These days in our Southern California hometown:
Milk costs $3.89 per gallon and our family of four goes through about 2.5 gallons per week.
Cereal costs $4 per box. I don’t spend this much; I purchase it for $2.50 on sale. Still, if we run out and the sale is not on, the pocketbook could take a $4 hit. We go through 2 boxes per week between dad and kids.
Gas to fill our car can run about $75. People who splurged on the larger SUVs might be spending $100 and up per fill-up. We currently fill our car twice per month. Believe me, this mom isn’t doing much driving these days.
As prices go up and up, the fear of a layoff increases as well. Starbucks is cutting 600 stores. Unemployment rate for our county in May was 4.8%, which is high for this area. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for the U.S. held at 5.5%, with 8.5 million people out of work.
So with all of this bad news, the Today show took a look at a couple to see what would happen if their budget were cut in half. Now let me say this: The couple featured spent a lot of money on extras that we don’t spend. For instance, daily Starbucks, going out to eat a lot, weekly manicures and pedicures and weekly car washings at $25 per pop. So they did have a lot of extra splurges that we don’t have, which gives them an easy target for cutting back (and they did cut back nearly 80%!) Of course, they were putting out $600 plus each week on these things! (Won’t tell you how much that amount turns my stomach lol!)
I try to imagine cutting our weekly budget in half in our home and just can’t. Right now, we are on a tight budget. We have X number of dollars allocated each month for our grocery budget and I do not go over this amount.
We have one credit card that we spend an additional X number of dollars on each month. The amount is not a lot, let’s say. This card gets paid at the end of the month. Purchases on this card would include extras like doctor visits, diapers, and wipes. This money goes quite quickly.
We spend a set amount each month on the girls’ college funds, on gas and on spending money.
So in terms of cutting our budget in half, could we do it?
You know I’m a budget freak, but I still have a difficult time imagining this.
However, it does make me wonder just how much less I could spend on groceries each month in order to bring our total bill down.
I already use coupons and shop sales. I purchase our fruits, veggies and meats at a local farmer’s market because it is all fresh, most of it is all natural, and it is actually cheaper than going to the regular grocery store.