Sep 18, 2008

Frugal Living

You may have noticed a theme lately of grocery shopping on the cheap, to other ways to save. I have been turned on to Dave Ramsey by some of the girls on one of my message boards I go to. I have started listening to him on the radio and DVRing him on TV and I have reserved some of his books at the library... unfortunately he is in high demand and the books have around 80 people in line for them, so I purchased one from eBay and I am going to go through my books to see what I have to sell to local used bookstores and then look to see if they sell any used copies of his books.

So one of the main teachings of Dave Ramsey is his "baby steps" which are found here, but they include:

  1. $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund

  2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball

  3. 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings

  4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

  5. College funding for children

  6. Pay off home early

  7. Build wealth and give!
    Invest in mutual funds and real estate

I have reevaluated my thinking and realized even though we have enough to live on, we were not putting enough in savings or towards debt. I have found *simple* expenses to cut and made it a priority to save more on groceries, and eat at home instead of eating out. I found if I look at the sales ads and use that to make my menu, I can get great deals at the store, keep my menu interesting by not making the same 7 things each week. This last trip I got enough meals to last us almost a full month, and I only spent around $150! This includes meat and veggies at every dinner, so I am not skimping on nutrition. I saved almost $100 last week just by shopping from the sales adds and using coupons; since they have the sales flier online at my local stores it is easy to make my list Sunday, organize my coupons, and shop on Monday or Tuesday. I also buy a lot of the sales items and freeze what I don't need for later use, this goes beyond just meat, I also freeze bell peppers, bread, cheese, etc. If I keep this up, I can save 50% of our average grocery bill, and 75% of our food budget, all while improving the foods we eat. The savings can then be passed to my savings account, then we can start snowballing debt to pay off credit cards, and my car loan.

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