Last night we spent a while re-vamping our budget and getting Mvelopes up and going again. We know, without a doubt, that when we don’t track what we’re spending we overspend in areas that are unnecessary simply because we don’t have the information. Information is power! I have so much to say about that but it will have to wait for another time. Being self-employed means that we have to be even smarter about keeping track of our dollars.
As we worked out our budget and looked at our bills (mostly medical related) we realized that we actually don’t have enough money to pay all the bills, which is a really uncomfortable place to be after years of being debt-free. Getting laid off and having a baby in the NICU for three months can really put a kink in long-term plans! We used up our emergency fund and have to start over again. We had to make some plans on how to manage everything, making sure that the most important things are up-to-date and starting our debt snowball again. Fortunately my husband is able to earn a good income but we simply are having to dig ourselves out of a hole which might take a few months. In the meantime I will do what I do best: shop and cook frugally! It’s really the only area of our budget that has any wiggle room. I would prefer to have a budget of $400 a month, but I wrote down $300 a month, and I’m pretty sure I can manage just $200 for the month of April.
I had a quick look in the freezer and pantry and jotted down a list of dinner meals that I can make from what we have on hand. The list included over 24 meals! I made a grocery list for the necessities that we would need for the month and it added up to about $120. It’s important to know that our grocery budget currently includes everything - food, paper products, diapers, formula, health and beauty, everything. I have enough diapers to last well into May. I have enough formula to get through at least half of April. I have $40 in Groupons for a local produce store. I am really going to challenge myself to stay under $200 for the entire month, even though we have two guests coming after Easter for a whole week.
What will it take for me to achieve this?
- Planning and lots of it. I will need to plan all our meals, including snacks.
- Creativity. I will need to use all of our leftovers wisely and think outside the box to use up what is in the pantry and freezer.
- Time. I have more time than money this month, so I will be using that time to make all our bread from scratch, cook dry beans, bake things for snacks and breakfasts.
I’m hoping to blog often what we’ve been eating and the state of our pantry and freezer! If I’m successful they should both be very, very empty by the end of the month!