Today, Mak and G’s mom gave them a challenge, to see if they can bring food costs down and feed the family for 2 dollars a day per person…
This episode, Mak and G look at how we can save money by reducing the cost of our weekly food expense.
They take their mom’s challenge and see if it’s really possible to feed a family for 2 dollars a day per person…
“Stock markets hate uncertainty” – Mak and G
“Making your own food really helps bring costs down and is healthier.” – G
00:19 – How much money we saved by not turning on our sprinklers.
01:20 – How the market has moved this week.
01:59 – Evergrande and why their stock is down nearly 90%.
03:34 – How uncertainty affects the market and the financial crisis of 2008.
04:33 – How we reduced our food costs to less than $2 per person per day.
Connect with Ben Jones:
MAK: Welcome back everybody. We’re happy you joined us. It’s been another week of school, with lots of rain in the area. But, we’ve really needed it.
GRANT: Yes, the grass was looking a bit dried out, with some dead spots, but it’s coming back. Dad tried to save a bit of money by not turning on the sprinkler system this year.
MAK: He did save the $100 or so to turn it on AND another $100 or so to turn it off before winter. Plus the costs to run it weekly, which is estimated to be around $100 per month.
GRANT: Yes, it all depends on size, but if you run it for 7 months, it turns out to be around $1,000 total per year. That’s a lot. I can easily see why he’d want to cut that out of the budget.
MAK: Makes a lot of sense, however, a little water can make sure he doesn’t have to spend money to fix the lawn if parts of it die. Hey, that would mean extra time and effort, too.
GRANT: It seems like it’s always a bit of a balancing act, isn’t it. You know mom gave us a challenge last week to help out with the family budget, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two.
MAK: When she asked if we could help reduce expenses, she made it a bit more difficult than turning off the water on the lawn. Dad got to take the easy way out.
GRANT: So true. But, since we haven’t looked at the markets for a couple weeks, why don’t we spend a minute going over something that took the markets a bit by surprise.
MAK: Sounds good, this is Mak and these are the markets. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks that have caused some pretty big swings. However, things are holding pretty well as the Dow is under 35,000 the S&P is under 4,500 and the Nasdaq is slightly above 15,000.
GRANT: I think it’s time we speak about Evergrande. It’s a Chinese company. But, it has affected the stock of US companies. It’s worth talking about and it touches on GDP.
MAK: We should all remember that GDP is Gross Domestic Product from our prior podcasts. It tells us how many products and services are made in a country. The more you make, the more money people earn, which allows them to buy more. If it’s growing, it’s good for the economy.
GRANT: Evergrand is the second-biggest real estate company in China, which does 600,000 homes a year. Construction is almost 30% of GDP, because of all things it buys and builds.
MAK: Think about it. It buys steel, which means other companies have to make it. It buys wood, glass, tile, etc and the same thing happens. Jobs are created everywhere when building homes.
GRANT: They say it SUPPORTS about 4 MILLION jobs. Those aren’t only their employees, but when they buy products from companies, those companies hire employees. That’s HUGE.
MAK: Evergrande is in all kinds of stuff. They’re building a soccer stadium for 100,000 people. Yes, 100,000 in the shape of a Lotus flower. It’s cool. And, it’s built an island and a theme park.
GRANT: They’re in pig farming, own a soccer team, sell water, and much more. But, housing has been going crazy in China, and they have profited. But, they had to borrow a ton of money.
MAK: Not a problem by itself, but last week, they didn’t make a payment as promised. That was around $84 Billion. That’s big trouble for them AND banks. Their stock is down 90% in a year.
GRANT: Since banks borrow money from other banks to make big loans, when things go bad, it can affect a lot of people. It can be like dominos.
MAK: First, if THEY aren’t paid back on a huge loan, most banks can go bankrupt. If Evergrand goes bankrupt, a ton of people and companies lose. GDP goes down and the economy suffers.
GRANT: In addition, China will buy fewer goods and services from the US, France, Argentina, Japan, and many….. many other countries. In addition, stock markets HATE….
MAK: Uncertainty. This is a ton. The current situation has made stock prices go down. People are afraid. Many people have gone to their various locations and protested, became made and even cried because they’ve lost so much.
GRANT: It sounds like something that happened in that wonderful year that we were born… 2008. There was a financial CRISIS here in the US when people couldn’t pay back their loans on real estate. It was a rough time for jobs, economies, and stock markets.
MAK: That’s when the stock market crashed. But, the US government jumped in when it happened and helped stabilize things. That’s a long story, but the US did pull out of it.
GRANT: The issue in China is similar but much smaller than our crisis in 2008. China can do something similar to what we did, and many believe their government will try to fix it.
MAK: That should settle things down, but we’ll keep an eye on things, and if necessary, we’ll keep you up to date.
GRANT: Excellent discussion. Ok, maybe we can get back to mom’s challenge of helping reduce more of the spending in our budget.
MAK: Ok, so mom asked if we could figure out how to reduce our food cost to less than $2/day per person. All 3 meals. So, with a little math, I took 4 people, 30 days and multiplied by $2/day.
GRANT: That’s $240 for a month of food.
MAK: Perfect. Compared to eating out, this is REALLY cheap. Last week, Chipotle was over $40. Mom and dad made it “upscale” with some wine. We had drinks and some dessert.
GRANT: So, to make it easy, let’s call it $60. That means 4 MEALS eating out would be $240 or the ENTIRE budget she wants us to mange to. Can’t be done.
MAK: You would think it wasn’t possible. But, after doing a bit of Google-ing. I found you can do it for a family of 6. Yes, 6 people for that budget. Isn’t that nuts?
GRANT: What? No way. Are they eating cardboard? Tree bark? Grass? How is that possible?
MAK: Let’s throw out kudos to the Thrifty Frugal Mom online. She’s making it happen and lays it all out. She’s got a full cupboard to choose from, by taking advantage of deals as they come.
GRANT: She buys food she may not need now, but is expensive or BOGO. But, it’s for food that doesn’t spoil. She’ll stockpile. Plus she always cooks from scratch, and, her family rarely snacks
MAK: Ok, that would take a bit of getting used to. But, she lays it out, with fruit, chicken pot pies, soup, salads, BBQ chicken sandwiches, pies, and more. It’s doable. So, you know what I did?
GRANT: What? Does that have something to do with being online look at sales?
MAK: Absolutely, I pulled up the weekly deals at the grocery store, opened up Amazon, and tried to do one day for under $8. That’s $2 per person. If I can do one day, I could do a month.
GRANT: We’ve spoken about Ramin noodles being super cheap. You didn’t cheat, did you?
MAK: No way bro. I started with Quaker instant oatmeal. 48 count, less than $7 delivered on Amazon. We each get one for breakfast. It cost less than 15 cents each.
GRANT: NOYCE. We could do peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. With the deals we saw, it works out to be about 17 cents per sandwich for bread peanut butter, jelly and bread.
MAK: Let’s skip some math. But, there are A LOT of servings in each package. Once we divide the total cost by servings, it’s easy. Let’s say water is free, that’s 32 cents for 2 meals.
GRANT: For dinner, time to splurge. I saw that you found a Jones fave..rotisserie chicken at 63 cents a serving. Potatoes, for about 28 cents, and a salad with dressing for 45 cents. Your set.
MAK: Dinner at $1.36. Dad gets portion control and lowers his weight, so everyone is happy. That’s less than $1.75 per person per day or $210/mo. That’s less than $240. BAM!!
GRANT: You always were an overachiever. I’m a believer, you CAN make it happen.
MAK: Finding deals helps for sure. Stocking up on stuff that doesn’t go bad quickly but is on sale is a winner. Making your own food really brings the cost down and is healthier.
GRANT: I know we all like a Big Mac every once in a while, but the Big Mac meal is around $7 with taxes. That’s only one meal, and we won’t have to watch dad blow up like a balloon.
MAK: You got that right. Everybody wins. Time to say goodbye, and remember saving money can be fun AND delicious.
GRANT: See you next time for more…..
GRANT/MAK: Money with Mak & G. Bye!!