Saturday, November 3, 2012

No Non-*cents* November

Alternate title: Target, we’re taking a break… it’s not you, it’s ME.

First off, I can’t believe this year is almost over already. 2012 started slow for me, but the summer and this fall flew by… and now I’m almost a whole year older. Sheesh.

Of course the arrival of November means that Christmas is very much in sight… and that is always a stressful time for us tight-budgeted folks. There are gifts to buy, parties to attend, and food to make/bake. Add that to the fact that we’re Disney-bound in mid-January, and you see my need to get a grasp on spending so that we have maximum funds available for Christmas and our trip.

I am the sole “spender” for our house – I do all the grocery shopping, I fill up the gas tank, and I whip out the debit card for all other purchases {usually eating out and purchasing clothing, shoes, and other small odds and ends}.

Two things really need to be corralled:

Groceries/TARGET. I usually shop at Target {using my Red Debit Card to get 5% off!}, because I like one-stop shopping, and I’ve found that prices on several items at Target are better at “regular” price than local grocery stores {peanut butter, waffles, bread, most HBAs, etc.}. However, I’ve come to find that in the long-run, this is muy, muy no bueno for the old budget-o. For whatever reason, even when I think I’ve “done good,” I end up shaking my head at the register in disbelief that what I thought was "not much" is costing so much. I wouldn't say I go overboard with impulse purchases, but somehow it ALL. ADDS. UP.

Target Hypnosis, as pinned on Pinterest (originally from

I started receiving the Sunday paper, purely for the coupons. I've never been a huge coupon fan because I don't buy most of what there are coupons out there for - we don't eat much cereal and I don't buy many frozen meals/canned veggies/soups/etc. However, I've found that the $1/week I'm spending for the newspaper is offset by the few coupons I do use for HBAs and other houseware products {paper towels, Tide, etc.}.

I've also started to shop at grocery stores for our weekly food needs. My favorite is Kroger - whenever I shop at the neighborhood Kroger {using the kid-sized cart for Valentino to push, of course!}, I end up spending less and getting higher-quality produce. PLUS, I get fuel rewards {$0.10 off for every $100 spent} and they have some sort of rewards program too. I stick to only buying what is on sale, and so far I've been pleased with the amount of groceries I walk out of there with for the money.

@Super Target - I love that place. It's very super.
See the heavenly sunbeams illuminating the store?

This month, I plan to only buy absolute necessities from Target and get the rest of our groceries from Kroger, using coupons and taking advantage of the rewards. I also plan on sticking to a meal plan for our dinners and my lunch, which brings me to...

Eating food at/from Home. I'm no cook, that is FOR SURE. I don't enjoy cooking at all, and we have three different palates in this house - I'm picky, but open to adding in "health" foods for the sake of health; Vic is pretty picky and usually won't sacrifice taste for health; and Valentino is a horribly picky eater {whom I've created, no doubt}. Valentino usually gets his own meal {#1 on my "I'll never do that when I have kids!!" list... ouch}, and I make the same ol' things for us. Since I'm the one who cooks dinner, if I'm not feeling up to it... we order/go out. We have pizza far too often since it's a sure bet for all three of us. Obviously, this is not good for our health or our budget.

I've meal planned in the past, and I've always felt so happy when I was able to stick to it - it's truly a time and money saver. Lately though, I've fallen way off that wagon {story of my life...} and for the sake of our budget and our waists, I need to jump back on. So this month I will be planning out our meals in an effort to be easier on our budget and clean up our food intake.

So those are my major focuses for our budget this month. I also plan on bringing in some extra money by selling some items on ebay and through craigslist. Every penny helps!

How about you - are you taking steps to save money for the holidays? What are your favorite tips for saving money?

I know, I know... I should've been on top of this months ago. Severe procrastination is my Achilles heel.

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