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January 24th, 2011
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Q&A: What is your budget?

I was just curious as to what your “budget” is for your shopping every month?? Do you only carry cash for your groceries (Like David Ramsey suggests)? -Danielle

Danielle, my budget is  pretty much $250 a month (family of 7) for all my groceries and toiletries (Homeland trips, Aldi trips, Sam’s etc… ). This is alot lower than what we use to spend prior to my frugal ways ($800-$1,000). We do do the cash plan like Dave Ramsey suggests for our groceries. We do not do the cash plan for several categories in our budget, but we do for groceries. My husband gets paid twice a month, so $125 goes in to the food envelope after each paycheck.

My goal is to spend $20 each week at Homeland so I always take $30 cash with me when I go shopping (just incase there are some extra great deals like on meat). I have had several people ask me about change… What do I do with the change? I put it in my purse or in my car. That is normally my blow money -AKA my quick 7-11 trips to treat me and the kids. That change can really ad up!

As for our monthly budget, I am normally under my budget, like last month we only spent $224. I just roll that extra money into the next month. I will still try to stay under my normal $250 budget but now I have another $76 in there. I like to have that extra cushion as my “emergency” grocery fund. That is the money that I will use if I hear that meat is on clearance at Crest or something crazy like that. Then I can go and stock up on the huge savings without it hurting my actual grocery budget.


After reading what Lisa said on Facebook, I wanted to make sure I clarify. I don’t have a $200 excess in grocery budget envelope. I never let more than about $50 to $75 extra in my envelope than our original budget. If we do have more then it goes into my savings. I just like having that little bit of “cushion” as my emergency fund -well, my grocery emergency fund. 🙂

I am not saying that you need to be a crazy frugal person, like myself, and have the same budget as our family in order to be successful with couponing. However, I do think that setting a budget, and using cash is key to really seeing your savings. To me… seeing your savings is what will keep you motivated to continue clipping those coupons! Thanks for your question, Danielle!

Do you have a question that you would like answered on Coupon Closet? Send your question here! Also, if you would like to see other Q&A posts, make sure you check them out here.



  • Angela -


    I’ve noticed that you mention ground turkey some. Do you find coupons for ground turkey and if so which ones? Thank you!

    • Carrie -

      If you send honeysuckle an e-mail they will probably send you coupons that you can use on ground turkey. AFter that, I mainly just stock up when it goes on sale at Crest.

  • Bryan -

    WOW! I’m impressed! We spend probably ~$200/week for a family of 4! I’d love to cut that back! $250/mo for 7! I’m floored.
    We just started couponing this past week, and saved quite a bit, far more than I could have imagined. My old thought was what’s a quarter off something gonna do for me. Well after finding the right coupons & sales, alot actually.
    Last week we saved $40 at Wal-Greens, with coupons & RR’s! Then went to Homeland, wow sticker shock compared to Crest/Walmart. But I only bought was was on sale & I had a coupon (double $) for. Then lastly went to Walmart for the rest, and still saved like $15.

    I think my biggest $ is milk, meat, and convience foods like frozen steam veggies & a few TV dinners (for work lunches).

    I’d be nice to even cut that in 1/2! I’m gonna continue to do my homework and try!


  • Mark -

    We don’t do cash for our grocery budget, instead we opened a separate checking account with a debit card that we use exclusively for our food/toiletry budget. This is easier for us as I can just transfer the money to the grocery account online when we get paid. The account is free and we earn points on the money we spend on the debit card. Last summer we got $300 in cash and a $100 Amazon card with the points we racked up (that was a couple years worth of points). We are already back up to $75 worth of points since the summer. The funny thing is I work at the bank and it still always seemed like a hassle to get the cash each paycheck.

    • Crystal -

      which bank do you use to get that great of a deal with free checking??? Thanks

  • Dani -

    Awesome! I think thats a great idea to take cash… Then I won’t be tempted to buy other things! Thank you!

  • Judith -

    I went to your class and was inspired to start couponing again. Since September 14, except for Thanksgiving week and one Christmas party, I have spent $50.00 per month on groceries. To do that, I cook totally from scratch and there aren’t just a lot of coupons for “scratch”. In other words, no convenience foods at all. Here’s how all this got started. A long time ago my sister and I played the $5.00 per week game. What would we do if we only had $5.00 per week to spend on groceries, not including toiletries? Here are the rules: Start today with what is in the pantry. Any gift food just goes in the fridge–a lady seft me a sack pears on the porch. Plan menus and make a list of what you need to complete a meal. That’s it. Three years ago, I did $5.00 per week and kept it up for a few months just for fun. I felt like I need to adjust my budget, so last September I reinstated the game, only with the idea that $50.00 per month was what it would probably take. It’s not easy and I’m still going to stick with the $50.00 per month, @ $12.50 per week but since I went to your class, I’ve decided to try it with coupons and see what I can get for free or nearly free to have a little more in the pantry to work with. We rarely eat out; I usually prepare 20 meals each week for the three of us (two adults and one 10-year old). Because we go to the city on Thursdays, we usually eat one meal in the city. I, too, love Aldi. One of my favorite scripture is “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Prov. Thanks for your inspiration. Tonight we are having meatloaf and mashed potatoes, steamed squash and pumpkin bread for supper.

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