A few months ago I confessed that I was revamping the way I buy groceries. It has been really hard to do this, because it is so easy to buy cheap stuff, but it's not stuff that I want my kids to be eating. Unfortunately, about the same time we decided we wanted to spend more money on groceries, I lost my job. We've talked and tweaked and discussed and modified and we're working hard to make a budget that works for us. These are the things we've decided from all this gabbing we've done:
- 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.
A few months ago we quit sitting down together and going over the budget. We both know the numbers we are looking for, so for us now it's really looking at where we mess up and how to improve ourselves financially.
One thing I did differently in August in going over the budget is I not only looked at our budget together but also separately. We have joint banking accounts and separate banking accounts. The problem lies in the fact that I still pay for certain things on my own (our security system, my gym membership, for example) but I don't really make much money. I want to take steps to resolving this by figuring out how much I make on average, spending way less than that, and being able to build up my savings. When I went over this in the August budget I realized I spent $145 MORE than what I made that month. That's fine right now because I have savings built up. But that savings won't last forever. I can't spent an extra $150 every month and my bank account be okay for long. So I'm focusing on making some changes on my own.
I would have liked to make $75 from mystery shopping. I actually made $135.21 so I am happy about that.
I would have liked to make $20 from surveys and rebate checks. I made just $3.00 so I was way off target.
I would have liked to earn $10 from miscellaneous income (selling household items, etc.) I am really happy that I made $532.46 from miscellaneous income. This is by far the most money I've made this year in a month so I'm very thankful, but I also knew that income wouldn't last long. I was helping out a friend temporarily which got me extra money but like I said, I knew it was temporary.
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, and gym membership.
Normally I would set aside $25 for birthday presents. We had one party to attend and I stayed under budget at $21.15.
We would normally budget $200 for groceries. We spent way over that again - $250.50. But $35 from that was from our end-of-August beach trip, and I got a $5 Visa gift card in the mail from some groceries I bought, so for our regular groceries I really didn't go too far over. I'd like to get back down to $200 or less though.
We normally would budget $100 for eating out as a family.We went WAY over, spending $211.40. That is including our vacation to Myrtle Beach and our anniversary trip to Wilmington. All of that was paid for in cash from money I made selling stuff so at least we didn't have to break into the bank accounts for any of that!
Stephen usually gets $50 budgeted towards eating out on his own. He did spend $56.72 this month, so not too shabby.
We budgeted $400 toward gas. We ended up being under. Our gas bill was $384.06 this month.
I would normally budget $50 for diapers. I spent $25.95 due to a great deal on diapers at Rite Aid. It'll be worth it - those diapers should last a couple of months!
I normally budget about $20 for clothes. I spent $20.64. I bought two things for Hunter that he really needed, and boxers for Stephen which he really needed!
We did have a lot of miscellaneous expenses. We had to get medication for the whole family, plus my regular prescription and allergy meds for Stephen ($60 right there), Christmas presents for the kids, and spent money on some items to resell (I've already made back my money plus some). All in all we spent $173.15 on miscellaneous expenses, which seems like a lot but after having to pay for garage door and a/c repairs the past few months, staying under $200 on miscellaneous expenses is a blessing!!
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 August: