We are serial budgeters, with two MBA student loans outstanding 6 years ago, we knew to buy a house and have kids, we needed to still live “like college students”, way beyond our college years. With a lot of sacrifice, I was able to pay off all of my student loans in less than 5 years (about as much as a home in many states – ouch!), and my car in about 18 months. We’re now chipping away at the rest of my husband’s student loans, and are almost done!!!
When re-evaluating our expenses, we realized one category that was still budgeted but a little all over the place was groceries. We eat mostly healthily, but with news of the most recent beef recall, thought there was more we could do to reduce our reliance on meat (and we don’t even eat that much beef). After some research online, and without spending 40 hours a week being an “Extreme Couponer” (and ending up with a cart full of processed junk food), there are a few things we can do better. Experimenting with more vegetarian meals is one. Paying really close attention to the weekly grocery circulars is another. We’re lucky that within a few mile radius, we have 3 major grocery chains plus a Trader Joe’s. If I need to make 2 stops to stock up on something at one store, it doesn’t break the bank on gas in the car.
Mostly, I just want to see how much we can cut. We’re not restricting ourselves if we really want to make something or buy something, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to accept. It’s also a good exercise in frugality, which is a word that scares a lot of people. I don’t think it’s scary, I think it’s fun and something more families should embrace, and will allow us to try new things.