If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Stretching our dollars


With just a little prep work and planning,  our dollars seem to last a longer. 
One thing we do is spend cash for most things bought locally.  
This is the monthly cash I’ll use for groceries, my spending money,  miscellaneous expenses and if we go out to eat.  
The $200 is to buy our monthly card at Walmart.  We use that card for gasoline.  This method works best for us as in our town,  Walmart has the cheapest gas and the stations are very convenient to our home.  Having the card means we can pay quickly at the pump without the hassle of going to the window 2 times as in a cash purchase.  
My husband also has spending money but he doesn’t keep his in a cute envelope with a bird on it.  😂

And no,  I don’t carry all this cash with me everywhere I go.  I take what I think I will need and the rest is at home, usually in a safe.  



I planned to shop for a few groceries, but before I made my shopping list,  I looked in the fridge and made a list of the fresh produce we still had and that I need to plan the next several meals around.  
This list is on the front of our fridge to keep me reminded what to use. 


Then I made a shopping list.  
I divided it out with which products I planned to buy at each store.  I went to Dollar Tree, Aldi and Walmart.  All 3 stores are close together and none are far from our home so this multiple store shopping is not as time consuming as it may sound.  



Below are 3 grocery items I like to buy at Dollar Tree.  
I’ve blogged about this shelf stable milk from Utah before. 
The 4 pack of Dannon yogurts are a favorite of my grands and much cheaper at DT than other grocery stores.  
The coffee is a 6 ounce bag.  My husband really likes it as he like plain, black, basic coffee.  I don’t drink coffee so I can’t  give you my feelings on it.  Our son in law  has drank a lot of fancy coffee from coffee shops and he says this DT coffee is good.  
And in case you don’t know,  everything at Dollar Tree costs $1 or less.  



One big way we don’t spend much is we rarely eat out.  We just aren’t crazy about most restaurant food or the restaurant experience.  
Even on our trip to California,  we only ate at 3 California restaurants during the 5 days we were there.  And we ate a couple of airports meals as we had some layovers.  



I’ve been doing this careful budgeting for a long time and for us,  it has paid off.  
If you have a good method,  I hope you’ll share it.  

28 comments:

  1. I think everyone who maintains a budget has their own little peculiar tricks that work for them but maybe not for the next guy. I have to have some room in our budget for us to enjoy life while at the same time staying focused on saving.

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    1. Yes, now that our budget has plenty of wiggle room, we enjoy things like vacations, spoiling grands, etc.

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  2. Goodness, I hope one of the restaurants was In and Out;-) We now have one less than 10 minutes from us but we have cut back on meat, sugar, salt, oil etc. Just about everything good for ya as The Dude will say. Sorry I missed you coming to California. We could have met you down at MCRD...or somewhere. The Dude and another Deacon did church services there for over 10 years before we moved. We like to stay at the Amphib base (Navy Seals) as it has the same view as The Hotel Del for $200 less per night. North Island is great to stay at too.

    blessings, jilly

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    1. Jilly, that would of been so fun to meet you. Who knows, we come back to CA in a year or so.
      There is an In N Out just outside Camp Pendleton’s main gate but we didn’t eat there.
      We ate at the Rockin Baja something in Old Town, the Oceanside Broiler right by the Oceanside Pier and an old school Mexican place in Vista. They are all good and very California-ish.
      That is so neat that your husband helped with church services at MCRD. It’s a really neat base, isn’t it?

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  3. I love how you organize things! I do many of the same things, but always get a few more good ideas from your ideas:). There's always more to learn. I always get very excited when I see pictures of your dinner kits where you cut up all the salads, etc. It always looks so tasty and fresh, and I have to remind myself that my veggies probably would look good in a picture--but I still love looking at your pictures:). I love pulling items out of the fridge quickly for our family Sunday dinners, or taking the parts and pieces to my sister's house, as pre-prepped as possible. I also fill envelopes, although I admit that I have some several-year-old plain envelopes, plus a couple of bank envelopes that I'm using right now. Yours are so cute!

    I am so loaded up with yogurt right now--on Saturday it was $1.99/8-carton package. I bought the 5 allowed. But, it's already going down quickly. My brother-in-law was here to do math with the 2 homeschooled girls (one of mine and one of his), and he ate some and I gave him the rest of the carton. Patsy and Rob have been eating them like crazy, so 2 boxes are gone already. I'm so glad I got them!!

    Your dollar store has some really great deals. I'm glad you found them.

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    1. Thank you Becky and I’m glad my ideas help you.
      I was using a cash billfold but I got a handbag just for traveling before our ca trip. I like it so much that I am still using it but my big ole billfold didn’t fit in it too well so for now I’m using paper envelopes. I’d like some laminated ones and will keep an out for some but paper ones are ok for now.

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  4. Replies
    1. It’s from years when thrift was necessity and now it’s just the smart thing to do.

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  5. I just may have to get brave and try the DT coffee. I've never seen the milk, but think it would be a great idea to have some in the pantry!

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    1. The coffee is just $1 and husband drinks the breakfast blend and it comes in a vanilla kind too.
      Yes, the box milk is a great pantry item. My daughter likes to take it for her 3 milk loving children to drink on car trips.

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  6. You are doing awesome! I didn't know Dollar Trees sold yogurt! I will have to ask my oldest daughter to see if the one she works at does - and I guess I should be checking the refrigerated/freezer cases more often there! =)

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    1. How fun your daughter works at DT!
      There are some questionable products there but there are also lots of good products there. I’m a fan and just shop carefully.

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  7. I am finding out that every little bit helps. It took me a long time to see this.

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    1. Some people never figure that out, so you are ahead of lots of people.

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  8. I love your idea of posting what needs to be used up on your fridge. I need to start doing that because things tend to get lost in the back and then go bad. Jeff and I try to sit down and plan out the menu for the week based on what we have on hand, needs used up first and, if there is a great sale on something we are craving, we may add that to the menu also. I love Dollar Tree for things like the John Morrell Smoked Sausage, frozen fruit, spices, pickled veggies, the Saffron Rice mixes, some canned goods, pepperoni and if they have them, big boxes of cereal. We also by fabric softener sheets there, freezer Ziplock style bags, gift bags, baby wipes, toothpaste, medicated body powder, hairspray, back scrubbers and other items.

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    1. I like your long DT list. I am a fan of this store for sure.
      Because things get lost or forgotten is exactly why I try to keep this list.

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  9. I love our DT. I buy the soymilk there as it is the cheapest around. If you know your prices they have some great buys. And they are on Ibotta too!.

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    1. You are right about DT having soy milk in the exact same containers as cow milk.
      Walmart and our military commissary also sell this box milk and it is close to $2 for the same size container.

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  10. I am using the envelope system in my Dave Ramsey wallet. I just take what I need with me also. I use $75.00 per week for groceries and $100. per week for other all other miscellaneous items like hair salon, eating out or take out, gifts, etc.

    I wish I could get that milk here at my DT. I would buy it in a minute.

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    1. At our DT, the box milk is on a bottom shelf in the grocery section. It’s hard to see if you don’t know about it. Maybe it’s “hiding” at your DT?

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  11. You have a wonderful tip about keeping a list of what needs to be used up. I am going to start doing that. Things often get pushed to the back of the refrigerator and forgotten.

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    1. Thank you and I hope it works for you Dawn.

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  12. I like the produce list idea. I think I will do that tomorrow.

    Our DT used to carry heavy cream in half pints for a buck but I have not seen it lately. That was a big money saver.

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    1. I’ve never seen the heavy cream at my DT. Aldi is next door to my DT and the sell pints for just under $2
      Hope the produce list works for you.

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  13. We just got a Dollar Tree in town, so I don't have to wait until we go to Lincoln to fit in a trip there. Now, if only we could get an Aldis...

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    1. Yea that you have a DT now! . In our town, the DT was first and then a few years later the Aldi was built right next door to DT.

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  14. I like the idea of keeping a list on the outside of the fridge of what veggies and fruits you need to use up. I need to do this with items in my freezers, too. It's easy to forget what you have in the bins in the fridge sometimes. We eat a mostly clean, organic diet so I don't shop at the DT, etc. I do shop at Aldi for some organic items, as well as Meijer, Walmart, Trader Joe's and Fresh Thyme.

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  15. Dear Rhonda, Planning is everything! I find the things that need to be used up is a great one... if I can plan what meals to make to incorporate things my grocery bill is so much lower. Somewhere I read that one hour planning also saves four hours real time. I wouldnt be surprised if that is right too! Now its almost the weekend I need to set some time aside for some planning. I didnt do it to my usual extent last weekend and well that was a mistake! Loved this post! With love Annabel.xxx

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I love to hear from you - thanks for telling me what you think.

Jeff and Rhonda

Jeff and Rhonda