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March 05, 2009

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I too hear people tell me they can't save money.... I teach Financial Peace Univ. and it usually comes up in the 2nd or third week. I like to remind them of the illustration that Dave uses.. if your child was sick and you had to come up with $5000 in 6 months for the only medication that would cure your child, could you do it? It has to be that kind of intensity and desire to save. Making it a top priority to cut back the little things to achieve the goal.

An amazing story. I have a family of 6, and spend $225 a week, and that is after cutting back. I do have diapers for two children and other items I am not willing to remove from the budget yet (cloth diapers are not for me), but this at least gives me a goal to strive for.

This blog has given me a LOT of food for thought over the years. One of those being the question, what is my threshold for saving money. I seriously sat down and thought about my comfort level and what I would and would not be willing to give up. I budget based on that and it has really helped me save money. It hasn't been a boat load of money, but it has been significant enough for me to accelerate the payments on both of my cars (paying one of them off 10 months early). The story above is beyond my threshold, but I commend them for doing that.

Here's another one w/an annual budget of $800 per year for four people + two dogs. She pretty much has it down to a science!

http://jane4girls800dollarannualbudget.blogspot.com/

We've been tracking this. But we've made a decision not to really cut here. One of my wife's great joys is having people over on Friday night. Its super important to her and we've made a conscious decision to continue that.

I think there are some hidden cost to be considered. They are spending something in fuel expenses to make all the sales, deals, special offers, etc. Also, what are they giving up in earning potential to have the time to spend on this? Could they make more than they save in a part time job or other money making venture? Where are their children while they work on this and go from store to store? These are all costs which have to be considered as part of the larger equation.

While I applaud families who figure out how to make this sort of thing work for them, especially when they are forced to due to budget constraints, I often feel like health takes a back seat to price/savings. So often the food items that people are getting for free with the CVS game or able to stockpile with coupons are packaged items full of sugar and preservatives and ingredients that I would never feed myself or my family.

I couldn't get the link to work for their blog, so I don't know what kinds of foods they are eating, but I would definately be interested to see if they are sacrificing health for savings.

I agree with MB. It's commendable to save money on food, however one should not jeopardize health or quality of food via foods purchased with coupons (which are often pre-packaged low quality items). I would argue that it's actually ok to spend a bit more on food to secure fresh fruits and vegetables, good quality meats, organic grains, etc. because in the long run you will feel and look better .

There's no joy in living like a miser, but there is satisfaction in learning what to be frugal about and what to spend a little more on.

Best,
Scordo

I saw this story run on our local channel 8. It was an intriguing story! The mom had an accompanying blog that must have gotten to many "hits" and was shut down. So I didnt get to read about her methods! Anyway, great post! We are a family of three with three dogs. We spend on average a $100 a week between food and toilitries--our son still uses diapers,etc.So we spend $5200 a year! We eat at home and very rarely eat out! I think we should be able to cut our spending down more based on articles like these. However, with coupons I often run into the problem of not finding "real food" or the kind of food we need. Check out my new blog! Ryansdad

I absolutely agree that "real food" is likely to be an issue here. Yes, if it's "save $5000 in six months or die," it might be worth it to live for that period on peanut butter sandwiches and pasta with tomato sauce that is mostly HFCS, but in doing so long-term you are jeopardizing your health. (And, as a separate issue, your weight. Speaking realistically, for most people, it is a lot easier to get yourself to stick to a plan of cooking healthily at home, taking in leftovers for lunch, avoiding random gratuitous high-calorie snacking, etc., when you are using high-quality ingredients in your cooking. Obviously there is high-priced food that is all hype, but in my experience, the better-quality produce and proteins taste better and are more satisfying.)

I understand that there are folks who have no choice in the matter, but I wouldn't set out to emulate them.

The links to the blog take me to a page that shows the blog has been removed. Any one else get that? I could still get to the story from the first link.

Pat --

I'm getting that too. Tried to find an alternative blog site, but there's nothing. Wonder what happened...

If we use $1200 per year for four people, it becomes $100 per month for four, or $25 per month for one. This is less than one dollar per day (about 83 cents). One would have to be dedicated to extracting the best value from that dollar. I think I would look for some way to earn a few more dollars, since finding ways to stretch one dollar to cover a full day’s calories is work that produces a very small hourly return. If you worked one hour at minimum wage – over $7 where I live – you would certainly clear $5, which would make the day’s victuals less labor-intensive to acquire.

By the way, a local convenience store offers eggs at 98 cents per dozen. If you had a way to cook them free, you could eat 10 eggs for 83 cents. I think that would be adequate nutrition. They also have bananas and potatoes for 39 cents a pound. You could have two pounds of bananas for your 83 cents – disregarding the loss in inedible skins. Or you could have a pound of potatoes mingled with five eggs. Make it exotic (and give it a double meaning!) by naming it in Spanish as "papas con huevos".

My assumption in all of this is that everything is paid for. If we assume differently, some condiments might be acquired free from fast-food places. Likewise, cooking for free is possible but seems outside the spirit of this exercise. Those potatoes and eggs need to be boiled, at least. You can usually scrounge firewood enough to boil a pot, and it’s not too hard to steal electricity. Living off the land might be great sport so long as you didn’t get arrested.

well another way i found to save money is buying reusable/ washable menstral pads. i know it sounds gross but its just about the same as real pads but they save me loads of money by reusing and they are really comfortable.

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