Thursday, March 5, 2015

Grocery Budget Bust

I've been so tied up in house projects and other life happenings that I haven't had much time to dedicate to writing.  But here I am to report how we did with food spending in February.  Remember this goal?  Well we failed. :)  No need to mope over failures (mostly...sometimes...ok mope a little but then get over it) , there are lessons in them all!  So the deets.

We ended up totaling $406.21 putting us $56.21 over. Now where did the $350 budget come from? I made it up. We have only been tracking our spending since the start of the year so I had no idea what our historical grocery budget had been.

I got to thinking one day on what the average couple spends on groceries and decided to do some research. According to the USDA, 2 person households in our age bracket spent between $391 to $781.20 in December 2014. Here's the breakdown:

$391.00 - thrifty plan
$500.90 - low cost plan
$623.80 - moderate cost plan
$781.20 - liberal plan

I checked previous months as well just in case the numbers were affected by the holidays but most months hovered around the December averages. Some months were a little more or less but nothing drastic. The reports are for all meals and snacks made at home, so dining out is not included.

Our January and February spending has not been too far off the thrifty plan and it will be interesting to see how we trend in months to come. I'm still going to aim for $350 every month and see where we land. I really don't know how possible that will though considering we buy organic as much as we can especially meats, produce and dairy.   But I am going to try until I figure out what is realistic for us.

There are a few things I can try:

1. Shop at a cheaper grocery store

Right now we don't shop at the most expensive, but it's definitely not the cheapest. But we have a good shopping experience every time; the stores are clean and they have great organic options. I will pay more for great customer service and that they do have. There's a new grocery chain being built in our area that I could try, but I think it'll be a while before i can do any comparison shopping. I've shopped at this chain while out of town and they have similar service to our current grocery store.

2. Buy only what we need

This I have struggled with. I tend to over shop because I haven't quite gotten a handle on how much food we need for two weeks. I think this will get better with time but I've always been bad with grocery shopping. Back when I lived with my sister, she would always get more for the money. I really like shopping every 2 weeks so that won't change.

3. Couponing?

Nah!!  Tried that and failed and really don't feel like trying again. Maybe one day but today is not it.

The good news is that we ate out as a family only once this month and I am so proud of us for that. This is an absolute win. 

¡Pura Vida!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We Are "Debt" Free!

 ...except the house.

Logged in this morning to see this beauty:
We are officially done with Student Loans and now the only debt hubby and I have collectively is a mortgage!!! Excited? Absolutely!!! If you couldn't tell by all of my exclamation points!!!!! Haha!  :)

¡Pura Vida!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Life As DINKs / We Got Mad Flows

DINK, it means Dual Income No Kids. Hubby and I have been enjoying life as DINKs now for 6 months and there are definitely benefits we want to continue taking advantage of until the dynamics of our family change. Some things will have to change quite a bit obviously, but the core values behind most things we now do, we hope to keep in place and teach to our 'youngins'.

             Have fun!

Hubby and I have tons of fun. We have our occasional misunderstandings like any other couple but besides that, life together is fun. We are goofy individually (he is goofier..shhhh don't tell him) and together we don't hold back. Case in point, today we had a major rap battle and we do this kind of thing all of the time. Like serious freestyle off the dome kind of battle. :p Now neither of us can rap worth a nickel, but you can't tell us that. We are beasts in these streets. =))

You can also find us in the family room having our own little dance party. Anything from slow grooves to club bangers we rock out in our undies, pjs or however we are dressed in that moment when the beat drops. Some mornings we wake up, turn on the tunes and go to town. Life gets so serious sometimes, I'm glad that my home is my safety net of laughter.

When we have kids we will probably have to stop dancing in our underwear at some point. I'm sure that is a teenager's worst nightmare. And some of the lyrics of our raps will need to be modified. But fun is always a priority. Get serious when you need to and have fun when you don't need to be serious. Find joy in the simple things and make the most of your life.

              Exercise is essential!

We workout together. You can find us running the streets of the city jumping trains, bobbing and weaving through the crowd and climbing embankments. Yes, we sometimes go crazy on our runs! Always an adventure.

We'll have to change our "style" of running when we have kids, but the running will not stop. Running stroller here we come. It's important that our kids know that being active is where it's at!

              Money isn't just for paying bills!

Financially speaking the DINK life is awesome too. We have two incomes that we can put toward whatever we like. Since we are both pretty simple people, most of that money goes toward goals, savings (eventually) and building a good foundation so that when kids do come we feel as prepared as we can be. We also need to plan well for retirement so that we can take care of ourselves financially even if at some point we can't take care of ourselves physically. But I am claiming that we will be up, agile and hip all the days of our lives.

We've also been traveling quite a bit since we've been together and want to continue doing that in the future. We much rather spend money on experiences than stuff.

The lesson here that we want our future kids to hang onto is that finances are to managed responsibly, but are also to fund great lasting life experiences.

So DINK life has been amazing so far and we want to keep the party going even when we have kids. It'll just be a party of a different variety, but a party nonetheless.

¡Pura Vida!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Newlywed Diaries - The Family Calendar

In an effort to stay on top of our schedules (his more philanthropic, mine more social, LOL...No, don't LOL. I need to work on that.) I purchased a calendar so we could keep up with each other week to week. Hubby will be doing a lot of traveling the next couple of months and I have a trip myself in March. It really helps too when we are both invited to an event so that we don't end up double booking our time. It hangs on our kitchen wall and so far so good. 

¡Pura Vida!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What's For Lunch

Dinner left overs; chicken quesadillas, turkeyroni pizza quesadillas, parmesan asparagus spears and fruit.  Not too light and not too heavy.

¡Pura Vida!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Intentional Love

Good Morning. This morning has been one of those slow mornings. We laid in bed entirely too long, got some sad news then laid some more. That sad news though brought an outpouring of love that was needed. Sometimes we take the days for granted and rely too heavily on tomorrow. Every time something bad happens we say seize the moment, let people know how you feel and cherish your relationships. We mean well but those sentiments are rarely long lasting.

Love is a dynamic word, the action of love even more so. It's often used liberally and too lightly- I love those shoes, but almost never used enough where it really matters- I love you. I saw this quote this morning and found it to be so timely.

People grow when they are loved well.  If you want to help others heal, love them without an agenda.  ~Mike McHargue

Tomorrow starts the Lenten season and my sisters and I have committed to doing 1 random act of kindness for 40 days. I grew up going to church and while I don't attend as much today for various reasons, mostly some internal conflicts that I am working through, I still practice some things and hold on to some of the lessons I learned and continue to learn. Nothing is all good, including religion and religious people but there are good things you can take from most. When I attend church, I cling to the messages of kindness. The messages of being compassionate to others and empathizing and doing what you can for those less fortunate. Take some time to appreciate what you have been blessed with instead of always complaining about what you don't have. The latter was the message last Sunday. The sacrifice and discipline practiced through Lent is one of those positives to which I cling. I spend most of my days at home so it may be a challenge to do a random act daily, but I just have to be intentional.

Once we got up, we had a light breakfast of homemade raspberry chocolate chip muffins and tea. The muffins are delicious. You can find the recipe here. I made some substitutions and used whole wheat organic flour, 2% organic milk, organic coconut oil and milk chocolate chips instead of dark. I also did not sprinkle any sugar on top because I just really don't like when muffins have sugar sprinkled on top. While sitting with my muffin I thought, there are people out there who can't have a simple muffin for breakfast so one of my acts of kindness will include providing a meal.

I'm now sitting at my desk working and looking out at the snow covered streets. It's beautiful and feels so peaceful. I'm making today about appreciating all that I have, all I have done, all the places I have seen and all those I have loved and loved me back in this lifetime.

I will never be perfect and I will never have a perfect life. I will never love perfectly. But I can love hard and completely, with intention. 

¡Pura Vida!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Managing The Grocery Budget

We are focusing on our grocery budget this month. It's $350. We've only tracked our grocery expenses for 1 month thus far but we were over budget. It's not just about the budget though, we also need to be more conscientious of what we eat. That means buying nutritious foods, which we are already on track with but still could stand to be a little more intentional.

Here's what we are aiming to do:

  • Grocery shop every 2 weeks as opposed to weekly like we were doing before. We've successfully made it through the first 2 weeks and even have some food left. This weekend I'll be grocery shopping and need to ensure I pay attention as I'm adding stuff to the cart so that I stay within the budget. We also need to cut down on wasted food and use everything we buy before they expire.
  • Eat out less. We have an eating out budget but that doesn't mean we have to use it.We need to cook more. No more eating out, out of laziness. Hubby and I share cooking responsibilities so by the time I am getting tired of cooking, it's his turn and vice versa. There's no need for eating out except for the rare treat.We have committed to getting creative and using what we have in our pantry so that none of our food and money go to waste. We haven't had a dinner out since we started this challenge 2 weeks ago. Hubby takes his lunch to work so we are saving there as well.

If we are under our grocery shopping budget we can treat ourselves with a meal on the town every now and then. But we just can't bust the grocery budget and then still buy meals. If we plan ahead and prepare, there's no reason we should be eating out. I think our monthly grocery budget is reasonable for two adults.

¡Pura Vida!