Family of Five – Saved $14,400/year

A Case Study by Melissa Tosetti

Sarah was looking forward to going back to work after years of staying home with her three young children. She and her husband Stephen were eager for the extra income to get off the cycle they’d been in for the last few years of putting summer vacations and the holidays on their credit cards, paying those cards off with their tax refund only to run the cards back up again a few months later when they went on their next vacation.

Unfortunately, once Sarah went back to work, they were all so busy that their lifestyle expenses increased, surpassing the income she brought in. The biggest increase was in food. After a long day of work and carting the kids from one activity to the next, the last thing she wanted to do was go to the grocery store. The family found themselves getting takeout most nights and running to the store for one-off items on a regular basis. They were spending over $1,500 a month on food. The cause of the spending was a lack of staples in the house, exacerbated by Sarah’s hatred for the grocery store.

Sarah heard me speak at an event where one of the topics I covered was how our crazy schedules and the frenetic pace of our day-to-day lives can be catastrophic to our personal finances.  The topic hit home and she approached me about working together.

When we began working together to create a Spending Plan for them, the first thing we did was create a keystone habit for Thursday nights where Sarah and her three children inventoried the kitchen for the staples needed to be purchased for the following week. We then had the four of them decide three meals they wanted to make for dinner the following week with the idea of cooking once and eating twice for those meals. Sarah then ordered the groceries online to be delivered on Saturday mornings. She no longer had to go into the grocery store and she was able to get her children involved in the process, teaching them valuable lessons. We were able to cut their grocery bill in half saving them $750 a month.

By plugging a few more financial leaks and streamlining their spending in other areas, in just a few months we were able to get them to a point where they were saving $1,200 a month. We set up a system so they could save a portion of that money for summer vacations and the holidays. The remaining savings was used to build a much needed emergency savings account. Once their Emergency Fund was built, they were able to increase the amount going into their retirement accounts.


If you’d like to learn about how we work with clients to create Spending Plans and then teach them how to live within their plans, you can contact me at or by phone at 650-299-1500.