So far, this month, we have been doing pretty well with the grocery budget. Instead of looking at the budget for the whole month, I've been focusing at each week. Knowing the exact amount I have to spend each week makes it easier for me to stay on budget. I'm able to plan over the month all the "big things" that I'll need to buy and spread them out. I'm hoping to figure out a number each week to spend on once-a-month kinds of purchases like diapers, flour, and cleaners. Then, I'll have the exact number I can spend on food. I've determined how much most of the meals I prepare cost to help to stay on track financially.
I've also set a weekly dining amount instead of looking at it as a monthly amount to subtract from. Knowing that we have $56.25 a week helps because it gives us a real number to meet instead of trying to stay under $225 for the month. By making that simple change, we are well under this month for dining!
We made one questionable non-need purchase. The kids have been wanting to take water bottles to school, and we have a hodge podge of freebie water bottles they have been taking. We decided that we wanted them to have better quality and easier to use bottles so I bought a BPA-free Rubbermaid water bottle for each of them. I also purcashed a smaller ice pack to fit in Camilla's lunch box. So, what do you think? Needs? Total was just under $15.
Also this past week, I received my quarterly check from ebates. For those who aren't already familiar with ebates, it is an online preshopping site. You go their webpage before you shop online. They have hundreds of stores that offer cash back simply by going through ebates. Decide which store you want, and click on its link. A new page will open that will take you directly to the store's website. Shop as normal. Once a quarter a cash back bonus will be mailed to you (or placed in your paypal account). It's that simple, and it is free. And it's available to people outside the US as long as you use US currency! From the last quarter, I had $33.42 in cash-back bonuses. Now, that isn't enough for Tony to retire, but it would easily be a dinner out for Tony and me! (The links in this paragraph are my referral links. If you make a purchase through ebates, I will receive a onetime $5 credit for referring you to the company. This is paid to me by the company and doesn't cost you anything.)
My favorite savings tip that I haven't seen published on every other blog is Lands'End On The Counter. Every Saturday, Lands' End. com places about 90 items on sale. On Monday, the price reduces by 25%. On Wednesday, it's 50% off, and on Friday the price is 75% off. The prices are good as long as the merchandise lasts. Once the item is gone, it is gone!! Most items don't make it past Thursday, but this is Lands' End's high quality merchandise at drastically reduced prices. The company also offers the full return policy even with the On The Counter items! I've purchased all of my bathing suits there, and have never spent more than $10 for a one-piece suit, and never more than $4.50 for a top or bottom. They are currently offering lots of winter clothes at reduced prices. I'm hoping that school uniforms are on sale soon!