- We want to pay more attention to the foods we are buying instead of the money we are spending
- We don't want to spend more than we are making
- We want to get out of debt
- We want to buy local
- We want to be able to have some "fun" money and not feel guilty for splurging every so often
- We want to be happy with what we have and make sure our kids are healthy and happy
- We want to remember that no matter our circumstances, we're relying on God to provide for us
If this is something you are interested in, this is the budget template I downloaded from Faithful Provisions. I won't disclose every little financial detail of our budget, but I do want to show you some of our findings.
I have a confession to make. We didn't even sit down and go over a budget for June. If you looked at our schedule for this month you might understand why, but really there is no excuse. Our finances are so limited and so important that we have got to make this priority. The good thing is I kind of knew where I wanted to be financially, so I did keep up with it pretty well on my own. But there were a few places we had some missteps.
I would have liked to make $75 from mystery shopping. I actually made $113.46 so I am really happy about that!
I would have liked to make $20 from surveys and rebate checks. I made $18.99 so I was almost on target.
I would have liked to earn $10 from miscellaneous income (selling household items, etc.) I am really happy that I made $97.98 from miscellaneous income. A lot of that came from selling old textbooks that I had been hanging on to. I still have my favorites, so this was a one-time income deal. But I did also sell a good amount of items at a consignment store, and made some extra cash by doing data entry.
So, when all is said and done, I did make more money than I would have budgeted for, which is always good.
As usual, many of our payments are set in stone. This includes our mortgage, power bill, cell phone bill, security system, cable/internet/home phone, truck payment, motorcycle payment, World Vision donation, and gym membership.
Normally I would have set aside $50 for birthday presents. We knew we had two birthdays to plan for this month. We were able to stay under that mark by a few dollars, so I'm happy about that.
This month we budgeted $200 for groceries. We were able to spend just $176.29 on groceries this month. It helped that Stephen was gone for a whole week this month!
We normally would budget $100 for eating out as a family.We stayed under, spending $97.82. Three occasions were with good friends and two occasions were special treats for us so I'm pleased with our choices on when to eat out.
Stephen usually gets $50 budgeted towards eating out on his own. Unfortunately he lost track of how many times he had eaten out... he spent $96.58 this month! Although a couple of times he paid for another guy at work who is struggling a bit financially, so he had good intentions.
We budgeted $700 toward gas. That's what we've been spending although we hoped this month would be much lower. You might recall, last month we sold our beloved Jeep Wrangler and purchased a Toyota Celica. It gets much better gas mileage. Stephen's also been riding his motorcycle when it's not too hot. I haven't had to drive to preschool or Kindermusik four times a week which saved a lot of gas. And he started carpooling with a guy at work this month to save some money also. We ended up bringing our gas bill down to $350.13 this month!! Now that's what I'm talking about!
I would normally budget $50 for diapers. I spent just $9.98 - six dollars on a huge box of wipes, and less than four dollars on diapers. You can really tell how much money cloth diapering saves!!
I normally budget about $20 for clothes. I did get a new (to me) pair of jeans - $8.00 for Seven For All Mankind jeans, which usually have a price range of about $150!! And I got Brianna a new apron for the kitchen, a pair of shorts for Hunter, a pair of short overalls for Hunter, and I got a new (to me) bathing suit for the season for just $3!! Much better than spending $40-50 for a suit I'll only wear a couple of times this year!
We did have a lot of miscellaneous expenses. I threw a baby shower for a friend but was able to keep food and gift expenses under $50. We had random expenses like medicine for Hunter (he had impetigo), ink for the computer, graduation gifts for kids at church, entry fees to a tractor pull, donations to a fundraiser, new nightlights for the kids, and other little things that came up throughout the month. We also had our last $250 payment to the Mosquito Authority. All in all we spent around $650 in these miscellaneous expenses (that does include the $250). It's amazing how quickly the little things can add up!
I would love to hear any feedback you have for us - tips, support, what you do, etc. Although I would like to say, you don't need to direct me to any links concerning Dave Ramsey or Clark Howard. I adore both of these men, but we are planning our budget based on what works best for us. I do appreciate any other personal advice though!
Where does my meager income come from? Check it out! For the month of June:
- Pinecone Research Panel (surveys)
- Opinion Outpost (surveys)
- Fifi's (consignment store)
- Abebooks.com (selling textbooks)
- Cash4books.net (selling textbooks)
- Rebate from Marie Callender
- National Shopping Service (mystery shopping)
- Market Force (mystery shopping)
- MSI Services (mystery shopping)
- Keyforcash (data entry)