I've shrunk our monthly budget down to $60 a week. While I would ultimately like to get my total down a little bit from there, I honestly don't know how much more that will be possible because of the price of all of the fun and far more expensive gluten free products for which I see few deals. Regardless, I've shrunk our budget down by over $100, so that's good. I'm going to leave it at $60 a week for now and see how it goes for a few months before making further budgetary slashes.
Admittedly, not having the option of eating out that much is really helping matters (sad but true...and I'm actually beginning to cringe a lot at the price of eating out...). As is the fact that I seem to finally be getting into a really good rhythym of menu planning. Even on the weeks where I plan a menu and then end up not following it some days, it's still helping me to focus a lot more on really thinking through what we have, planning out ahead of time (setting meat out to thaw before getting home from work), and those sorts of things.
Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I will admit I went over my budget by $10.00 and so had to pull that $10.00 from the gas budget; however, as our gas prices went down to (prepare yourself.........) $1.98 this week (screams of shock, doors slamming as people run to pack their bags and move here...), I think we'll survive.
So, why the $10.00 extra dollars? Well, here's the story.
I started this week with $55.43 left to spend for the month. Having determined the week's budget and checked to see what essentials we were running low on, we went to WalMart/Aldi's and picked up the basics for a grand total of $36.29 (that included stocking up on a couple of items which were on a really good sale).
Walgreens not really having much to interest me this week, the only other place I hit was CVS. They did have a couple of really good deals:
- Laundry Detergent on sale for $5.99 B1G1 plus with a $1.00 coupon = $4.99 (making my total about $0.07 a load).
- Bic razor was on sale for $4.99. I had a $2.00 off coupon and received $4.00 back in ECBs. Talk about getting your money's worth!
CVS is also running a really good deal on medical related stuff this week. Basically, spend $20 get $10 back in ECBs. Well, I didn't need a whole lot; however, Chris has wanted to try this disgusting sounding thing out called a Neti Pot (it's supposed to help with clearing your nose out, click here to see a rather disturbing demonstration! He has horrible allergy and sinus problems, so if it works, great. But I still say it looks disgusting.), and there were some eye drops that I needed. I figured this would be a good and relatively inexpensive way to let him try out the nose pot.
So, the Netti pot cost $11 and the eye drops were $9.00 (name brand) minus a $2.00 coupon that happened to be on the pot (love those) and a $3.00 coupon for the solution, I totaled $15.00 with $10.00 back in ECBs.
Now, I also had a $10/$50 coupon that I got for CVS last week (they've been doing a lot of the $/$$ coupons lately - love them!), so I decided this would be a good chance to buy the popcorn maker I really have wanted to get. Since all regular microwave popcorn seems to be covered in things I really need to avoid and buying organic microwave popcorn is ridiculously expensive, buying a popcorn maker to just air pop my own seems the cheapest solution (yes, I could do it even cheaper on a stove with oil, but I prefer the taste of air-popped). So, I snagged my popcorn maker.
End result, my total was $55.98. Minus $18.00 in coupons and $9.00 in ECBs, I spent $28.98 oop thus going over my budget by $10.00 (but getting back $15 in ECBs). $10 for a good pocorn maker - an acceptable price!
And I'm feeling pretty confident about being able to really make this whole smaller budget concept work!