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A New Type Of Budget In The Time Of Covid-19

You all, I want to talk about something that I think is something we can all relate to. Grocery shopping in the days of Corornavirus, is a huge struggle. I live in a small town of just over 10,000 people and we have one small grocery store, and a small Walmart Super-center. Usually I go into the next town over, and do my shopping there, but it's a bit of a drive and I've always wondered how much more we are spending in gas, just to find food?

It's a hard and strange world that we are living in today, and it's becoming harder and harder to find food to feed our families. In the last week, I have driven to several stores in order to find meat and canned veggies. I hadn't really thought too much about it, until I started to look at my receipts and began realizing that our grocery budget has more than doubled in the last few months. We are a one income household and that income has gone down due to the lack of demand for my husbands line of work. He helps to manufacture wings for 787's and his industry has taken a huge hit, and so has our income. Gone are the days of overtime, and feeling comfortable. Now, we have to budget our spending.

After sitting down and going over our bills, we saw what was leftover monthly and I was shocked to see that amount compared to our food budget. I really pride myself in being a frugal shopper, but when there are no options, and meat is practically gone, what do we do? I came across a local butcher, and they are always stocked with meat, but rarely put their prices on display. I had been so excited the first time that I went into the store, that I didn't ask about prices and started buying up the store. When they were done ringing it up and I heard the total, I almost had a panic attack. $96.00 for 2 chicken breasts, a sirloin, a chuck roast, and four burger patties. It was eye opening, and I knew we couldn't continue to shop like this. 

I went home and started to add up my receipts over the past week, and realized that I had spent close to $300 for two people. This is unacceptable to me, we have never spent this much on food for two people, and I wasn't going to start now. I started to research sites that we can use to save money and start keeping a budget. I looked into Dave Ramsey's envelope system, but I wasn't comfortable with using cash in the stores since we can't clean it easily. I wanted something that could help us do multiple things, and there are plenty of apps and sites that offer to help you budget, but they are a bit overwhelming. I get confused when it comes to finances and a lot of the sites didn't break it down enough for me to understand. After doing some research, I found that calculator.me, was one of the easiest site for me to understand. I really liked that there are some many different calculator options to use, especially their Family Budget Planner-calculator, where I could plug in our income, add all our debts, and other costs, and see where we came out at and what we could start saving again. It made it easy for us to see where our money is going.

Another thing I really liked are their frugal living calculators. I have the option to use a meat calculator, where I can add in the price of meat per lb, the amount of lbs and see what I'll be spending. I called my local butcher and asked their prices of the meat I was interested in, added them into the calculator and saw the price I would be paying. If it seemed too high, I could easily adjust what I wanted to buy, or I could quickly add it up at the store if I changed my mind. I find this to be so incredibly helpful for us to stick to grocery budget. Also, the brown bag savings calculator showed my husband how much extra he was spending on his extras at work. He realized we could save money by him taking tea to work everyday instead of buying soda at work. We started saving $20.00 a week, and we can now put that money into savings! 

I'm so excited that I have access to calculator.me because we were really starting to struggle with our budget and savings. I love seeing that we can still save money even though our income is smaller and we don't have to be afraid to grocery shop anymore. It's great to have options and in the future, when things are looking up, we'll be able to take advantage of some of their other options, and hopefully that will include their mortgage calculator! 

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