My Precious Pennies

I will be AWAY until late February as we do this moving thing...again.

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers & Tricia from 1stopmom
will be holding down the fort in the meantime - thank you so much, ladies!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mid Month Budget Round-up

So far so good this month, except for our eat-out bill.  We're not going broke eating out, but we're also going above our budgeted $20.  To be fair, $20 doesn't really buy much, but eating out is something that we really want to stir ourselves away from.  Not only is the food not as healthy, it's also extremely expensive. 

However, everywhere else we're doing very good.  So far, we've only spent 35% of our total monthly income.  We're still putting away AT LEAST a third of our monthly income towards our savings.  The amounts are automatically transferred from our checking to our savings account on three different days of the month, and at the end of the month if we have any money left over it goes into our savings also.

The month is only half over, but so far I've made $70 in extra income: $5 from a craigslist sale, my $39.01 Inbox Dollars check, $20 from SurveySpot, $3.99 from Zout rebate, and most recently $2.78 from the Arm & Hammer rebate.  It's important to realize that every little bit helps - with very minimal work I've made enough to extra income cover the little princess' Gymboree membership fee for the month.

Thanks to the continually dropping gas prices, we've only spent $40 of our $100 gas budget this month.  I will probably revamp the budget next month to account for the lower gas prices.  As far as groceries go, I've been able to stay under my $50/week commissary budget, so right now I'm sitting at $75.  This is great because Thanksgiving is coming up, and we will most likely go over the weekly $50.  I know I can try to make a budget-friendly Thanksgiving meal, but Thanksgiving comes around once a year, and it is VERY rare that we get to spend it with family.  My parents are flying over, and they're bringing my grandma from overseas with them.  She's never celebrated Thanksgiving before, and while I'm sure she won't "get it", it will still be nice to share a huge Thanksgiving dinner with her. Besides, there's nothing better than leftover turkey.

Before I wrap this up, I want to share with you some rather abnormal large purchases we've made and how we can afford them.  I splurged and got a BabbaCover for the baby's car seat.  My husband also needed some new uniforms, so he went and spent a hundred or so dollars on those. 

We're not rolling in the big bucks.  We're an one income family living off a military wage.  Your paycheck grows with your rank, but since hubby's only been in for a bit more than 2 years he's obviously not rolling in the big bucks, not that the "big bucks" exist in the military.  However, we do not live pay check to pay check.  We're able to steadily put away a third of our income, and we're even able to afford occasional splurges like that car seat cover.

There is no secret to this.  I do not have some secret job that I'm not sharing with you.  The only secret is our mindset.  It's not an option for us to save - it's a requirement and a priority.  I WILL NOT buy anything that we cannot afford up front.  I WILL NOT dip into savings.  We have also revamped our idea of "needs" and "wants".  Our needs consist of very basic things - food, clothing, gas...etc.  Then there are our wants.  Certain wants take priority over others - we'll deal with not having cable so the baby can go to Gymboree.  We can definitely afford cable, but honestly we don't need it and that money can be better spent elsewhere.  Actually, we don't need Gymboree either, but that is one of the things that we are able to enjoy by careful budgeting.  Since my husband did Gymboree with his dad when he was a baby, it was a big thing for him to be able to do Gymboree with our daughter.  So, we make it work.

If you're having trouble with your budget and find that you're overspending, take a step back and analyze your life.  What do you TRULY need to survive, and what is a perk?  Which perks are more important than others?  Find out what's keeping you from reaching your savings goal, and actively do something about it.

Note: If you're stuck and you just need someone to bounce budgeting ideas off, feel free to email me.  I am more than happy to help anyone attain their savings goal.  I'm not an expert, but we can share ideas and figure out what will work for you.  It's not fun to have to worry about money day and night, and I would never wish that on anyone.


Patricia @ From Wags to Riches said...

Some great advice there, Rita. I may have to email you when I come back from Australia.

We don't have a budget at the moment and I would really like to do a realistic one. I could learn a thing or two from you!

Clair said...

Rita, I'm so glad you're not the mysterious girl i sent a prize to a while back and I know you don't reveal much about you but I ahve to be nosey and ask where you're originally from. I saw you mentioned Grandma was coming over so can I ask? I'm off the boat from England and it's fun to find other internationals!

Clair at Mummy Deals

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