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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Financial tips on how to stock up

One of the hardest parts of stocking up is being able to afford the extra supplies. To get your finances in order you have to budget. You have to know exactly what is coming in and going out. Some people say they budget, but yet, can't tell you how much they actually spend a month in groceries, they have a budget for groceries, but never actually keep reciepts and add up exactly what they spend. Do it for a month and you may be surprised, i was. For one month I used my debit card for all purchases including food, pop, candy, gas, eating out and any errands with the exception of monthly bills, which were checks. At the end of the month I added up our expenses in seperate columns. I spent $100 more on going out to eat then I thought and i spent $300 a month extra in groceries than i had budgeted for. And i spent $50 more a month in gas than I budgeted for. That was $450 more in one month than I thought. i always thought I was pretty frugal until that time. If you don't like to use your debit card and pay cash for everything, put all your reciepts in an envelope and save them for one month.



My next goal was to cut out things I considered a luxury. This was hard. I had to define what is a want and what is a need. I've had the same spending habits for years, but I made a decision, I was going to cut the expenses for my family. We cut out eating out completely, I cut out all comfort foods, i made a grocery list and did all my errands that day instead of running somewhere everyday. This really helped cut down our expenses. Once we knew our actual budget we started going back out to eat once per month. We put back about $75 a month into eating out and comfort foods - after all, you can't give up everything! All I'm saying is be selective.



My next goal was to tackle our food bill. I spent alot of money on the kids food. As i looked over my grocery reciepts I found alot of things I could make instead of purchase. All these years i just bought their food at the grocery store and because life was always busy I never gave it a second thought. I bought some Amish cookbooks and started cooking alot from scratch. Including most of the snacks we eat in the house. Here is some of the money saving tips I have done to cut down our budget.



-cookies/snacks for the kids

-their cereal in the morning

-I learned to water bath can for their fruit

-I learned to pressure can for stews and soups

-I bought a clothesline ( retractable to take up less room - this saved $30 a month on the electric bill)

-I freeze left over meals that can be reheated another day

-bought a food saver to package flour, salt, etc.

-made my own jam

-bought powdered pudding instead of pudding cups

-made bread from scratch instead of buying specialty loaves

The last item is a catagory in itself and deserves some attention. The biggest monthly spending expense I cut out was purchasing commerical laundry soap. This is my biggest beef against consumerism,, purhasing commercial products and paying more but getting less quantity. Instead of spending $25 a month in laundry soap, I now spend about $40 a year, simply by mixing it myself. Here is the recipe,

1/2 cup of Borax
1/2 cup of super washing soda
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha. - you can use Ivory if you can't find fels naptha

Grate 1/3 of the Fels Naptha into a container with your measured out borax and Super Washing Soda. Mix ingredients together and use.
The directions say to use 2 tbsp. of soap per load. I use about 4 tbsp. per load.

If you research making your own laundry soap there is a recipe for making your own liquid soap. I would suggest to you not to use it, which is why it is not listed here. From my reserach, you cannot melt down commercial soap (like fels naptha) without releasing harmful chemicals into the air. We want to cut down costs, but not to the risk of our health.



Using these cost cutting measures enabled me to purchase anything at the store while the items were on sale. I make use of the 10 for $10 sales, save-a-lot for some things and Sam's Club for basic staples. Now, I only purchase food items while they are on sale, using coupons help also.



If anyone would like a recipe for anything either leave a comment or e-mail me and i will be happy to share with you. If you have a cost saving measure you have found useful, e-mail me and i will post it on here to share.

Our next topic will be gardening and we will focus on Hybrid seeds versus heirloom seeds.

1 comment:

rdnkgk said...

Katie,

First, let me say thanks for starting up the blog for Michigan. You're doing a great job!

My wife and I have been stockpiling food for a while now. Watching for sales and using discount stores is really helpful.

A few other tips:
Whenever we put something in storage, we write the expiration date on the lid/package with a Sharpie - it makes it a lot easier to find the date in the future Then we organize by that date. That way we can rotate things that are approaching the expiration date.

Don't forget to buy some toiletries whenever they're on sale. You might still want to brush your teeth or wipe your butt once in a while! :D

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