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Archive for March, 2008

Learning to Save on Groceries

March 28th, 2008 at 06:56 pm

On Wednesday when I got home from work, I found an application for a grocery store savings card in the mail. If I filled out the application and brought the card into the store, I'd get 10% off on my groceries for the first month.

On Thursday, I brought the card to the store and got an $18.07 discount on my grocery order. Sweet.

I perused the grocery coupon sites but I did not find many coupons for the foods I purchase. I did not remember bring my grocery chart with me, but I will bring it next time and I will employ the services of my ten-year-old to scribe the prices for me as we purchase items.

So, progress--even just a little bit--is a good thing.

Taming the Grocery Budget Beast

March 26th, 2008 at 09:40 am

I spend about $150. on groceries each week, and then I spend about $15 or $20 per week on lunches at work. I try to limit meals out with the girls to once or twice a month. My goal is to cut my food budget and contribute what I save there towards my house nest egg account.

I will readily admit that I have never been much of a coupon clipper. My grocery store prints coupons along with the receipt that seem to be refelctive of items that I have already purchased. Unfortunately, I don't always remember to use these coupons. (silly, I know)

Now I have become aware of how much money I am leaving on the table by paying full price for my groceries. My goal is to find ways to cut my grocery budget by at least 25% by using coupons. I will also make more of an effort to bring my lunch to work and limit eating out at lunch to one day per week, or $15 per week.

One of the challenges is that I am a vegetarian, and I don't eat many prepared foods, which is most often what the coupons are for. I buy my produce fresh and prepare almost all of my meals from scratch. So, I will will see how much of a dent coupons are going to make in my grocery store spending.

Action Items from Couponmom.com:

-start using a grocery price book where I track the prices of the items we use regularly

-remember to bring this book (and use it) as I shop for groceries

When I reach these goals I will be able to add $170. additional to my house fund.

For those who are also interested in finding creative, easy ways to cut their grocery budget, here are a couple of sites that I have found to be useful. If you know of any others, please feel free to share them.



Gratitude for Now

March 24th, 2008 at 09:34 am

I had a little epiphany the other day when I was thinking about the fact that we will soon be moving out of this cramped apartment and will no longer be flushing away the money I pay in rent every month. I moved here with my girls after the divorce. We had been living in a spacious home with two bathrooms and three floors of living space. Now for the past almost two years we have been squeezed into this tiny apartment that is less than a third the square footage. At first I was angry because I had to give up my comfortable surroundings and move to this less than desireable neighborhood and into this tiny apartment while my ex was left to enjoy all of that space alone until the house sold. The passage of time is a wonderous healer and with my ability to forgive and move on came my ability to make peace with the circumstances in which I found myself. I then turned my energies towards finding a way out. Once I began everything seemed to fall into place. I found many resources and people who have come to my aid with supportive advice, and I found a local non-profit organization whose mission is to help lower income people learn to save and manage their finances so that they can help themselves. It provides a matching grant for those who are saving towards a home or for education, so I am taking advantage of that. Just watching my savings account balance grow is empowering to me as well.

So, I'm grateful for where I am. I am grateful that I have been able to find a place of peace and contentment that I can carry with me to the next phase of my life, which will be that of a new home owner.

New Beginnings

March 23rd, 2008 at 12:14 pm

This is my first entry in this new blog. I am on a mission to put away enough money to buy a home of my own. I am working with a non-profit group called NACA, to help me to get a mortgage with no down payment.

At this point I must demonstrate that I can afford to pay the difference between what I pay in rent and what my new mortgage payment will be. My plan is to set up automatic payments from my paycheck to my savings account so it does not rely on me remembering to do it.

My other strategy is to find ways to spend less money and find other, creative ways to generate some additional revenue to put towards my new home. This blog will be the place where I will chronicle my progress.

I've been reading some of the blog posts of my neighbors here in the personal finance forums and I'm totally inspired by all of you.