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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Month and a Half into the "B" Word

So, Rob and I are a month and a half into our BUDGET,
the dread B word.

To be honest,
it has been one hundred times better and easier
than I imagined it would be.

First of all
it was horrifying,
once I sat down and looked at all the facts and figures,
how much money we were just frittering away.

Our biggest culprits were convenience-
too much eating out, picking up quick meals or lattes-
or just buying STUFF.
Big stuff, like a Mac for the living room for the kids for Christmas,
and little stuff, like a book here, a cd there, that kind of thing.

Money just kind of disappeared into that black hole
of unaccountability.
That "where did all that money GO???" feeling when,
at the end of the day,
you wrack your brain and realize you just Have. No. Clue.

Some of it was money well spent:
like a family trip to DisneyWorld (and we did get free food, at least!)
or home improvements,
or my LASIK surgery, which I am so glad to have had.

But still.
It would have been helpful to have saved up or budgeted for these things FIRST, perhaps.

So, I can't undo what I have already done, but I can make changes
and that is where my friend THE BUDGET comes in.

So how has it gone?
Well, let me give you an idea:
over the past month and a half,
we have spent about 1/4 to 1/3 less than we usually do.
Maybe more.

The only time a credit card was used was on the trip to New Orleans,
for travel expenses covered by Rob's job.
Otherwise, it was paid in cash and covered under our budget.

Today I went out to lunch with some of my mom friends.
It was covered in my budget- my blow money category-
and I just made sure I didn't eat out in the few days leading up to it
so I could save that money up.

I am three days from re-filling my cash envelopes
for groceries, miscellaneous (Target/Costco, general household and non food item purchases) and blow money
and right now I still have one hundred dollars unspent from the first half of the month.

I am so proud. :-)

Later on in the week,
I will share with you some things I have done, changes I have made so far
in reducing our costs.


Natalie said...

Yes, the Budget Black Hole. Wasn't that actually sighted out in space recently? Or was it much closer? Like my wallet. Can't wait to hear more about your planning. Like how do you handle the cash? Do you just take it out at the beginning of the month and put it in the envelopes? I think I would miss my airline FF miles that I get!

Ginaagain said...

This is very impressive Leeann! I'm making a half hearted effort at budgeting and it's getting a little better every week. A year and a half of completely avoiding thinking about money did some serious damage but what is done is done. I honestly don't think I could have done it any other way and I'm just thankful that we had the resources that we did. Now I've got to dig us out of this hole so the other kids can go to college.

Kathy in WA said...

Leeann - thanks for writing! I love that dh's post on finances has stirred up so many great conversations. You have been very helpful! I need to go back and re-read everything that was written, take notes and START practicing some of it.

I will be eager to see how you all continue to do on your budgeting.

Thank you for sharing your walk down this path.

Duckabush Blog

nicrogers said...

Good job Leeann! Now what will you do with the leftover funds? Put them on bills?

dkuroiwa said... brother (lovingly called "Mr. Numbers" by the rest of us!) would be so proud. He and his family also do the monthly folders and they have 4 kids!
My attempt to fix my spending was to keep track of grocery yen spent...was amazed and after adjusting my grocery lists, have cut that back by about $100 a month!!
The best thing about doing all this is that the kids are also learning and when they become adults, maybe they will be able to handle their money better than I can!!!
Keep us posted on how things are going!!!