Welcome back for our Week 2 check-in on our Financial Peace Journey. Click here if you want to get caught up on week 1.
Financial Peace University is a weekly course that takes place over the course of 9 weeks; if you're interested in checking it out, you can go to his website www.DaveRamsey.com and search for nearby classes. We're taking ours through our church.
So the homework from Week 2 included holding our first budget committee meeting to discuss our initial budget and make some changes. The goal was to keep the meeting shorter than 17 minutes, and we both had to participate.
This went much more smoothly than I had expected. Our biggest changes were to reduce the grocery and entertainment categories so that we could add lines for clothing and jujitsu event savings. Before the meeting, we had discussed clothing coming out of our "pocket money."
This week's homework, we'll be writing out a zero-based budget, basically means we allocate a place for every dollar to go, and start using cash envelopes for some expense categories.
In anticipation of this, I tried to make sure our grocery shopping for this week was in line with our allowed amount of $75/week (or $300/month) since groceries and eating out are two expense categories where we know we can cut back.
- If you've read my meal planning post, you know that I have been shopping sales at Publix for a long time and pairing with coupons. You can see from the receipts that through sales+coupons, we spent $16.70 than full price; the total was $42.54.
- This week, I decided that I would see which of my non-sale grocery list items might be on sale at Bi-Lo. Bi-Lo is literally on the way to Publix so it super convenient to stop there first. Every item I purchased there was on sale AND cheaper than I would have purchased it for at Publix; I didn't have any coupons this week. Through sale prices, we spent $16.07 than full price; the total spent was $20.27.
- We have one more grocery expense coming this week; since I will be out of town, I'm paying for produce from the veggie service we work. Usually, that's part of our "pay" for working, and since I'm on the team, the owners give us a discount when we purchase extras. The expected expense is $11.50.
Total for the week: $74.31
One more thing on the note of groceries: I scan all the applicable items using the Ibotta grocery app to earn small cash back rebates. Some weeks that earns me $.20; other weeks I earn several dollars. These amounts add up over time. Ultimately, I can cash in for paypal cash or gift cards. The key to really earning with Ibotta is for a team to work together to unlock additional bonuses, so please feel free to join me; my referral code is wrcjxlq.
Other tasks, we're aiming to accomplish this week:
- Open a joint checking account; we've maintained separate accounts up to this point in our marriage. These won't go away, but we've decided we now need a household account to handle mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc.
- Stop all monthly bank drafts in separate accounts so they can be moved to the new household account.
- Decide which categories we'll switching to cash and set up the envelopes.
- Begin evaluating where we can save in other areas of our budget.
Do you have regular budget meetings in your household? What are two categories in your budget that you know you could save in?