Grocery Challenge - August

This month it seems like we've struggled for every penny saved. Could it be that the cost of living has gone up even more than the last few months? It's always my goal to do better than the last month, and this month looks as if it's been a success, until you factor in the gift card my wonderful mother sent me when she read my "eating out of the dumpster" post (I thought I made it clear that was an experiment, but maybe she didn't get that).

We've also recently discovered the Salvation Army thrift store, and their 50% Off Wednesdays. This has been very helpful in getting Andrew ready for school (next week!). Last year I was left reeling in sticker-shock, he went from a 3T to a 5T in one year...and since he was "too good" for used clothes, it cost us a bundle! This year, outside of an investment in an LL Bean bookbag (lifetime guarantee, woo-hoo!) and two pairs of new sneakers, we really didn't spend very much on back-to-school shopping.

Side note: the boys' trip to PA...I don't think I ever realized how much it cost to take a road trip. Almost $150 in gas, $24 in Turnpike tolls, and about $10 in treats for Andrew (I packed them a HUGE lunch to see them through round-trip, but that got factored into the grocery budget). I'm glad they got their vacation out of their system, it'll be awhile before we can afford to do that again.

Also new this month is the "cash or credit" category. I was curious just how much we count on our credit card for day-to-day life. I'm pleased with the answer to that question. Aside of the new sneakers and the backpack, and some pay-at-the-pump gas, we really didn't put much on plastic. We could easily go without plastic, and that's the first step to digging ourselves out of the quagmire. Score one for the home team!

Anyway, let's get down to the numbers:

Grocery-Food: $255.34
Grocery-Nonfood: $10.62
Health: $79.76
Misc: $275.83
Restaurant: $55.22
Gas: $275.00

Trimming techniques for September?

It's going to get tough next month. Andrew has some extracurricular activities coming due - he starts dance classes, and visiting Thomas the Tank Engine, and starting AWANAS. In order to pay for this, we need to seriously conserve in other areas.

And, again, we need to limit the amount of times we expose ourselves to "opportunities to spend". We spent money 43 different times this past month. Granted, some of it was getting gas & incidentals on the trips (8 different stops), so this shouldn't be difficult to correct for September.

One last note for the month of September - Andrew will start "working" for his allowance. More on that in a future post. I will be counting paying Andrew as an expense, rather than counting what he chooses to spend his money on.

So that's it, guys. August in a nutshell. Was it a success? Was it a flop? Both, and neither. Chalk it up to another learning experience.

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