Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shopping List-saving my life

I used to be an impulse buyer.

When Ted and I got married it was all about what we felt like in terms of groceries. I'd get a mix of groceries with little concern for cost or deals, and I'd cook meals based on what we had in house. Mealtimes stressed me out. I was nervous about experimenting, unsure of what flavours worked together, and I had a stand by list of things I had grown up with and knew how to make that I used. All of a sudden a light went on, and I realized that I would thrive in a schedule of meals, planned in advance, going off recipes that I had learned from friends and knew we would like. (As an aside, one of our best Christmas gifts this year, my sister in law gave me a recipe book of her and my brothers staple foods, things they loved and made all the time. How she knew what I needed, I'll never know, but it was the turning point in the meal making process)

All of a sudden, I enjoyed cooking. It wasn't just the execution of the meals that felt better, it was knowing exactly what we needed to get when we go to the store. I love making my list each week, with items broken down into where in the grocery store they are. I have a whiteboard that lives in the kitchen, and the days of the week are on it with corresponding meals and sometimes ingredients. I love my system, I am passionate about my system, and it is the only way that making a budget for food is possible.

That's something new for this month. My new project. We always know APPROXIMATELY how much will be spent, but this week I'm going to make an excel chart (don't judge me, it's the best program ever) and find out in advance how much will be spent on different sections of the house (food, cleaning, hygiene) and work out a template for the month, so that I can see where we can save, and if it's better to stock up on deals, or buy things as they're really needed.

As I learn more about our spending, I can adjust where need be. I already know some of our weak spots. (Pop is expensive enough, but the $1.20 deposit our here, of which we only get half back doesn't help) I can work on those weaknesses, and cut down wastefulness with a budget. I had no idea how much structure suited me til marriage. Live, learn, change where it's needed. That's what my budget lessons are so far.


Miss Fitz said...

Hey Alison!

So proud of you for doing this blog! SO many people I know are into refocussing their finances. I just bought some software to track it on my mac!


Jessica Morris said...

excel rocks! lol, it can become an obsession to keep things organized ;)

Being pregnant I sometimes forget some numbers, so I always write down how much I spend in my day organizer, and then transfer it to excel when I get the chance.

I answered your question about the midwife in my latest post, but I'll tell you here too :)
Because of incompetent cervix I am considered high risk and midwives aren't allowed to see high risk patients, unless I did at home stuff, which at home births in Georgia are illegal. And I'm really not interested in one due to the medical problem I have and because Judah was 5 weeks premature. I don't mind being monitored and followed by a doctor at a hospital. I wouldn't have a problem fighting for what I wanted, but am so blessed to have a supportive doctor!
And Paul *gets* everything, and I'll have a doula there too. I am so stoked about this birth!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ali! (meg here, can't remember my blogger password). Love the blog :) I am passionate about my lists too. When I don't have a meal plan it really makes things stressful--and it usually leads to eating junk which is way more expensive. I need to sit down and figure out actual costs too. I am still budgeting based on when we first got married, and food is definitely more expensive now than it was 7 years ago! I always end up needing more cash, but if it was budgeted in from the beginning it wouldn't be an issue. Great stuff here! You're quite the wordsmith!