Monday, March 11, 2013

Living on a Budget

The King and I recently joined one of those warehouse shopping clubs where you can buy a box with 20 lbs of cereal or if you need some paper plates, you can grab a package with 800. In all seriousness though, joining one of these clubs can definitely save you money but it does take a little extra effort and a little extra planning too. This inspired me to write a blog about saving money.
When the King and I decided to run our Junk King franchise full time together, money became kind of tight - while we're on the subject - let's clarify the fact that most small business owners are not super wealthy (especially at the beginning!).

Anyways, I started to look for ways to save money that wouldn't radically change the way we were used to living. Here's a few ways that we've learned to conserve our money and get the most out of what we have:

1. TV/Movies - We have 2 little princesses and in a perfect world, they wouldn't watch any TV and in a semi-perfect world, they would be limited to watching 2 hrs a day (or whatever the recommendation is), but let's talk realistically here. The princesses watch TV (especially when I'm trying to make dinner or get something done!). The King and I also watch TV and have a few shows that we follow and enjoy watching. We dropped cable a couple years ago and never looked back.
Now we use Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime to watch our shows and movies. Sure, you have to wait a day and watch the show the next night but really, who cares? We still enjoy it and mostly commercial free (a plus for the kids shows - one of the princesses pointed out "Lysol" to me in the store this week - undoubtedly she saw a commercial for it, they really soak that stuff up!).
A side note: This works for us because we don't really watch sports - that's the only thing I haven't come up with a non-cable solution for - any sports lovers out there figure something out yet? Anyways, for under $20/month, we have a huge selection of movies and shows to watch and it's a major money saver!

2. Food - This is kind of a two-fold topic because for me it was about balancing eating healthy with not spending a lot of money. I found that I was going to the supermarket weekly not really knowing what I was going to cook each week and then just trying to grab what I thought we might need. In doing this, I ended up with a big grocery bill every week and a bunch of duplicate stuff because I just wasn't taking the time to plan.
The first thing I did was write out a list of all the meals my family enjoys so I could pick from it each week to decide what we'd be having for dinner. Then I started to look through my pantry and refrigerator to see what I had from previous shopping trips that I could use to make the meals on my list. What a difference it made!
As I mentioned above, shopping in bulk can really save you money, but you have to plan and you have to have self control. One of the things I buy in bulk is meat because I can freeze it and use as needed. Case in point - ground turkey:
 
Took these 2 packages of ground turkey
 

and turned it into turkey for 5 meals for our family

Last words: I know buying in bulk, freezing, and all that isn't anything new but it does take a little extra work. In the convenience world we live in, it's easy to do things a certain way even if it's more expensive but really, it took me 10 minutes to split that turkey up and I definitely saved money!
Til next time!

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