Monday, 2 January 2012

No (Low) Spend & Pantry Challenge for January!


Hello,

This month I've decided to join in on several challenges.  Go big or go home, right?

Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily is having a No (Low) Spend Challenge.

After last month's spending sprees, I thought it would be good to go back to the basics this month (and make it easier to pay off the credit card).

My financial goal this month is to have an Emergency Fund.  I've decided to start small... $500. ($125 per week).  It's not alot, but then again Rome wasn't built in a day.

I've looked at our income and expenses for the month and we have about $160 per week in variable expenses (or $320 until next pay).  This is what our envelopes are looking like for the 2 week period.
  • Groceries - $200
  • Gifts/entertainment - $40
  • Clothing - $40
  • Misc - $40
We have two family birthdays this month (my nephew and my hubby) so I'm hoping I can make the gifts/entertainment budget work.

The kids received alot of clothes as gifts for Christmas so they don't need any clothing right now.  Plus they also received several gift cards for Old Navy that they are saving to buy summer clothes.  I however, have left the Clothing amount at $40, because Sydney needs a new winter coat (the one she is wearing won't fit next year).  I'm saving up to buy a good one at the Western Fair North by Northwest Sale in early February. I probably will not need to buy her a new winter coat for several years so I don't mind spending the extra dollars now.

Here are some things that I  have budgeted for this month (these area already accounted for)
  • Gas money for hubby's car, and my car. (part of budget sheet) 
  • Spending money for hubby.  Many of his lunch meals are re-imbursed through his work, but I don't want him using the credit card or bank card and throwing my balances off. (part of budget sheet)
  • Both of our cars, need an oil-lube of and filter this month. (not in budget sheet, maybe I'll use misc $$)
  • We need to pay for Sydney's and Haley's Seikido lesson for January - June. - Saved in ING account
  • Make $50deposit for Sydney's Grade 8 graduation trip to Quebec City. (my parents have given her the money for deposit)
  • Register all three kids up for Soccer season. (I'm hoping I can hold off until next month, if not I'll use money I've saved in ING account specifically for this purpose)
  • Register all three kids for swiming lessons (I get giddy just thinking about warm weather - swimming lessons does that to me). (saved in ING account)
Ok, now on to the other challenge ---> the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats.


The key to success with this challenge is Menu Planning (something I have not been doing for awhile).

I took a gander at our pantry, fridge and freezer and it's looking good.  I should be able to stick to $100 for the week for a a family of 5 (and a cat) for the month of January.
(disclaimer: My parents were visiting from Portugal last week.  Last Friday, my mom wanted to tag along when I went grocery shopping.  My grocery bill came out to $93 and change.  When I went to pay the cashier the money that I had set aside in my envelopes for this week, my mom "pushed" me aside and said it was her "treat". So going into the New year I have a fridge full of food and an extra $100 in my food envelope. I love my mom! If I don't use the extra $100 to stock up on sales, I will move it into the Emergency Fund. yeah i know it's technically cheating, but that's what im doin anyways)

Here is what our Menu Plan looks like for the week of January 1st - 7th.  The kids are still home from school this week, so I'll be planning for leftovers for lunch or sandwiches (if they don't want leftovers). 

1. Sunday - Lunch: Chilli  & Dinner: Broccoli- Cheddar soup, salad
2. Monday - Roast Chicken, rice, salad
3. Tuesday - Sheppard's Pie
4. Wednesday - Pasta & Homemade sauce (from freezer)
5. Thursday - Leftovers Soup (whatever meat is in fridge and veggies in crisper)or grilled cheese sandwiches
6. Friday - Pizza
7. Saturday - Cook's night off!  (probably leftovers from the week)

I'll be back on Saturday to let you know how we do for the week.  Wish me luck!

Are you doing any challenge this month to pay off the credit card save money?

I'm linking up here:

My 1/2 Dozen Daily
Good Cheap Eats
Organizing Junkie MPM