My guidelines for this month:
1. Account for every penny. I am starting off with $165 in cash (thanks to a client paying a month's worth of co-pays in cash - I don't usually carry that much) and $202.11 in my checking account.
2. Get what I can get at Costco (assuming it's cheaper than store sales, which it sometimes isn't) - get what I can't get at Costco at Food Source or Grocery Outlet - get what I can't get at any of those places at Safeway or at the Farmer's Market if possible. Our grocery bill tends to be high because we buy organic produce and much of our dry goods are also organic.
3. Plan meals each week, and plan shopping lists from meals. Take a list to Costco and ONLY buy what’s on the list (I did this on my last two trips to Costco, and my total purchases ended up being less than $100 which is pretty low for me
4. Avoid Target. If I do go to Target, see above.
5. Use what we have. Take an inventory of our freezer and pantry and use it up rather than buying more.
6. Pack my food for work days.
7. No non-essential purchases. What’s non-essential? I’ll have to figure that out as I go along. In the strictest terms, anything beyond minimal shelter, food and clothing are non-essential. I say that TP and medicine is essential. I also say that coffee is essential, but it doesn’t have to be Peet’s and it doesn’t have to be made somewhere other than home.
A’s birthday is in the beginning of September. Stuff for goody bags and b-day presents are pretty non-essential in the grand scheme of things. But I imagine I’m going to buy them anyway.
As an aside, I suggested to A. that we ask people not to bring b-day presents to his party and instead he could pick a charity for them to donate to, since he already has so much stuff and really doesn’t need more. His eyes filled with tears and his “Noooooo!” echoed through the aisles. Probably shouldn’t have brought it up to him in the toy section of Target.
breakfast: $4.43 + .35 tip
frozen yogurt: $6.35 (it was a big one)
(didn't plan well for this day, but avoided buying lunch like I usually do, except the fro you cost as much as I usually pay for lunch).