Budgeting

So do y’all remember how one of my January Goals was to track every red cent we spent and make a budget? Well we did track everything and I will be candid here, I am SHOCKED at just how much we spend in a month. When we went about this for January we decided that we would spend as we would usually do, just making sure to write down how much was spent or keep receipt so I can track everything. I mean I knew we spent a decent amount but the EXACT amount was no where near what I thought it was going to be. Eye opening.

After going through everything and adding it all up and then throwing up because of the amount of money we spent, we regrouped and decided it was time to come up with a plan of action. We realized that the places we spend the most next to our mortgage is in the areas of grocery shopping, “other” shopping, and eating out.

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Mr. Big Truck and I sat down and talked about what we were willing and not willing to give up in our spending to help cutting costs. One thing we both agree on is that anything pertaining to our health and wellness was not an option to cut back on. One thing wee decided is that we are going to give the meal planning thing a legit try as well. We are going week by week with this. We decided that we would take turns picking out healthy meals that we want to have, take inventory of what we have in the house and ONLY grocery shop for what we NEED. I noticed that during the month of January Mr. Big Truck was going to the grocery store multiple times a week and that was just not going to fly if we really wanted to cut costs.

We have also decided to eat out only once every 2 weeks. We typically eat out once a week just for a break from cooking which, major props to Mr. Big Truck who does the majority of it. With changing to eating out only once every 2 weeks we will have to actually think about when we want to go out and not just wing it which I like. As of right now we have planned to go out for Valentine’s Day. We already know for this month we will be eating out more than we want to because of our upcoming Babymoon and a business trip.

As far as the “other shopping” we included everything from maternity clothes shopping for me, right now a necessity, baby shopping that we have started, again a necessity, and anything else that did not fit anywhere else in the grand scheme of things. We know that right now we are slowly buying furniture for the baby and lets face it that’s not cheap. Granted this is not going to be a monthly occurrence but it is something that NEEDS to be purchased. We are going to try to stop impulse buying so much and again only buy what we need.

I already know that the “other shopping” is going to be high again this month as we will continue to buy baby furniture, we, along with Mr. Big Trucks brothers, are throwing his Mom a 7t0th birthday party, and we are heading out on our babymoon and a business trip this month. With all that in mind we are still trying to keep our spending in check.

I also managed to save us an additional $20 a month on our cell phone bill by taking our plan down a bit. We were paying for 6 gig of internet usage. After looking at what we actually use I noticed we weren’t even using 2 gigs! Needless to say I cut us back to 2 gigs! We are typically on wifi so I don’t see that being an issue in the long run. Worse comes to worse I bump it up if I have to. Every little bit helps!

I think half the battle is having a plan. I also think that managing money is mostly mental. I think if you have the right mindset you can do whatever it is you want to do financially. With that said, bring it on February!

  Hugs, Nikki

I have 12 Lovely Comments, I would love to have yours... on Budgeting

  1. avatar
    Mary says:
    February 5, 2014

    It sounds like you are on the right path. We have cut back on eating out again to once or twice a week ( we were going out EVERY night and twice per weekend day since Al left for school ). I just paid the Sprint bill and wanted to throw up at that cost – it went up $80! Prob because we all have smart phones now. We keep everything else to a strict budget – no impulse shopping at all except for the dining out…But we have mastered the art of knowing all the restaurants “deal” nights so that also keeps costs down.
    Baby stuff will be never ending and probably the worse for impulse shopping! Does she had a baby tutu yet? they are too cute!

    • avatar
      Nikki says:
      February 5, 2014

      Oh I forgot to mention I cut our cell phone bill by $20 a month too! Thanks for reminding me! I have to edit that! Like I said we typically only go out to eat once a week which really isn’t that bad. We both enjoy cooking healthy meals at home which helps! She doesn’t have a baby tutu yet I am sure there will be one coming at some point though!

  2. avatar
    Erin Padgett says:
    February 5, 2014

    Way to go! I know budgeting isn’t easy. I’ve lived by budget for nearly 3 years though and it does help. It also gets easier. I think it is empowering to know where your money is going.

    • avatar
      Nikki says:
      February 5, 2014

      Thanks! I know it is not easy and seeing how we are just getting into this whole budgeting thing I am taking things one step at a time and not killing myself with it.

  3. avatar
    February 5, 2014

    LOVE this!! It is eye opening to see how much I would spend (I am only on day 5) if I hadn’t put myself on a freeze. Sheesh. I have plenty of tutus—I will send some your way hahaha! Keep up the great work and meal planning really does help! Also, have you looked at any higher end thrift shops for baby clothes or maternity? I was pleasantly surprised when I went to some!! 🙂

    • avatar
      Nikki says:
      February 5, 2014

      We do not have any nice thrift shops around here. I have not really spent all that much for maternity clothing because thankfully my one sister in law and I are the same size so I have been able to barrow a bunch of stuff from her. I did pick up a few things though not too bad. I wouldn’t say we are on a spending freeze so much as just cutting back. I may eventually put us on a total freeze. We’ll see.

  4. avatar
    Jen says:
    February 5, 2014

    I think this is great! It is so important to have a budget. I have a set budget for groceries and thanks to my huge stockpile of toiletry items I acquired months ago that cut down on spending a lot.

    • avatar
      Nikki says:
      February 5, 2014

      Yeah the grocery bill was a little radical. I was really shocked at just how much we spent there. IDK if it is just because we are in the North East and the cost of living out here is through the roof or what? I mean really we only shop the perimeter of the grocery store so I know that don’t help much either but we are really passionate about eating healthy and that is one thing we will not give up.

  5. avatar
    Rachel says:
    February 5, 2014

    Yeah we have these exact problems, too! It’s like hey we have enough money but wow did we spend a lot more than we realized!!! And where does it all go? Even when we write it down it doesn’t seem to add up! Let me know if you get any good advice! I have been trying to use more coupons recently and that sort of thing, but I’m not so sure how much that’s saved me really. PS_ there is an app I use called Saving Star and they have coupon for fruits and veggies! I got 20% off apples, pears and broccoli so far!

    • avatar
      Nikki says:
      February 6, 2014

      I will! I have Saving Star and it has not done much for me. I hope that changes though.

  6. avatar
    February 6, 2014

    Way to go, lady! I have been on a spending freeze for SO LONG. DC isn’t cheap, and living here alone has been a huge weight. Moving in together this month will help reduce costs for me, but we spend a great deal going to the grocery store several times a week, and we eat out almost every weekend at least once. I’m thinking we should do what you guys did…
    Good luck for February, let us know how it goes!

    • avatar
      Nikki says:
      February 6, 2014

      Thanks! Yes DC is not cheap that is for sure! I am hoping that the whole meal planning thing will help with the cost of the grocery shopping issue. We are also really trying to only go once a week instead of a few times a week! I will keep you posted!

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