoes as possible (based on how long they keep in her garage) and fed her family for less for a couple of months instead of for one occasion. DUH! Why didn’t I think of that?
Well, I am now. We love our little Totino’s Party Pizzas when we have pizza night. They cost between $1.38 and $1.59 at the stores around here, but this week, one store had them on sale for 98 cents, so I picked up enough pizzas to last us for a good six to twelve months. Now I’m thinking!
We’ll also be making homemade laundry detergent. I spend about $6-$7 a month on laundry detergent, but after buying the ingredients and the 5 gallon pail/cover for this homemade version, I spent roughly $16, and this will last me for an entire year. Total savings? Over $56.
This may not seem like a lot of money, but in the end, it really, truly does add up.
You see, before, I was so focused on spending less money at the moment, that I wasn’t thinking long-term about our money. Our grocery bill for October will be a good $200 higher than it normally is, but I will spend LOTS less next year based on the good deals I got this week. Averaging it out, I should be able to cut at least $100 a month off of our current grocery bill, and maybe even more. That’s a minimum of $1200 extra dollars I can put toward debt next year, all with a little extra planning.
So, do you have plans to take frugal to a whole new level next year? If so, how?