It has been a little while since I have posted about budgeting and saving money. I think the last post I did on that topic was back in July of 2018 - to see that post CLICK HERE. Since then we have been able to work towards growing our “rainy day” fund and trying not to dip into savings for any regular expenses. We did have some car repairs in the last half of 2018 for my 2008 Subaru Outback, which was stressful, but that was the major unexpected bill in 2018. We also were anticipating the arrival of baby #2 and trying to make sure we had money saved for those hospital bills. Having a baby is definitely expensive, but thankfully we changed to Chas’ insurance and that helped to decrease the total amount of the bill that we are responsible for after the delivery. We wanted to make sure we were prepared for those anticipated bills.
We started using an budgeting app on our phones - YNAB which stands for You Need A Budget, which is the truth. We needed a better way for us to own the purchases we were making and then work towards some financial goals that we have for ourselves. This app has been fantastic for us! It does cost money for the year, but I know we have saved that money we spent on the app in this first month of using it alone. Both Chas and myself are stubborn and determined so when it comes to seeing those budgeted numbers and trying to stick to them has kind of become a sort of game/challenge.
One of the areas of our budget is grocery items. This excludes any type of household items (cleaning supplies, paper towels, dish soap, etc) and then excludes alcohol as well. We use YNAB for the whole month of April and sure enough we ended up running close to out of budgeted money for food. It was our goal over that last week to eat the food that we had in our pantry, refrigerator and freezer. I am not sure if you have tried to eat ALL the food items that you have tucked away, but it can be a challenge. I managed to find the ramen noodles that were hidden in the way back of the pantry. We ate all the bread, even the heels and then to finish off the week we had waffles for dinner and finished the frozen breakfast sausage that was in the freezer. We cleaned out the refrigerator produce items and had some fruit left, but ate all the veggies but one head of iceberg lettuce. I found a container of maple syrup from a family member that was tucked away as well and we used that instead of purchasing more maple syrup. If you haven’t cleared out your pantry, refrigerator or freezer in awhile I encourage you to give it a try. Work to pull out items that have gotten shoved to the back, check expiration dates, throw out things that have gone bad and eat up some of those food items that you have forgotten you even had.
I found some statistics from The Swag and I just had to share them: Did you know American’s throw out $165 billion of food per year? 40% of food in America is wasted each year. Each year, every American throws out $2,200 worth of food and that is about 300 lbs of food.
Using up the food that your currently have in your pantry is a great way to to economically stick with a budget and to ultimately be a food steward of the things you have. We have so much food waste in America that is it important we all work to decrease how much food we throw out and never eat. So when it comes to saving money and decreasing food waste … clear out your pantry and use up food you have forgotten about and try to eat those items before purchasing more food.