An Update and A Mini Challenge

If you read my blog with any regularity you may remember that back in June I decided to really get back on the ball with my couponing and frugal living. This re-dedication was sparked by my surgery and income loss during my recovery time. Turns out I only missed about 2 weeks of work and it wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as I anticipated, but I decided to stick to my money saving plan to see where it got me. You may also remember that I’m on a debt eradicating mission, my basic goal being to pay off our outstanding debt as quickly as possible. Well, I’ve gathered some information from June and July to compare and the results are surprising … even to me.

July was the first full month that I stuck to the money saving plan, which basically consists of: don’t buy things you don’t need, make a list and stick to it, cut out extra spending where possible, and save wherever you can.

Here are the results:

  June July
Groceries & Household $813 $495
Dining $285 $185
Electricity $293 $244

By just being conscientious of what we buy, eating at home more and being mindful of the electricity we use we were able to save $467 in just one month in these categories!!

We were also able to live completely on Hubby’s income during the month of July which allowed us to pay off my car loan. Yay!

My big on-going challenge that I’m currently working on is to continue to live only on DH’s income and send my entire income towards our outstanding debt which at this point includes: hubby’s car loan and my student loans. But I also like to set mini challenges for myself.

Today I went through my pantry, fridge and freezer and created a list of meals that I have all of the ingredients on hand to make.

DSC_2352
The challenge is to eat all of these meals before buying any additional groceries other than fresh vegetables and milk.

I’m confident that we can do it 🙂

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If you are interested in hearing more about specific things I did to save money and websites I found particularly useful … read on …

  • Couponing – Most people think that couponing is just hours of work for $0.25 off this or $.50 off that. I thought that too, until I learned the art. You have to combine coupons with sales to buy things at rock bottom prices. You also have to stockpile items that you can get super cheap until the next time they go on sale. Some websites that I have found particularly helpful are: Southern Savers, I Heart Publix, and My Frugal Adventures.
  • Making It From Scratch – This entire month the Hubby and I have made all of our own bread instead of buying bread at the store. You wouldn’t believe how much money this saves! I have been using my bread machine (check at your local thrift store and you may score one super cheap), but you can also do it old school style. I’m looking into making my own laundry soap also (really easy), and vinegar makes a great household cleaner. There are tons of “recipes” online for household cleaners, as well as homemade bread. Hillbilly Housewife has tons of great recipes and tips.
  • Use less AC – I realized that my thermostat doesn’t have to run at 72 degrees for me to be comfortable. This month I’ve kept the thermostat between 78-80, turned on some fans, worn cooler clothes and it hasn’t been bad at all. I also got on a levelized billing plan with my electric company where I pay an average of the last 6 months usage. This will cost me a little more in the winter, but I’ll see the savings in the summer.
  • Cloth diapering – Once I realized that disposable diapers cost about $.25 each (not to mention are horrible for the earth) I pulled my cloth diapers back out. We use about 5-6 diapers a day, which saves us about $40 a month!
  • Sell It – I went through my closets and storage areas and sold a bunch of things on eBay that were just sitting around that I’ll never use. I made $330 on eBay this month by just selling off a few things. I still have tons of stuff left to list.
  • Reuse/Recycle – Find new uses for old things. I’ve been using old bread bags to keep my homemade bread in. There are tons of uses for plastic grocery sacks. Re-use Ziploc bags, no sense in throwing them away unless they get really dirty. Use cereal bags in place of wax paper.

Other ideas?

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Challenges, Frugality, pictures, Tips/Tricks

2 responses to “An Update and A Mini Challenge

  1. I love your money saving ideas. We don’t have coupons here the same way you do unfortunately, but I am loving your other ideas. Keep them coming!

    • I have heard that before … very interesting. Buying in bulk is always a good idea too. I have heard that there are Costco stores in Australia. I’d love to visit there one day. 🙂

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