Food Budget

Feeling fall!!!! <3

Hi everyone!  As we start into this wonderful fall season, I have a confession to make.  I’m really really obsessed with baking and cooking.  It’s an all year kind of thing, but especially in the fall!  For some reason I feel super in-tune with the season.  So, why does this have anything to do with being a money magnet?  Because being a money magnet is all about being wise with your money.  Bringing in more than you spend and investing in yourself.

Which brings me to my next point – the dreaded food budget.  So, to be completely honest, I usually blow our monthly food budget in 2 weeks.  I love experimenting with different recipes and many times I need some new ingredients that I would otherwise not have in my pantry.  

Budgeting for food can be tricky.  But, it should be one of the first three things you spend money on (once you get your $).  The reason it should be a top priority is because its super hard to be productive and on your a-game if you only have ramen noodles and cereal for a week. (Not to say cereal and ramen noodles aren’t amazing, but its not super healthy for your body!)

I don’t know about you guys, but I LOOOOOVE going to Costco.  Its kinda funny because I go in for a couple things, $400 later I’m out the door and my trunk is about to explode!  Haha!  The great thing about Costco is the buying in bulk – we end up getting our years worth of laundry soap, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels, etc once a year.  That way, I get those big items out of the way and my grocery budget is just for that – groceries.

Mmmmmmmm!

We used to be the family that went out to eat ALL THE TIME.  It was getting so expensive!  Since I love cooking and baking, I decided I would do it all myself and all the extra that we used to spend eating out could go into my pocket for fun stuff.  Hey!  Cooks gotta get paid too!  😉

The easiest way I set my food budget is bi-weekly.  The night before payday, I clean out my fridge and pantry and take a little inventory of what I have.  Since fall is here, I’m all about the soups!  And my family is all about the breads and cookies.  So, I’ll sit down and rummage through my cookbooks to get some inspiration on what I’ll be doing for the week.  

I’ll make a list on lined paper of Monday through Sunday and put down what I’ll be cooking.  Off to the side I write down general things we love to eat, like milk, bread, eggs, cereal, and yogurt.  Below each day, with the meals written down, I put down the things I’m missing that I need to pick up.

Hope this helps 🙂

I have discovered the MOST AMAZING THING EVER!  Most stores let you order your groceries off their app (like Walmart and Smiths).  You just go through, pick what you want, choose your pick-up time (or they also deliver to your house!!!) and pay with your card.  The first time I did this, I was so skeptical, but I’m in love with this process now!  I have my shopping list right in front of me and only pick what we need (instead of mosey-ing around grabbing unnecessary items).  I’ve found this has helped me save a TON of money sticking to what we need and not having random half-eaten things laying around the house.  And, since we all know that time flies by WAAAY too fast, this is a HUGE time-saver as well!

Soooooooo, here’s the ultimate goal when coming up with a food budget – figure out a way to spend a little less on what you already get so you can pocket the rest!  What do you need?  How much do you want to eat out?  What would you like to try?  Have some fun!  If you need any exciting ideas on baking and cooking, just comment!  I’ll hook you up!  

The Value Of YOU

Believe it or not, you are either an asset or a liability when it comes to your money.  We trade our time for money (work) and we trade our money for stuff.  So, how much are you worth?  And how much of your time are you willing to part with?  

When I first started realizing how important a budget was and how important it was to track my spending and where it was going, I realized the value of ME.  Its so easy to blow through money!  I mean, come on!  There is so much cool stuff to get!  I know you’ve probably read it a million times, but the truth is – time is the most precious commodity and it’s one we can never get back once its spent.  

Some of us work at a building that we have to punch a time-clock.  Some of us are able to work from home.  Some of us work during the day, and others at night.  Some of us have a boss, and some of us are the boss.  Some of us get monetary compensation and others don’t (think stay at home mom or volunteers).  Whatever your work situation is to bring home the bacon – you are trading your time for money.  Whether it be salary, hourly, or commission.  I’ve experienced all 3.  Bottom line is – we work to make the money we spend.

Shifting your mindset on making and spending money can add value to your life in ways you never thought possible.  Once I started viewing spending my money in terms of how long it took me to make the money, I was much more aware of where my funds were going.  I used to get my nails done every 3 weeks.  (I just liked pretty nails that didn’t chip!).  So, on the times I just got my fingernails done, it ended up being close to $60 including the tip.  When I splurged and got a pedicure along with it, I was looking at around $100.  Needless to say, I have since got all the equipment I needed to do my own gel nails and pedicures at home.  I realized that I was spending about 15 hours of my life a month just to have pretty nails.  (OMG!).

So, where do you “spend” your time?  Anything you are spending on that you don’t really need?  Anywhere you are trading your time for that could be allocated somewhere else?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on what your favorite splurges are!  Or what you once thought was an important buy that maybe now you’ve changed your mind on!

Building the Savings

I never realized the importance of a good savings account until an emergency came up.  I used to never save first. I always paid bills, bought groceries, picked up some things I really didn’t need at Target (hehe), and left enough for gas until my next paycheck.  Through trial and error, I discovered it was really important to have a short-term savings and a long-term savings.  Once I got in the habit of saving money, it was the first thing on my budget I checked off.  So, where do you start?  Where do you come up with the numbers that work for you?

For the short-term savings, I decided that 2 months worth of expenses would be a good place to start.  So, think monthly expenses: Rent/Mortgage, Gas, Electricity, Water/Sewer/Garbage, Cell phone, Internet/TV service, Car payment, Auto Insurance, Gas, Groceries, Credit Cards/Student Loans/Other debt, Memberships (like the gym or other monthly subscription charges), Life Insurance, Health Insurance.  I know, it seems like a lot!  Bills add up quickly!  But just think, if you had enough to cover 2 full months of bills – if an emergency ever came up, you wouldn’t stress it!  If you had your car break down or got laid off your job – that cushion might be just enough to carry you through without getting any additional gray hairs!

For the long-term savings, take that same monthly amount, but times 12.  A year of savings was my goal for the long-term savings amount.  The trick is to keep that amount saved up.  Its really easy to see a big number in your savings account and take out a little here or a little there.  But, before you know it, you’ll have to start over from ZERO.  Some people I know consider their retirement savings as a long-term savings, which is totally cool – just as long as it stays just that – for the long-term.

Some things to think about when you’re deciding on what type of savings you want to get together – what is the ultimate goal of the savings account? What do you want to use it for? How long can you commit to saving?  How much can you put aside each paycheck?  Once you start putting money into that account and watch it grow, you will get addicted to adding more and more!  Yessss!  Watch it grow!

Some last minute tidbits – there are a variety of savings accounts you can make for yourself/your family: for college, for retirement, for a down payment on a house, an emergency fund, something that’s caught your eye for a while (Louis Vuitton anyone?!?!), or even a destination trip you’ve been wanting to take your whole life.  The sky is the limit!  

Once you decide on what you are saving for and how much you want it to be, you can break it down into bite-sized chunks.  Want to save up $7,000 for that family trip to Disney next year? You’d need to save roughly $584 a month, for 12 months.  Want to save up $12,000 for that mommy make-over you deserve? You’d need to save $1,000 a month for 12 months.  Basically, take the amount you want, divide it by the time-frame you have (months, weeks, paychecks, etc) and you’ll have the magic number you need to shoot for.

Got any questions?  Feel free to comment and we can brain-storm together 🙂

Happy Savings!



Evil Money

Some say that money is the root of all evil.  I don’t know about you – but it kinda fuels my life!  I need it to survive and thrive along with everyone else I know.  Growing up, I never really thought about where money came from, I just saw my Mom write the checks for bills, groceries, mortgage payment, etc.  So, in my little kid brain, I just thought the paper covered what we needed.  Ha!  Boy was I wrong!  Once I hit high school, we were taught how to write a check and how to balance a ledger – but I don’t think we were ever prepared for what being an adult with financial responsibility meant.  I never knew how important having a savings account was, what investments were, or even how to plan for a smart financial future until life hit me smack in the face: 20 years old, just had my first baby, husband up and left, and I made 8 dollars an hour as a CNA.  Life! (insert jazz hands!)

So yeah, I don’t know if money is evil, but money is absolutely awesome!  You CAN have an incredible financial situation no matter what age or circumstance you find yourself in.  It just takes some great planning, awesome budget sheets (yep – I use mine ALL THE TIME!), and a generous helping of big dreaming.