Every Day

Update On Our Two Couples

I finally heard from our last couple who I am mentoring last night. So it is time for an update.

The Jones have done very well since we first talked a few months ago. They have cut their grocery bill by $50. a month by using their leftovers which they used to throw out. Mrs. Jones cut the bill down to just $ 30. this month by trying the grocery challenge. She is using up items that have been lingering on her pantry shelves. She has also been making a price book so that she knows the cheapest place to buy items. She and her Hubby have been eating healthy by keeping meals simple. That is a savings of $ 170. in just the past three months. She told me that they added that to the fund for her high risk pregnancy. 

She and Mr. Jones decided they will use cloth diapers. She has been able to get a few dozen by buying them at garage sales. She said she was very excited when she found a brand new package of 10 that someone had never used at one of them for $2.00. Her family is throwing her a baby shower where she hopes to get a start on stocking disposables. They are going to ask people to bring a box to enter into a raffle for a gift basket. She has registered her list of wanted baby items at a site she is using.  

They have not gone out to eat in 7 weeks. She said she is enjoying cooking at home. However Hubby is getting the bug to go. So they compromised. They are going to go out for dessert at a special place in town that they both love. She convinced him that it would be cheaper than spending a lot of money on dinner and they would enjoy it just as much. The leftover money from their budget will go to the pregnancy fund also. 

They cut their clothing budget by $25. a month. She borrowed maternity clothes from a friend. They are also looking at cutting their entertainment budget in the next month or two.

Hubby did some research on cutting their car insurance. But he found out that they already have the cheapest policy that they can get. He will look at it again next year. 

I am amazed at how well they have done over the past couple of months. It’s not easy to cut when you are used to spending a set amount of money. But they are doing well and I am cheering them on to continue. 

Bruce and Noreen are doing very well also. Noreen found a part time job -20 hours a week. She is making about $300. a week after taxes, Social Security and Medicare are taken out. She just started last week and got her first paycheck last Friday. She is going to be paying all of her paycheck toward debt. So that will be about $1350.+ a month. Congratulations to her for quickly finding a job.

Remember that their budget was $ 8539. more per year than they were bringing in in income.  Her yearly income of $16,200. more than makes up for this deficit.

But they also have been cutting expenses. I told them they needed to cut everything except the basics in order to get rid of this debt. They discussed it and decided to cut another $688. per month out of their budget. They have reduced their monthly costs by cutting groceries by $50. a month, no restaurant or takeout which was $150., clothing by $75. leaving just $25. to spend when their son needs something.
They also cut their entertainment and misc. by $200.,
their household by $50., no travel which gives them another $120., and their home phone which gives them $43. more for debt payment. They did not want to cut their Cable TV or internet because they both use the internet and the son likes to watch some shows on TV. I told them to look for a cheaper option to give their son a choice of shows like Netflix. They are working to reduce their utility bills.  I will be working on this with them this month. Their plan is to dump every penny extra they have next month on their debt.

I have been teaching them how to cut their food bills all month. Next month we will touch on a lot of subjects that will teach them how to lower their costs not just for now but how to be frugal in the long run so that they can spend their money on the things that are more important to them.

If you have a any comments or suggestions for any of the families for this next month on what they can do, please feel free to leave a comment. They read the comments every couple of days. I gave them a  Big Congratulations! They are starting to get the “frugality bug”!

13 replies on “Update On Our Two Couples”

It surely does sound like both are taking this seriously. The one thing I can see is the guy wanting to go out to eat. Maybe they could plan one meal out ever other month so he won't feel so put upon and like he is being deprived. . However, the dessert treat was a genius idea.

So, they are going to use disposables and cloth like I suggested? Do they have a clothes line, in or out. The months I do not use my dryer, I can tell a difference in my electric bill.

Congratulations to both couples and you.

I cut down on one grocery item by buying it from the farm. I pay $11 or $12 for a 40 lb. box of sweet potatoes. That makes sweet potatoes $0.28/lb. Check the grocery store to see what sweet potatoes are there. Of course, if there is no sweet potato farm or they hate sweet potatoes, that won't work. But, they can apply the principle to other foods.

Hi Liz, this is Chris. I am so excited that the couples are doing so well! This was a great update. Halloween is coming up in October and I hope they will find ways to have fun with it on a budget. For example, I got some of my candy already at a one day flash sale at Kroger, and put it up. Hopefully they are not tempted, and can get their candy on a good sale like this. And, our kids a lot of time got costume stuff at the thrift stores, I know a lot of them have a costume section this time of the year, so Noreen and Bruce should try there first for their son. It is not too early to look. They are working hard, and it looks like they are making good progress already. I am still pulling for them.

I am thrilled to hear these two couples are doing so well! And that Noreen found a job so quickly, gosh, that's wonderful…it's probably the first time they've taken a deep breath in months! You are so kind to lend your expertise.

I have a suggestion about how to save money. it also simplifies my life–purchase an Excalibur dehydrator, the nine rack model.

I buy bananas on sale, slice them and put them in a canning jar with the canning lid and ring. They are not like the freeze-dried in the store. But, the slices can be rehydrated and used to bake with.

Who can ever use a whole stalk of celery, wash, slice each rib 1/2 inch crosswise and dehydrate. This is invaluable when you need a bit of celery for flavor in a soup or whatever. The dehydrated carrot will no longer add crunch for tuna or potato salad.

When you find a great sale on onions, prepare them and dehydrate them. Later, the pieces or rings can be used in soups, meatloaf or whatever.

This might be an appliance they don't use every day. But, it is like a lawn mower or tiller for the garden, and canning equipment. The dehydrator does the job and saves time. In my opinion, it saves money because you can buy things on sale that will not last and assure it will last to eat later.

The dehydrator costs over $200, but that will be recouped easily. I know people can, but this item is much easier to use. The cheap round dehydrators are a waste of time. I know because I have had several.

Something I really want is a Food Saver. That way, I can pull a vacuum and be able to better preserve dehydrated food.

I am eating bananas I dehydrated three or four ago.

I use it to dehydrate cranberries, pineapple, okra, all sorts of things that come in abundance.

You would use it enough to pay for it. You can also make jerky in it. I would suggest the flexible mesh trays. They also gave me two of the fruit rollup trays. You need the flexible mesh trays so you can flex them to get sticky things like bananas off the mesh. But, if you want to make jerky, you need the stainless steel trays. Forget why. Plus, they sell a glass door so you can see. Why? Light is the enemy of vitamins, along with excessive heat and time. Go with the solid door. Plus, I live alone and the nine trays are not too much for my use. More than one type of vegetable can be dried at once. Same with vegetables.

When you get one of the Excalibur Dehydrators, you will want to get a machine for freeze drying. I want one of those, but they are around $3K. You can freeze dry ice cream sandwiches!!!

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