Budget: Price Comparing

Have you ever gone price shopping? I hadn’t until today.

On Friday, Mr. Wonderful got paid (wahoo!) and our fridge was E.M.P.T.Y. I had to go to Wal-Mart for something specific. (Digression: I really hate shopping at Wal-Mart. But I live in a fairly rural community and sometimes without ordering online, my only choice is to shop at Wal-Mart. I try to not support this chain, and try very hard to shop elsewhere.) I figured, since I was at this one store, I would do some basic grocery shopping, so I wouldn’t have to take Mr. Z in and out of the car more than was needed.

I went to get just a few basics, and thought I had done a decent job on cost. After Mr. Wonderful got home, I told him that I did some grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. He looked at me, and shocked says, “What! We can’t be that poor. Please tell me Winco is cheaper?”

Well, I didn’t know. So today, while I was in the next town, and since I needed to pick up some more groceries, thought, why not see where was really the cheapest place to shop.


Grocery Item Wal-Mart Winco
Lunch Meat (Great Value 9oz) $2.98 ($0.3/oz) (Foster Farms 8oz) $1.98 ($0.24/oz)–taxed +0.12
Aidell’s Apple Chicken Sausages $5.44 $4.98–taxed +0.30
Bars original hot dogs $0.98 $0.98–taxed +0.06
Chicken Tenders (Foster Farms) $5.52/# ($0.35/oz) (Just Bare) $5.38/14oz (0.38/oz)–taxed +0.32
Ground Beef 93/7 SALE $4.78/# $4.98/#–taxed +0.30/#
#5 Red Potatoes $2.47 $1.98
Spinach $2.88 (16oz) (0.18/oz) $1.98 (10oz) (0.198/oz)
Green Leaf Lettuce $1.88 $1.78
Bananas $0.52/# $0.48/#
Green Grapes $1.48/# $1.38/#
Carrots 2# bag $1.32 $0.98
Hot dog buns (Great Value) $1.28 (Winco) $0.98–taxed +0.06
Sub-Total (assuming 1# of /# items) $31.53 $27.29
Tax (Only applicable to Winco) $1.70
Total $31.53 $28.99
Difference $2.54 less

Is it worth it for me to go to the next town over to grocery shop to save about 2 and a half dollars?

That’s a personal question. I know people who, would tell you that gas alone makes it not worth it. But for me, who would like to not shop at Wal-Mart, and because I already go to the next town for other things, it is practical for me to shop and save that $2.54.

*Idaho Food Tax* I live in Washington state, there is no tax on food (junk food and soda is, I think). The next town is in Idaho, where they have a 6% tax on food, which does not apply to produce (banana, carrots, oranges, raw vegetables, frozen vegetables are taxed.) This is something that I have always wondered if it made a difference in our budget. If you are an Idaho resident, there is a grocery tax credit. For more information on Idaho’s grocery credit look HERE.

Budgeting, 3 months later.

Well, it has been 3 months since we decided we really need to start budgeting, and really controlling our money. 3 months of budget meetings, saving receipts, checking the bank statements and writing down everything.

In the last 3 months we have learned:
-we really have no money
-food is ridiculously expensive
-medical expenses kill your savings
-we are poor
-having “fun” money, will save your sanity
-budgeting to splurge, makes the splurge more fun
-living at the poverty line is no fun

Budgeting is really hard. Especially when, you take your paycheck and put it to every bill and then there isn’t even enough for groceries.

Our end of the month budget meeting for October and the beginning of November, really had us questioning, is this working? November is month 4 we should be seeing improvements, or at least that’s what all the gurus say. This month we had to dip into the student loans we took out in August. The loans we were really hoping we wouldn’t touch and could say we don’t want more. The loans that we had to use to buy groceries this week.

This has got us thinking, what else can we do to cut expenses? Go down to one phone? Have me go and get a night shift job? Should we apply for some government assistance? What can we sell?

This Sunday was our Church’s Fast Sunday. We decided to fast together as a couple about what to do.

This is what we know we need to do:

  1. Get our savings back up as fast as possible to at least $1500.
  2. Payoff and close that last credit card.

We could just completely drain our savings and pay of the credit card. Be done and able to stop having one more payment due off of our first paycheck every month.

But what if anything happens? What if we have a major car repair? What if someone has to go to the hospital? What if?

Praying for an extra $500 to just appear, is impractical.

Does budgeting get easier with more money?


Budget: Software

Our first month of budgeting is done, and man it was bad.


In one word… yup, we had already spent our entire budgeted total and have gone over by the middle of the month.

We took this month as more of a how much do we really spend, so that we can figure this budgeting thing out. Check out this post about what we, or at least I learned while budgeting in August.

It was very eye opening.

We started the month using Everydollar. About halfway through we do not like the EveryDollar budgeting tool from Dave Ramsey. Our income is so inconsistent, and we feel like he teaches more towards a salary based income.

So we went looking, and tried a couple different budgeting tools out there and we have come to love the newest version of YNAB. Now, we have used YNAB before, the original version, what an upgrade!

The sleek new budget.
The sleek new budget.


First off it is so much more visually appealing, and it also, isn’t an excel file, it is its own freaking program now.

Statistical Reports!
Statistical Reports!

I really like the statistical reports you can print from YNAB. They have a bunch of free webinars about their software. I have only taken one so far and you can also sign up for their emails and they send out a bunch of short email lessons.

Their philosophy in very much in line with Dave’s, but we feel like it is a little more reasonable and forgiving. Like their overall goal is to get you out the the paycheck to paycheck cycle. Which is where we are. We know we need to get out of debt, but when you aren’t sure if you can have enough for groceries and rent, you have a bigger problem.

Check them out. I will say this, you have to buy YNAB to use the budget past the 32 day free trail (If someone knows why 32 days, let me know!) It is $60. One time though! and you have software rights for life! Dave’s software, you can get it linked to your bank for $99 a year…

And YNAB is not linked to your bank, which for those of us worried about the internet stealing your life, this is nice.


Budget: August, a Review


Well, August has come to a close, we stuck to budgeting.

We did not stick to our agreed upon budget.

Life happens, and I was shocked when come the middle of the month, and our budget was no longer fitting.

Dave Ramsey’s budget tools were not working for us and so we switched to YNAB, click here for a short review of why we like YNAB better.

I wanted to give a summary of what we learned in our first month of budgeting.

  1. Gazelle Intensity is not for us.
    1. while we REALLY want to get out of debt, we are not ready to give up the few extras we have.
  2. Saying “NO!” is really really really hard.
    1. Saying it to your two year old at the grocery store, “No, I am sorry you can’t have crackers, we can’t afford them this week.” Made me want to cry, and I felt like the meanest mother in the ENTIRE world.
  3. Pray before a Budget Meeting
    1. Dave closes his radio show saying something like, “You can’t reach financial peace without walking daily with the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.”
    2. Praying together, just made our budget meeting go smoothly, we will be doing this always before our bi-weekly budget meeting.
  4. Have a budget meeting at every pack check
    1. We started just me figuring it out and Mr. Wonderful looking it over and approving it. It worked, but having a meeting, where WE BOTH sat down to hash out what went where made it easier to say NO!, later.
    2. Mr. Wonderful gets paid every other week, so we hold bi-week sit down budget meetings. Any other income, if under $1,000 we just have a quick verbal confirmation on where it goes.
  5. Share!
    1. I want to tell everyone, we are being weird and trying this budgeting thing. Hey, this crazy thing is happening while we do it, I like my husband more!
  6. Increase Intimacy
    1. And no I am not talking sex
    2. I am talking about mental intimacy.
      1. I am an analytical thinker and so is Mr. Wonderful, so talking numbers and trying to find extra money has brought us closer. I like it.
  7. Make Mistakes and have fun.
    1. We did not give each other any spending money in August, MISTAKE. It just made it miserable. This month we have decided fun money needs to be included.

After this first month, and looking at where all the money went we have decided some budget line items that need to be tightened. Number one on our list to get reduced is how much we spend on food.


We spent almost $600 just on food. Not just groceries. On groceries we spent over $400, on eating out including dates we spent over $150. This does not need to be this outrageous. Our goal for September spent half of this!

It wont be easy, and telling Mr. Z that our grocery shopping lunch dates of Mac ‘N Cheese from the co-op deli are over is going to result in some serious tears. Hopefully, he will understand.

Whole: Budgeting with Dave Ramsey


This blog isn’t all about me losing weight, it is about better my whole self. Budgeting is one thing, we really want to reign in.

One thing my husband and I have been horrible at our whole marriage is budgeting. So far it hasn’t caused any issues, but we know we can not continue to just fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to a budget.

Now we, have tried, and never stuck to it. Mainly because I can’t seem to find the perfect budget software/notebook/system.

For years we have had Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover sitting on our shelf. A few months ago, I picked it up, read it, and said lets do this! We crashed and burned, but this month we picked ourselves up and started again.

We set up a budget on Everydollar.com, and I have talked to a few friends that I know budget and are a little eccentric about their budgeting. And all of them used Dave Ramsey’s philosophies, maybe not perfectly, but they started out following them.

Another thing they all said is that they listened to his daily radio show.

At first thought that was really crazy. But then, I thought, why not. Maybe that daily reminder to follow the rule, would be helpful.

So, I dusted off my iPod (I am pretty sure, I haven’t used it in a few years…), and downloaded and subscribed to his podcasts.

Mr. Wonderful listens when we are in the car, and I listen, when Mr. Z is either asleep, or not being a typical toddler.

While, we might not agree with everything he says, we are getting our life and money under our control.