Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The History of Our Frugality

I was feeling all nostalgic today and decided to re-post my very first blog entry to The Grocery Cart Challenge. This blog was started in December 2007 and the story below will explain why in the WORLD we decided to do this. Since then my parameters have been slightly juggled and adjusted but this is the beginning....where were three (wow, three?) years ago. Let this be an encouragement that it CAN be done. Our income has increased a smidge since then, and I'm not being humble....seriously it has increased just a bit, and we're still plugging away. So, if you're just starting on this journey, whether out of choice or necessity, and the fear sometimes gets the best of you, breathe deep and keep trying.


A few years ago my husband and I decided that it would be best for our marriage and our family to leave our six-figure, high-pressure career behind to start our own business. So, we saved up enough to get us through the first 18 months without a paycheck and we were sure that’s all it would take until we could support ourselves.

Excuse me while I chuckle and snort.

Since that time we've gone through some dramatic and intense changes in our way of thinking, in our marriage and family, in our thoughts and desires, in our relationship with God and ESPECIALLY in our finances.

I really thought I had been doing my best by having a grocery budget of $800 dollars a month. I was spending roughly $200 a week for the six of us to eat, keep our clothes clean, our bottoms wiped, our bodies groomed, my house scoured and fresh, entertaining friends and family, and periodically giving meals as gifts to new moms.

But necessity is the mother of invention, and our new life choices were necessitating a change in our shopping. What started as a drastic life change, soon became a thrilling beat-the-system challenge to feed our family for less. So, we instituted what seemed to be the most ridiculous grocery budget imaginable to make it through until our business could support us better….

For our family of six we were going to attempt to spend $60 a week on groceries.

I know, you’re first thought is NO-WAY! But darn it, when I set my mind to something I don’t accept failure easily. We were going to attempt to slash our grocery budget by way more than half and I knew some sacrifices were going to need to be made.

So here were our parameters:

  • Our new budget would cover food, toiletries, household cleaning supplies, entertaining and food gifts.
  • My goal dollar figure for each week would be $60.
  • We were going to have to re-evaluate what we thought were “needs”.
  • We were going to have to be creative.

When people started hearing what we were doing they wanted to know how we did it. Thus, this blog was born. It's been a steep learning curve to re-evaluate our wants from our needs but I can honestly say our life is so much simpler due to the changes we've made.


Kathleen Jaeger said...

I enjoyed reading about your history of frugality and would love to read more about the "early days" or even to have access to the early archives of your blog. And see some more of those beginnings and those transitions that you needed to make in order to make your frugality seem so easy. I have been doing better by reading your blog (down on avg. $30/week). But I am still a ways for everything to be at $60 for my family of 6, too. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep it up!!

gail said...

great idea to revisit where you were just 3 years ago. i was wondering if you have seen prices go up in the last 3 years? i know i have. how have you been able to stretch your budget even further? (cause in reality your 60 dollars doesn't go as far as it did 3 years ago). just wondering ...

Gayle said...

Well, I've noticed that prices have fluctuated up and down, they haven't just stayed up. Of course, I'm also not buying much processed stuff which fluctuates drastically all the time. I've also excluded paper products and toiletries from my budget. They have a budget of their own. The only times they get included is if I'm way under for the food portion and I can squeak them in that way.

Beth said...

I've read your history before, and am still so inspired by you!

Anonymous said...

I don't post comments often but I have been following for a while :)
and I had read your story already. Very encouraging.. We are currently spending waaaaaaaay more than needed for just 2 of us (+ breastfed baby) and I'd love to read more about your decision. How did you realize your consumer habits were not right for your family? Has the challenge changed you and your relationship with your husband for the better?

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I love baked oatmeal! So many ways to prepare it and it always is great comfort food! Thanks!

Maddy said...

I enjoy your blog and have gotten many great tips from it. Thanks for taking the time to have a blog!