My husband and I are pretty responsible, and typically frugal people. We also adore Dave Ramsey and have taken Financial Peace University.
If this is the first you have ever heard of the fabulous Dave Ramsey, allow me to change your financial life by sending you right here. He is amazing, and his courses, books, and radio show taught Ryan and me so much about money. He’s offering a sale on books right now where you can get 3 for $33 (I’m not getting a dime for telling you any of this, I just believe that much in Dave. Really, he’s amazing… Go check him out!).
So as you can imagine, we’re “gazelle intense” as Dave calls it, and we throw every extra dollar at paying off debt. Operation Debt Free is being kicked up a notch.
Although we’re still on Baby Step #2, we’re actually on the last but most daunting portion of our debt snowball: student loans. I’m sickened by the interest collecting on them alone that I am beyond ready to see them go away. I feel that sharing our story will give me incentive and accountability, so I’ll be updating you every couple of weeks with how we’re doing and new ways we’ve found to save money. Maybe it’ll help you along the way too!
This week, we’re going over our budget and looking for even more cuts. There’s quite a few places we’ll be slashing:
Restaurants: I’m currently on Weight Watchers (and killin’ it, but that’s another post), and we don’t eat out very much anyway. We had a power outage this past month and couldn’t open our refrigerator, so we had to eat out a few times with the kiddos. Next month, we’ll have enough money budgeted for a nice date night out, but other than that, no eating out.
Electricity: We had quite a few CFL lightbulbs remaining in our house. On top of being a pain in the butt to dispose of once they burn out, they’re not as energy efficient as LEDs. We took care of that this month, and hopefully we’ll reap the benefits next month.
Groceries: I’ll admit it, I’ve been more lax than I should be and there are definitely ways we can make our groceries stretch a little more. One way was suggested by some of my favorite vloggers on YouTube, The Financial Diet: Making your own cold brew. I guess I never realized how simple it really was to make my own! Cold Brew not on sale is usually around $4-5. We go through a lot of coffee in this house. A LOT. So I found a great tutorial here at Table for Two and I’m going to take a crack at it this week.
I also stumbled upon an article here about freezing Buttermilk, which is on my upcoming grocery list for the weekend (TheKitchn always seems to come to my rescue when I google things of this sort). I’ve froze Tomato Paste that way before, so I kind of went, “Duh! Why haven’t I been doing this?!”We didn’t have any ice cube trays up to the task, so I found these on Amazon. So there’s a small investment upfront, but it will serve us well.
And finally, we’re also pushing out grocery trips a little farther than normal, and really making our groceries stretch. I need to be better about the fridge being slightly “bare” and not freaking out over it. We regularly shop at Aldi and that always helps our bottom line, too.
Personal Care/Household Items: So get this: not everything is cheaper on Amazon. I know! I was shocked too! I did some price comparison between Target.com and Amazon Subscribe and Save on a few of our household staples and was shocked at the difference. Plus, if you’re a Target Red Card Holder, you get 5% off your purchase and free shipping. I ordered items like the kids’ mouthwash, boxes of tissues, flossers, dryer sheets, and allergy medications cheaper than Amazon, and got 5% off to boot. Not too shabby! Plus, I don’t have to worry about adjusting a subscription schedule on those items, which quite honestly, is annoying sometimes.
However, my shampoo and conditioner were only $2 per bottle on Amazon, so I still ordered them there this time around.
Cleaning Products: I am in love right now with Pretty Frugal Living. And she has an entire series of videos about making your own homemade cleaners. This past week I tried the homemade cleaning wipes, and was so impressed. Amrita is a genius, I swear. I made three batches (one for my kitchen and one for each bathroom):
They smell HEAVENLY and they cleaned wonderfully. I don’t think I would ever go back to buying store bought wipes. I’m MORE than happy with how the three batches turned out.
Are you on a debt free journey? I’d love to hear more and swap tips!