Monday, 30 September 2013

Why our groceries are hurting us....

I spoke Friday in the What You Missed post about how God is working in our lives with our finances. To be honest, this is something we have been praying a lot about. We don’t earn huge salaries and we have two boys to bring up.

It isn’t about having more each month though. Actually, that is the exact opposite of what we have been praying! We have been praying for guidance on how to eliminate our debt and live without it. We have been praying for a car. We have been praying on how to live on what we have!!

Rather than asking God to give us more money, we are asking for wisdom in how to better manage our money! It seems simple enough, but this is life changes we are making. It is about changing our mindsets. It is about changing our style of living. It is about TRUSTING GOD to provide for us!

This photo has nothing to do with this. But I hate a photoless post! They passed out before we even finished the 10 minute walk into town Saturday morning! Obviously, all my financial planning wore them out too!
Most of all it is about taking the reality check as to what is NEEDS! This has probably been the most difficult for us.

I want to take the time over a couple of posts to share with you how we are going about all of this. Especially when it comes to our groceries! Our shopping is the most fluctuant spending we have. My debt bill is set each month. We've cut our cable to the bare minimum cost and school fees/ Nanny costs are the same each month. So, where we have the most control is in the grocery store! 

I think that the way we are approaching cutting costs can be used anywhere...not just in South Africa. But let me tell you a little bit about why it was hurting us so much!

My main focus for October of this year is our groceries and how much we are spending. You see, peeps, we get paid monthly. The last Friday of each month we receive our salaries and must budget that money for the entire month! This has been a huge adjustment for me, as I spent my formative American years as a waitress with money in my pocket everyday!

When I consider what I’m going to buy at my monthly grocery trip, this includes all of our household needs (i.e. cleaning, toilet paper, lights, batteries, etc.), bath needs (i.e. shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) and kids needs (i.e. nappies, wipes, formula, baby food, bath toiletries, etc.) as well as our meat and groceries to get through the month.

There is something I need to make clear here. We don’t eat out. I AT ALL! Maybe, by chance, if finances are ok...we’ll grab a pizza one night a month for dinner right after payday. That is it! Otherwise...I cook! Yep, that is right people. I work 10 hours a day plus 1 hour travel and I cook 7 nights a week!

We do not stop at a cafe or drive-thru for coffee either. We drink our coffee from home before work in the mornings and then drink at work. (OK...our jobs do provide coffee and tea so we are thankful!) But no morning Starbucks runs (then again there isn’t a Starbucks here!)

And life is so busy...time schedules so skew...there is no meeting friends for lunch over at the McDonalds. If we want to get together with friends...the wives chat and we decide are we going to cook or braai or what....AT HOME!

And it isn’t just us. This is how our friends are too. Living costs are high in this country and we all must save. So this is how basically all of my friends live. I probably get together with friends at least once a week for dinner nights! And we’re happy! We enjoy this so much more than sitting in a restaurant!

I get tired. I get frustrated. Sometimes I come home from work and just want to hop into the bath with the kids. But I absolutely LOVE the look on Hubby and Lil Misters’ faces when they have really enjoyed a meal I’ve made! And LJ’s face too now that he is munching off our plates! ;-)

So, I do it. And I do it with a smile! We eat home cooked meals 7 nights a week and 6 days a week I make lunch for us as well (hopefully half the time it is leftovers!).

Please, forgive me then, when I show very little sympathy to families who say they are trying to save money by eliminating their eating out to 2 or 3 times a week! But they still get their coffees, snacks from the gas stations, etc.! If I, with two kids, and a full time job can do...then so can you!

I need to plan out enough items that I can cook 30 dinners and 25 lunches for the family as well as breakfast and snacks! This is a lot! Trust me! So, I’ve always headed to the store with basically the same list each month. It was a generalized list that would give me what I needed for basically any random meal.

This was working us out to roughly 80% of my salary! I’m am serious people. We were spending 80% of my monthly income at the grocery store! This is not including then that we would return during the weeks for fresh fruit, bread, etc. 

You can understand then, why, we needed to take a step back and readjust! Stop by Wednesday when I share with you the Four Steps that cut my grocery bill in half!

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Shana Danae..

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