iCate

laid off and learning to love it… my journey from corporate sprinter to life marathoner

sahm: ramping down…to a strict budget 06/26/2009

Filed under: Saving Money — ccatet @ 1:59 pm

when i was first laid off and attempting to cut our grocery bills, i realized very quickly that you can’t go from 100MPH to 5MPH in just one month. in other words, it can be challenging to reduce the rate of spending rapidly and dramatically – and then expect to sustain that reduced budget over time.

for the first 2 months of our new budget, i missed my mark. yes, i was reducing my overall spend from pre-budget days, but i couldn’t hit the budgeted dollar number i set for the total month. i was really frustrated. i only had one more month to figure it out before there was no more wiggle room.

i talked to a few friends and my husband and realized that building my stockpile was slowing my performance. however, i knew that in order to sustain a reduced grocery and household budget, i had to build up a stockpile of certain goods. by purchasing (at very low prices) and stockpiling the core non-perishable foods and household goods that your family needs, you can reduce your future spending significantly since you never have to run out and buy these items at full price.

if you want to save money, specifically on groceries and household items, it can be easy… you just have to know what you’re getting into. i wish i had been better prepared for the challenge of cutting back, but i am also glad i took the time (and money) to build our stockpile as it is one of the reasons i am able to be home with my kids now.

here is how i ramped down: at first, i was buying our “need to have” items and stockpiling as much as possible through promotions, price-matching, sales and coupons. each week, the amount i needed to stockpile was declining. after 2 months, we FINALLY had enough in all categories that i am now in stockpile maintenance mode and only add to my stockpile with a fantastic deal.

in terms of actual numbers and time to goal: i spent only 10% less compared to when i was working. the second month, i was down 32%. the third month was the clincher… i was down 55%. when the baby goes off a formula in 7.5 weeks (yes, i am counting the days), i am hoping to get us over the 60% mark.

i found there was a bit of a mental challenge to learning to live on a budget. if you haven’t done it before, you can “convince” yourself that you should have certain things… things you don’t truly need. i encountered this early on and have been able to get myself out of that mindset. if i need a sounding board, i run it by my husband who is also quite frugal – and he keeps me on track.

if you’re in the first few weeks/months of trying to reduce your spending and not having the successes you were hoping for, stay positive and stay focused. it may take a few months, but the diligence will pay off and it’s so worth it.

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