Saturday, March 15, 2008

Budget and menu planning

We made some decisions this week. While we do need to buckle down and work on paying off debt, we need to do some things for us. So we are working on a plan to do both. We have made a list of some things that we have putting off for a long time, for example a bed. You can read about why we need one and my attempt to win one here. Every quarter, I have the opportunity to earn a sizable bonus. I've received 6 so far, we really have nothing to show for it. So we are going to start using that money for some of the items on our list.

We recently looked up a couple of categories in Quicken and discovered we spend way too much eating out. We spent over $200 in the past two weeks--and we didn't even go anywhere fancy. John had been cooped up in the house for all of February with illness and he just wanted out. But, on average, we spend about $50-$60 a week eating out. This includes trips to Sonic or Circle K for a soda. So, I gave John and incentive. On paydays (starting Monday) we are going to put a certain about TBD (probably between $100-$150) in a cash envelope. Any eating out will come from this envelope. But here's the incentive. Whatever is left in the envelope on the next payday will go on an Apple card to help buy John's new computer (an item on our list). We are already buying at least 1 $25 Apple card each payday. This is a way we can add up the savings a bit faster.

With menu planning....I've been trying to work on setting a schedule and planning a menu ahead of time. But it's been tough to sit down and do it. We are going to work at cutting our grocery bill too. This weekend, we are going to plan the next two weeks dinners. So when we go shopping on Monday, we have a plan. Since I'm eating healthier, I need to not be just trying to pull something together at 5 o'clock.

With other cutbacks (such as avoiding the clearance section!) after we pay all the bills each time, we will take whatever is left and use it to pay off debt.

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