Our Frugal August Challenge just wrapped up. For the month of August we pledged to ban eating out, reduce our grocery spending, and cook every meal at home. Let me tell you, it was way easier than we expected! We thought this challenge would be difficult, and we feared losing steam halfway through the month. But we ate tasty meals, hosted friends and family, and saved tons of money without feeling deprived or bored. If you don’t believe us, take a look at our spending breakdown for the past 90 days.
We knew we had saved money, but we didn’t expect saving this much money! That’s hundreds of dollars saved! It goes to show how easy it can be to overspend without realizing it. The changes we made didn’t feel too significant, but they made a huge difference.
We are almost done with our Frugal August Challenge! Hard to believe the month is almost over. We learned some great lessons through this experience – the biggest one being the magic of meal planning. It’s so simple, but it saved our butts throughout the month. Who knew planning ahead could make such a difference?
Do you know how many money-sucking weak spots are lurking in your budget? We didn’t until recently. We thought we had a handle on our monthly spending. We don’t spend outside our means or rack up credit card debt. Generally we know where our money is going and try to stick to a budget. But there are areas where we could make drastic cuts – by as much as $500 per month! That’s why we are declaring a Frugal August Challenge.
Last year Mr. Rustic Walks and I decided to make healthier meals by using quality, local foods. We weren’t happy with our diets, and we thought shopping at farmers markets and Whole Foods would force us to buy healthy food. It made us get creative in the kitchen and work together to plan dishes that are both tasty and healthy. We have significantly improved the nutritional value of our meals by choosing quality over convenience.
You all can guess how this experiment ended. Sure, we aren’t living off of prepared taco kits and frozen pizzas. But we are spending hundreds of dollars on meat and produce that is way cheaper at our local grocery store. Our mindset was that higher cost meant better quality. Unfortunately, the $7 loaf of bread, $6 carton of eggs, and $10 pound of ground beef at the farmers market costs much more than the grocery store alternatives. It may seem silly, but we had no idea our pursuit of healthy food would blow up our grocery budget. We needed to re-calibrate the true value of these extra costs.