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.
This is the second month in a row we didn't sit down and go over a budget. We are kind of in a groove with knowing how much extra money we should have every month so it's easy for me to keep an eye on my spending. We also knew we would be spending several days at the beach this month, so we had to be more lenient than usual, and prepared to spend money that we just couldn't plan for.
With all that said, though, I'm still happy with how our budgeting went for this month!
I would have liked to make $75 from mystery shopping. I actually made $78.89 so I am happy about that.
I would have liked to make $20 from surveys and rebate checks. I made $10.00 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 $221.35 from miscellaneous income. A lot of that came from selling items on Facebook's "garage sale" page. I also started helping out a friend for some extra cash this month.
So I made much more money than I planned on. That is great news!
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 a birthday present. I did overspend on that but I have a very good reason! My nephew's first birthday is in August and I bought this rad chest at a yard sale for $15:
Purchased some paint from a local paint store and some scrapbooking supplies and ended up with this just a few days later!
So I ended up spending $30 on the paint but I hardly used any of it, so I plan on using it on many more crafts in the future. I love the color!
We would normally budget $200 for groceries. Between the beach and having to buy lots of groceries for events at church, we went way over budget. We spent $264.31 on groceries, but since I know the kinds of foods we bought I'm not upset with that. It's not like we were spending our money on donuts and cookies and a bunch of junk food like that, so it is what it is!
We normally would budget $100 for eating out as a family.We stayed under, spending $81.70. That is actually only a combination of getting cupcakes as a special treat and some eating out in Myrtle Beach.
Stephen usually gets $50 budgeted towards eating out on his own. He did spend $72.95 this month, but one of those times was eating out with some guys from church at Outback, so if he hadn't done that he wouldn't have gone over at all.
We budgeted $400 toward gas. You might recall, two months ago 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 $312.99 this month!! Now that's what I'm talking about!
I would normally budget $50 for diapers. I spent $27.02, but $15 of that was spent on diapering supplies just for our beach trip. Those diapers and wipes should last us a long time now that we're home and back into cloth diapering!
I normally budget about $20 for clothes. I went on a girls trip to Asheville with my Mom and my sister this month, and I still was able to stay under budget here - whew! I spent $10.26 on clothes for myself and Stephen - didn't even get anything for the kids! Haha!
We did have a lot of miscellaneous expenses. We had to get some medication for Brianna and Hunter, I bought a new book case for Brianna which was $4, Stephen spent $8 on a haircut, I had yet another baby shower to attend (!), got some jewelry for a ladies group party I attended, I had an unplanned car service ($57), and we bought a couple of new video games for the family to play together. Then we had a big hit - our air conditioner broke. We spent almost $400 getting THAT repaired... All in all we spent around $575 in these miscellaneous expenses. It wouldn't have been so bad without that huge a/c repair bill, but obviously that had to be taken care of!
I even went on that girls trip, as I mentioned earlier, and spent less than $120 due to the fact that my extremely generous parents paid for our lodging! That money was spent on mainly clothes, craft supplies, gifts for the kids for Christmas and birthdays, and eating out. I don't regret a single purchase!
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 July:
- Opinion Outpost (surveys)
- Selling items on Moore County Garage Sale Online
- NSS (mystery shopping)
- Market Force (mystery shopping)
- The Classy Paci (consignment)
- Savingstar program