Sunday, April 30, 2017

Groceries on a budget!!


The groceries in this cart cost $54 (and I added some frozen broccoli after the pic)....in the cart is breakfast for 7 days (eggs, bacon and of course chocolate chip muffins). Brooks makes breakfast every morning unless its a special occasion. Betty Crocker muffin packs are .99$ at Food Lion so several packs feed the 4 of us a few days a week. Sometimes we eat eggs and bacon or bagels (which are purchased at the bread store for the discounted price) or pancakes or waffles (I get the Food Lion brand of pancake mix for about a $1.80 and it last a few weeks).

Lunch is also in cart....Brit is into lunchables at the moment (and they were 10 for $10 the past 2 weeks so I stocked up), Bryson prefers Chef Boyardee which are usually 10 for $10. Brit likes cheese and yogurt, Bryson prefers gold fish, granola bars, gummies.  Brooks and I do leftovers for lunch or grab something with our own allowance. If we are home on Saturdays we usually snack and we have Salsaritas after church on Sundays.

Dinner is in the cart as well....I make my grocery list on Wednesday and I shop on Thursday (very OCD in my planning and shopping)...the dinner list for this week: Thursday-(we had papa murphys for east spirit night, dinner was $9 with leftovers for lunch), Friday and Saturday we grabbed dinner bc we had soccer, Sunday-chicken casserole with broccoli casserole and Hawaiian bread which was a splurge at $4, Monday-(Mondays are usually pizza night with our friends, we trade off buying, $18 feeds 7 people), Tuesday-chicken tacos bc its taco Tuesday!  Wednesday-chicken, potatoes, green beans with Italian dressing packet over the top (this is quick, cheap and easy). And then it starts all over again. This week we did eat out more than normal, BUT I did buy bread crumbs for next week so I already have everything for a meal next week....

Now....here are some key pieces:
1) We have a sams membership and we go about every 3 weeks. At sams we buy toilet paper (charmin bc there are some things I DON'T compromise on), trash bags (havent bought any in at least 6 months), paper towels (last several months), Tide and Downy (another thing I dont compromise on...they last several months as well), dishwasher tablets. These items we try and spread out bc they are more expensive (ex. if we need TP, we dont buy $20 in Tide that week....try and space it out).....normal sams items are gummies, rice crispy treats, granola bars, pop tarts, gold fish, juice packs... Sams trips run from $25-$70....its usually less than $40 bc we dont need the big items very often rarely over $70.
2) I usually only cook with chicken...we sometimes do steak, spaghetti (which I make enough to freeze for another dinner), or country style steak when its on sale. The rest of our meals include chicken. We do buy chicken in bulk. 40lbs for $70ish and it last about 6 months (try the meat store).
3) I only buy whats needed, there usually isnt extra unless there is a good sale (ex. the easter candy last week at 75% off).
4) I only shop at Food Lion, I get that they may be higher on some things, but its 4 mins from the house, its quiet and there are no other things to suck me in like Walmart has....(Brooks does walk to the bread store every now and then if we need some sort of bread)
5) I have a list, I stick to it, I mark off and I add as I go....If I know I want to do a big meal (like tonight chicken casserole and broc casserole) then I know a couple other nights need to be cheaper (ex. all I needed for taco Tuesday was lettuce and the taco kit so thats $4 for Tuesday dinner).....
6) I do purchase shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, hair spray, sunscreen, meds etc at Food Lion, I dont see the point in making 2 trips to go save a few cents.....thankfully these items arent needed all at once....and the cost can be spread out...

Our normal budget for groceries for the week is $100, I NEVER go over!! If I realize as I am shopping that I am spending too much, I adjust as needed (but that rarely happens). Most weeks I am under $80....now you should figure in some money for the sams trip and the chicken that is prepurchased......but with those couple dollars spread out over the weeks we still stay under $100.

Also, another tip.....if we have a birthday party, baby shower, need a gift for something, etc...I try and add it to the groceries for the week....I will plan to spend less on food (ex. I will pull out the frozen spaghetti one night) and get a gift card or a pack of diapers and wipes to not have to spend money on a gift out of the account......just plan accordingly to get the gift with the groceries.

My biggest and I guess best advice is make a list and stick to it....know what you have to have to feed everyone!!

Here is a what a grocery list looks like:

I use business cards for a couple of reasons....only so much will fit on them, they are easier to keep up with while shopping, they are sturdy to mark off while on the go.....

Here are some examples of cheap meals:
1) baked potatoes and salads
2) spaghetti
3) chicken, potato, green bean with dressing packet (dressing packets have several in them)
4) tacos
5) baked chicken and veggies from the garden (I forgot to mention we do a garden for the summer so there are free veggies)

I hope this is somewhat helpful.....it can be hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, its a like a game each week to see how low you can go and still accomplish what needs to be accomplished!! Feel free to ask any questions....

Much Love, Alysha

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Debt.....PROMISES

I have been trying to write for over a month.....my goal was to write one post a month and you see I missed January. I have lots to say, but its just finding the time to get it down and then making it have some sort of main idea has been hard for me.....BUT I do have a topic to discuss this month because I feel like it is a testimony #thedertings need to share.....we all have a story, we just have to tell it!!

It is once again our debt anniversary.....I tell this story a few times a year to random people because there is hope to be debt free, there is a chance to live a life without living pay check to pay check, I dont promise or pretend to promise that it is easy because it, in no way is....BUT I do have promises in this....

As I am getting older (because lets face it, I am getting older) it is becoming more and more evident that I don't care about pleasing others, making others happy, having what others have, etc....I read in a magazine just last week that 68% of people say that they care less about what others think the older they get and that is so true for me...

So, what does this have to do with being debt free? Well, for me back when I hid ALL of that credit card debit ($33,000++ remember?) I was living for others, putting myself, my family and my life in jeopardy! It still haunts me, that I spent $33,000ish on "things" and I honestly have no idea what those "things" are or were??? I don't know if I still own them, I don't know if they are gone with garbage, if they are sitting at the goodwill donated...I don't know, but I do know, those things were not worth the debt they cost!!!

I have said it before and I will continue to say it.....we buy, what we need......when you come to a point where you are happy with what you have and not lusting for what others have, the actual "things" you have........ mean more....I PROMISE!!

And since and I am off on that tangent I will relate this to our home.....we (everyone of #thedertings off of Wood Bridge Road) work HARD daily to take care of what we have! I fully believe the less mess, the less stress! and if you have too much "stuff" you have too much mess and then you have too much stress!!! Its a correlation ;) I can't function in a mess, nor can my kids and I pretty happy to say nor can Brooks Derting (it only took about 15 years)!!

February 10, 2012 has etched details in my head forever.....the what ifs, the whats next, the how will we ever make it....there are a handful of days in my life that I know minute to minute details and this is one of those days....things changed, FOREVER, our (mostly my) mindset changed....we no longer lived to be like others, we no longer bought "things" we didnt need.....we became appreciative of even the littlest things! And today we are beyond grateful for the blessing that was uncovered in my debt mess!!

I can PROMISE you that if Brooks had not discovered my awful secret when he did, there may not be #thedertings, we would probably not own a home, IF we were even still together....our kids certainly would not have experiences over "things" and they probably wouldn't even have "things"...

I write this because there are people out there that need encouragement, that need tricks and tips and that just need to know YOU CAN OVERCOME, I PROMISE! I also PROMISE that when you do the life on the other side of all of that debt and all of those "things" it is so much sweeter than any shopping trip you could go on!!! I PROMISE, cross my heart!!!

Our life is budgeted, everything we do is in the budget or we dont do it!! Life takes discipline in so many ways.....and you have to conform to that discipline or it will never work! (its a hard truth)

Thanks for reading! Much love, Alysha