Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Update #2: March Money Experiment

{Getting rid of excess, extravagance, and overspending. Buying only what you NEED}

Well many of you have affectionately called this "March Money Madness" hahahaha! Excuse me?! I never added the madness. But it kind of is madness when you think about it.

It's also kind of ridiculous to see how hard it is to buy only what you need at the grocery store. Friends, I ate peanut butter and jelly 4 times last week for the sake of eating what is in my home (and not going to buy a sandwich or jamba juice, though I really wanted to.) It probably saved me $20 this week alone!

Last month our total grocery bill was $534.

Righ now our total grocery spending for March is $230.

A whopping heap of $304 in savings!!

I also heard that Americans waste something like 40% of the food we buy in a year. In other words, we buy fresh produce and throw it out because it rots before we eat it. Or we make dinner and put left overs in the refrigerator and throw them out a week later because we don't eat them.

Now, I must say . . . we ate left overs (from the same meal) last week Weds, Thurs, & Fri. If the thought of eating leftovers for 3 nights in a row terrifies you, that's okay. It was kind of scary for us too! But, in reality, people all over this world eat the same thing day after day because they have to. I think of the people who have so little to eat, they dig through garbage cans to find food. They would find a feast on our block on garbage day I'm sure!

And I'm not okay with that. Anymore. I would rather donate the extra $20 worth of food to someone in need, than cook it for myself and then throw it away.

So here are some tips that have helped us:
1. Clean your refrigerator every week. Move stuff around, dig through those bins and discover what you have. Sometimes we buy things we already have simply because we couldn't see it! So before I go grocery shopping I clear out my refrigerator and for stuff I didn't use from last week. Also, you'll avoid finding that funky smelling stuff a few weeks later and having to do this:

2. Try meatless Mondays!

I swear it's not as bad as it seems. It doesn't' have to be Monday, but being a vegetarian saves A LOT of money because we don't buy meat for every meal. Perhaps just one meal a week as a vegetarian could save you some $$$ too! I mean how good does this look? Click on the title and it will take you straight to the recipes. Or follow me on Pinterest for more vegetarian ideas!

Roasted Broccoli & Sundried Tomato Pasta

3. No dessert. I know, big fat bummer. But this is an obvious one. Cut out the extra calories and cash. Keep it for special occasions! If your kids love dessert, give them a choice. Either we can play a game with mom and dad, or we can have dessert. (I promise they'll choose a game w/mom and dad over an ice cream!) Then you don't have to put up a fight and everyone wins because you'll get time with your kiddos!

4. Find some positive reinforcement. Use something to motivate you. Perhaps for every $10 you save each week, put $1 in a jar. Then use that money to treat yourself to something! Or like us, half of what we save this month we'll give away to support local missions.

What are some ideas you have for cutting spending? Or motivation for getting rid of excess and waste?? Please share!

P.S. Dining out is still a huge area we need to grow in. Even with trying to dine out less, we've still spent a ton. It didn't help that we spent a weekend away and dined out for every meal. :-( So help me here please!


  1. If you have any questions about bringing your food on a vacation. I am the queen of bringing our pantry. :)

  2. Ok, so I have been staying out of the grocery store because I know that we hugely overspend there. I have been creatively and frugaly been cooking with what I have. Not always what everyone cares for, but we paid for those groceries. We should eat them! (My husband didn't finish the spagetti becuase we ran out of meatballs!) Ah geez! Our overstock of food is finally starting to dwindle down to what a normal pantry should look like. Do you know I found 3 bags of flour in there? And one in the fridge! Do I have a bakery business on the side or what!? Hardly. Overstocking the pantry is a problem and food goes rancid quickly especially if its organic. So thank you for opening my eyes a little more. I am trying really hard to not be so wasteful. As far as Kim bringing food on vacation....with 3 kids.....I am definately guilty of that. We almost always stay in a hotel with a kitchen so that I can cook. Its a huge savings. We go to Disneyland and hardly spend a dime on food in the park. $16 wimpy cheeseburger? No thanks. When we go to the coast we barbeque on the beach for dinner, have sandwichs for lunch, and make breakfast at the hotel before we leave. Its awesome. Half the stuff I can bring from my own pantry and the rest we get at the grocery store when we get there. So much cheaper than eating out 3 meals a day for a family of 5.