By Marla Bautista
I am a mom of three wonderful children, who are growing at an uncontrollable rate! Maintaining a budget, especially a food budget, is nothing short of a miracle.
In this article, I am going to give you some tricks and tips to make your money stretch to infinity and beyond…okay not really, but at least until the next pay period. I use a few different apps to help me find the best deals on products, I like Flipp (Store ads all in one place). I also follow Dave Ramsey on Facebook because his tips on saving money and living well are a part of what has helped my family stay financially secure when our financial situation changes.
Paying bills is one of my favorite things to do. I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I am a step closer to being debt free. We only use our credit cards in case of emergency or for large purchases that we may not have immediate cash for (i.e. car repairs etc.). We pay off the debt as fast as we can by taking the bill with the smallest balance paying as much as our budget allows, then making minimum payments on the rest of the bills. As one item is paid off, continue the pattern until there is nothing left except reoccurring bills like cell phone, cable, etc.
Our food budget is a more difficult one to manage. Our children not only have growth spurts, but also bouts of pickiness when they’d stop eating something they’ve eaten for months. Meal prep is my newest obsession. I prep breakfast and lunch, it saves a ton of money. I don’t put a lot of money towards meat products and bottled liquids, which was a high portion of our grocery bill in the past. I used to buy steaks or other meats that I would need one piece per person, now I buy steak for kabobs and make stews, tacos or stir fry. If I do make a meal where the meat will be a separate portion, I’ll do baked chicken or steak with smoked sausage, it’s enough meat for everyone and the price is low. For after school snacks, I like to make a random cereal mix or variety snack bag. This is very easy and cheap to make and once individually portioned, can last a week or two.
My family moves a lot so our home furnishings may need to be transported at any given time, this can be both good and bad. Having good sturdy furniture is costly, but it may last a long time. Having lighter, cheaper furniture may not last long, but chances are the movers will damage it anyway. I have a priority list for furniture and home goods purchases. Electronics are bought only on Black Friday sales because they are likely to be over 50% cheaper than buying them any other time of year. I buy nice durable mattresses and leak proof mattress covers for all beds, I wouldn’t recommend getting cheap mattress because it may not last as long. If you should purchase a new one, the cost of the mattress and possible delivery could cost more than you would pay if you’d just bought the good mattress the first time around. Home décor is not an important budget issue, in my opinion. I find décor at yard sales, repurpose items and go to the craft stores for after holiday sales. I put décor in my house little by little and at cost that won’t affect my family’s budget.
Well, I must get back to my reality. The kids are quite rambunctious today. Thank you for taking the time to read this article!
Also read: 8 Tax Breaks Parents Must Know About