I have followed your blog for about a year and I think you are amazing!!
What about buying proteins for low/no carb diets? Any good ideas for where to buy cheap but good quality meats?
I've never tried the low/no carb diets so I'm not even sure how that works. But I do keep an eye out for cheap proteins for my family. Remember, proteins aren't just meat. Proteins can be beans, meats, dairy, nuts and seeds. When I'm shopping for meat-protein, I find out from the store when they mark their meat down. One of my local stores has $1 and $2 off on meats every Monday. Another local store marks amazing cuts of meat down around 5pm, when people are getting off work and trying to find something quick to fix for dinner. Ask your meat department if AND when they mark down their meats. I usually buy what I can afford and stick it in my freezer.
How often do you entertain and for how many guests?
This varies a lot. We have time where it's every week that we have guests and then other times it's about once a month. We attend lots of potlucks and I'm part of a ministry that takes meals to new mothers or people recuperating from surgery so food for others is always happening around here. Usually when we have guests it's 4-6 extra people but I have hosted for 30 before.
What about brown bag lunches? And convenience foods?
Our life is so home-centered that we don't regularly need brown bag lunches since we homeschool and work from home. But, during soccer season, on those long Saturdays full of multiple games, we pack things like homemade burritos, sandwiches, fruit, veggies and dip, giant pickles....simple things. We don't buy much convenience foods because they are just a waste of money and really not good for you. But sometimes I can find mac & cheese 3/$1 or hot dogs 2/$1 and I'll grab them up for a treat. We're health conscious but not legalistic about it.
These seem to be where I blow my budget. I think I do pretty good but I know I can do better.
I have wondered what it is you and your husband do for a living and if you are one of the Dave Ramsey followers? I like Dave Ramsey, so I don't intend to offend if you are a follower.
Yesterday's post answered what my husband does for a living. We're pretty committed that I stay at home and raise the kids so we've been willing to sacrifice for that over the years. I do some freelance writing when I have the time and I get paid a bit for that. But we don't rely on anything that I bring in for paying living expenses. It's usually for something fun like a day at the beach or a meal at McDonald's.
We aren't Dave Ramsey followers although we believe he's pretty sound, has a great plan in place and we've read some of his material. I'd recommend his stuff. But I'm more of a Chris Bryant follower. That's my husband, who's a financial advisor. ; ) He's pretty smart about money matters and he's done a good job taking care of our finances. We do believe in being debt free and living within the limits of the income we make. If we can't pay cash for something, we just do without until we can.
I also wonder if this is a long term commitment you have or if there is an end date attached to this budget.
This wasn't planned and my long term commitment is to stay frugal. This crazy budget came around because we started our own business and knew that until it took off, we were going to have to be really creative. When we made our new self-employed budget, after paying the bills, we only had $60 left for groceries. So we bucked up and made it work. I'd be perfectly happy with an $80 or $100 budget per week for the six of us. I'd buy more meat.
I have to say KUDOs on your laundry soap, I made it and love it. Not to mention all the other recipes you have for make your own.
Thank you for your commitment to serving the public with great money saving ideas. We need more people like you.