$25 Per Week Budgeting Challenge. I was starting the week with less than $10 thanks to my overage last week, and we were in desperate need of both milk and gas. That alone would have eaten though the $10. But as fortune would have it, February is the month that my Costco rebate certificate arrives in the mail!
If you aren't a Costco member, you may not realize that they actually pay you a 2% cash back rebate if you have an "Executive Membership." Upgrading to executive costs an additional $55 per year, but we earn that $55 back, plus more. They track your purchases and send you the check once per year. This year our check was for $65.62, meaning we spent about $3300 at Costco over the past 12 months. If you factor in the $55 we spent to upgrade, we netted about $10 with the Executive membership.
The beauty of the rebate certificate is that even though you have to use it at Costco, if your total purchase is less than the amount of the check, they give you the balance in CASH! So I knew I could buy what I needed at Costco this week, and keep the change to pay for everything else.. We were FLUSH with CASH!
The day the certificate arrived, we drove to Costco, bought this week (and next week's) milk, and even got a treat to split between myself and the kids. Then I took the change and we got a little more fresh produce at the Farmer's market, and put 1/4 tank of gas in the car! Plus we had leftover money! Because of the extra money I was able to make a few nicer meals towards the end of the week, along with our staple ‘heat and serves’ out of the freezer.
This is how the budget broke down this week:
Friday: $22.11 Groceries
4 Gallons Milk: $7.98
2 Frozen Yogurts: $2.70
1/2 lb golden delicious apples: $0.28
2 pink grapefruits: $1.98
1 lb red delicious apples: $1.24
1/2 lb tomatoes: $0.63
1/2 lb asparagus: $0.95
1 lbs brussels sprouts: $3.15
3 Red Peppers: $2.07
1 1/2 lbs Bananas: $1.13
Saturday: $15 Gas
Gas: $15 (4.5 gallons)
Monday: $10.98 Groceries
BBQ Sauce: $2.00
Pie Crust: $1.50
Frozen Pancakes: $2.50
Chocolate Milk: $2.99
Apple Juice: $1.99
Starting balance for the week: $25
Deficit from last week: -$18.84
Total Spent: $48.09
Costco Reward Check: $65.62
Balance surplus for next week: $23.69
What a difference a single piece of mail can make. I should have no problem getting through the challenge for one more week, with a budget of $50.
In case you wondered what our REAL pantry-only meals looked like this week these are the dinners we had:
Wednesday: Chicken Dumplings with Stir Fry Veggies
Thursday: Frozen Lasagna
Friday: Crispy Ranch Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Saturday: Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole
I used this recipe. It wasn’t very good. The tater tots just fall apart so it is sort of a cheesy, mushy mess.
Sunday: Beef and Bean Burritos. This was originally going to be Taco night, but I didn’t have taco shells, only large flour tortillas.
Monday: Bacon and Asparagus Quiche