Tag: Food Budget (Page 1 of 2)

Daily Spending and Saving in 2016

Daily Spending and Saving in 2016

Several people have suggested putting a certain amount of money in savings every single day, aim to spend less than a certain amount of money on any given day, etc. On a day to day basis, I don’t do well with that. I save in monthly spurts. But I liked the idea of tracking how much I spent and saved on a daily basis. Here are our 2016 expenses broken down into daily spending amounts in each category:

Daily Spending and Savings 2016

My Thoughts on our Daily Spending and Savings Rates:

  • I like that our transportation costs are a nice even $5.00/day. It seems a bit high, but nice and even.
  • After calculating how much our breakfast costs on a daily basis, it was interesting to see that we spent less than $20/day for our family of 5 to eat (and for 2016, that includes Mr.T and I eating out in the UK for 3 weeks!).
  • $7.67 on household expenses and stuff is lame. This includes toilet paper, haircuts (for Mr.T… I make him cut my hair), gifts for family members, etc. I wish I could say it was mostly gifts, but it’s not. I would like to cut this down. This category brings me very little joy, but is a necessity (we’re not going to go without toilet paper thankyouverymuch!).
  • $4.30/day on utilities is awesome. Our energy updates have really paid off! And it’s nice to see a daily total for this because in the summer, we pay hardly anything, and in the winter when it’s both dark and cold, our bills are way higher.
  • $7/day for internet/cell phones… blerg. I’ve cut our cell phone package down, so maybe we can get this around $6/day, but our internet is over $100/month and there’s nothing we can do about that if we want internet (which we do). Now, every time I sit down to work, I’ll think: “The first $7 I earn today will have to pay for the internet I use to work.”
  • Can you find a place to stay in Anchorage for less than $51/night? Not a chance! Makes me feel better about my mortgage when I think about it in those terms. Though I think it would be way more awesome to pay less than $25/day for housing. Add in our extra mortgage payments, and we paid over $100/day just to sleep here!
  • Travel – If someone said: “If you pay $20/day, you could take several vacations this year including a 3 week trip to the UK,” would you sign up? Yes. Yes, I would. Our vacations are definitely worth $20/day and we’re paying less than that!
  • $6.66 medical expenses – definitely evil!
  • $56.85 daily savings rate seems pretty good. More than our mortgage! Let’s see if we can get this up to at least $60/day in 2017!

Even though I don’t actually evenly spend or save these amounts on a daily basis, breaking spending and savings down into daily amounts really changes perspective. It takes the “latte effect” and turns it into things like “the daily internet cost effect.” It makes you value how much you would actually enjoy turning that amount over every single day to get the same results of your current spending. I’m mostly pretty happy with those amounts, though there’s definitely room for improvement.

Have you calculated your daily spending/savings rates? What surprises you the most?

Your Breakfast is Robbing You

Your Breakfast is Robbing You

If you haven’t yet calculated it, your breakfast is probably costing your family much more money than you think it is. Stop eating expensive breakfasts and switch to some cheap breakfast ideas. I’ll share the numbers of how much cereal could cost us and how much we actually spent last year on our inexpensive breakfast alternative (and how oatmeal can actually be yummy).

Cereal is Expensive

About once a month, we eat cereal for breakfast as a family. That’s right. Once a month. The last time we did this, I realized our family of five goes through the equivalent of one Costco box of cereal each time we eat cereal.

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how much we spend

How Much We Spent and Saved in 2016

The numbers are in!

Let’s start with how much we spent:

First off, if you want detailed breakdowns of previous years, check out our first “How Much We Spend” post. To summarize:

  • In 2013, we spent $53,218
  • In 2014, we spent $53,344
  • In 2015, we spent $55,810 ($63,581 before subtracting the Alaska State Energy Rebate)

In 2016 we spent…. drum roll please…. $59,392! 

Yes… more than last year, but still under $60k. So, how did this year break down? Here’s a lovely graph:

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November 2016 Plan Update

November 2016 Plan Update

What a roller coaster of a month! I’m happy to report that things are going great inside the Stock house. The kids are at great stages right now and our house feels very merry and bright! Outside our little house and in the big, big world, I can’t say I feel quite as safe and happy. The hate is coming out of the closets and seemingly taking over the world. It’s important to be kind and as Mr. Rogers said:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

(Mister Rogers has always been my favorite!)

This Christmas season, we’re making an increased effort to be those helpers!

This month is BIG for the blog. Coming soon: we have a very exciting Christmas post that’s definitely out of the ordinary. (Mr. T and I spent hours putting it together and you’ll LOVE IT. I promise!) In two weeks, I’m introducing something BIG and I’m super excited about it… details coming Monday, December 19th! YAY YAY YAY YAY! Ahem. Okay… what you came here for…

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frugality sucks frugal

Being Frugal is Overrated

When I started this blog, I thought “yes! We aren’t big spenders! We can jump in and discuss how frugal we really are.” Ironically, after over a year of blogging, I’ve realized that being frugal isn’t the answer. 

Frugality is all about cutting costs, but sometimes that’s not the best financial action plan. We still maintain some level of frugality, but it has shifted from counting costs to living mindfully.


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Dipnetting for Alaskan Salmon

Dipnetting: Subsistence Salmon Fishing

Hey friends! We’ve updated our newsletter to be a weekly email that goes out on Saturday mornings complete with blog post links, random spattering of other interesting links from the interwebs, and some friendly updates on the Banks. Sign up on the sidebar. Try it out. If you hate it, unsubscribe after the first email! I won’t be offended. I have heard several express interest in knowing more about the kind of things I read outside of the blog. I’ve changed our newsletter to share those interesting things that just don’t seem to fit here (and there are loads!)

You may have noticed last week I posted our UK post without pictures. It’s now updated, so check that out. The reason? The reds were running! If that phrase makes no sense to you, I’ll translate: “Over 50,000 Sockeye salmon are running up the Kenai river every single day and everything must stop so we can go catch them!”

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Our brains think brand names taste better than generics

The Brand Name Deception

You should avoid most name brands and go straight for the generic.

There, I said it. Post over.  …If only it were that easy. The fact is, we all know that we are deceived by a name brand. We know we shouldn’t get addicted to the brand, but we do anyway!

Penny’s annual science fair was this month. As I was perusing the other boards, I came across this one:

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how much we spend

How Much We Spend

This week, we’re doing an in-depth look at numbers and we’re kicking it off by taking a good, hard look at how much we spend. Annual expenditures are really the magical number needed to retire. We’re getting real (with charts!) and taking a look at 2013, 2014, and 2015. First up, 2013:

2013 Expenses

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The Power of a Good Cleanse

I got a bit trigger-happy this morning and published TWO posts, so be sure to also check out What I Learned at the Holiday Bazaar and we’ll hopefully back to our regular posting schedule on Monday! 🙂

Every January, after the holiday treat-eating, Mr. T and I go on a two-week food cleanse. Don’t worry, we’re not crazy. Let me explain what that means for us. We don’t juice. We don’t starve. Mainly, we focus on eating just fruits and vegetables. We condense Whole Living’s 28-day cleanses (there are several years available online, so we use all those resources for recipes) into just two weeks. We mainly do it to jumpstart our bodies. We eat so much wheat and so many carbs (cracked 7-grain oatmeal for breakfast, sandwich with homemade whole wheat bread for lunch, rice or pasta for dinner, etc.), so we take two weeks to give our body a break from processing the usual stuff. We cut out all meat, dairy, grains, eggs etc. After the first five days, we add back eggs and gluten-free grains. Also in January, we go on a spending cleanse. We pay for our cleanse produce and other food for the month and nothing more at the grocery store.

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How Much Do Groceries Cost in Alaska?

The Average Cost of Food in Alaska

To determine the average price of groceries in Alaska and the U.S. as a whole, we’ll turn to data from the USDA. Each month, the USDA publishes a national “Cost of Food Report” for the month prior to publication. September 2015’s Cost of Food Report showed that for a family of 4 with two kids ages 6-8 and 9-11, the “liberal food plan” was $1294.40 a month. The “thrifty plan” was half that at $651.90/month. (For a family of two ages 19-50, the “thrifty plan” is $389.60/month and the “liberal plan” is $776/month.)

Alaska and Hawaii warrant an entirely separate report that is published semi-annually, and only the “thrifty plan” is calculated. The most recent report showed that for that same family of four, the thrifty meal plan in Alaska costs $772.90/month. (Hawaii was $1125.70/month! Ouch! Maybe I shouldn’t complain so much…)

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