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2010 Budget Review - $305 is My Average!

I did pretty good in December.  $307.79!  My goal is $300 a month including groceries and toiletries for my little family of 4.  Only one now in diapers thankfully, I had 2 until August.  I added up my total for the year and included the cost of newspapers .... my average was $305!!!  (I have 2 newspaper subscriptions totaling $78/year)

When I started last January my goal was $200.  I could do $200, but I choose not  I'm just not that cool.  $300 is respectable in my opinion, and somewhat easy to manage.  The months I go over are a result of meager planning efforts.
Planning is really the key.  If making and keeping a budget is something you want to do this year, this is what I do:

Choose a number:  I would go low just to see if you can do it.  Then adjust.  I started at $200 after being used to spending $600 to $800 a month!  $200 was too low for me though.   Choose a number that won't cause you coupon/deal stress, but will keep you reigned in.  

Start clean:  Grab an envelope to keep your grocery receipts in.  (or keep track somehow)  Write the amount on front so you have a running total.  This also helps if rebates come up, it's nice to have receipts organized by month.

Plan out meals when you plan your shopping list:  I can't believe how much this helps.  Look at what you already have and needs to be used!  Wasting food is not thrifty.  If you have something that's on it's way to the grave find a way to make it a freezer meal. :)  I do this a lot :):)  

Match coupons with sales:  Again...I can't believe how much this helps!  I used to post match-ups, but it takes A LOT of time, and by the time I would have it done it was already posted multiple times on various blogs and I stopped :)  One of my favorites for Utah is Savvy Shopper Deals because she gets everything...not just a highlight.  Also Cuckoo for Coupon Deals has a local store coupon match-up map, see if your store is there.  

BLOGS:  Not only am I led to great deals and ideas on frugal living, but I'm continually inspired by others' experiences. Check out my blog roll to see some of my favorites.

Food Storage & Stocking Up:  A good thing about multiple newspaper subscriptions is being able to stock up on something when it's a GOOD price...meaning FREE or cents.  This way when you need it you aren't forced to pay regular price.  This way also keeps your food storage looking good for CHEAP!  I used to think we needed a bump in pay before we could work on it.  Instead we decreased our food budget and increased our storage!
Funny how that works.

Other Money Saving sites I love.

Good luck this year!  This is a good time to start saving money, plus it's so addicting!  Check out my bargain brags for some inspiration, here's hoping you'll be bragging soon. :)  


Veronica said…
very inspiring!! Thanks Audrey!
Hey Audrey!

I am returning the sweet gesture!

Thank you!
Thanks V!

Thank you Frugal Free Gal!! That was so nice of you! I'm sure you'll be featured often. :)
Amy said…
This is amazing! WOW! I can honestly say I have no clue how you do it. I coupon and can't seem to do it. Maybe it is the planning part. I am not very good at that. It does seem when I plan meals I actually spend more for some reason. Striving to do much better on my budget....

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