Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cinching the belt a little tighter

Our main financial goal that we're working towards at the moment is saving for my graduate school for the Spring. I will not be going if I don't get an assistantship, because we really cannot spend more on education right now. But, if I do get an assistantship, paying for school will be in the form of a monthly paycheck, so I will need to have money to pay for my classes at the start of the semester. In order for this to be possible, I will also need to somehow earn or save an extra $1200 between now and January. So the next few months will be very, very lean. Michael is on-board with this and we're working together to make this possible.

I've dropped our grocery/toiletry budget to $300 for the month of August. I may try to go lower in September. We have $0 budgeted for eating out or entertainment. Michael and I will still each get our $40 for spending money.

Yesterday was grocery shopping/errand day. I found some really good deals in the Albertson's and Tom Thumb circulars this time, so my two-week grocery trip involved trips to Tom Thumb, Albertson's, The 99 Cents Store, Fiesta, Save a lot, Kroger, and The Mrs. Baird's outlet. The only one of those that is not all on the same two mile stretch of road is Albertson's. I have to go about a mile out of the way to get there. I did plan a good menu, and was able to stock up on some excellent meat deals that will last us much of the month. I spent $142 yesterday for two weeks worth of groceries, and also had to buy deoderant, soap, toothpaste, and dog food. I really used my grocery price book this time to make sure I found the absolute best prices on everything we needed. I bought three pot roasts, a family pack of chicken breast, and five lbs. of 93/7 lean ground beef. I have $8 left if I need some extra produce or a gallon of milk.

The Y where I work out at goes to the food pantry and brings back stuff to give to its members (it is a very low income area), so I got a few things that were helpful in meal planning. I got two turkey roasts, an angel food cake, bagels, and kaiser rolls, so I worked those things into my meal plan.

Here is my plan for the next two weeks:
English muffin pizzas, broccoli
Hamburgers on the grill, oven fries
Chicken with asparagus and roasted red peppers, mashed potatoes
Roast beef sandwiches on kaiser rolls, salad
Taco salad, corn on the cob
Turkey roast, cranberries, steamed broccoli
Pizza Rice Casserole, salad
Baked chicken nuggets, baked potatoes, greens
Chicken & Corn Chili, cornbread (double recipe)
Creamed chicken (or turkey if I have leftover) with cornbread dressing, salad
Grilled jamaican jerk chicken, rice, grilled corn
Beef tacos, lettuce & tomato
Pintos & cheese, cornbread
Steak, baked potato, peas
Breakfast for dinner/pantry meal

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