Budgeting-Saving With Simple Changes

January was a particularly hard month for me financially.  I had let a few things slide over the holidays and was hit hard by reality when, at the end of the month, I was broke.  I decided then and there that I needed to do better.

Now, generally, I feel like I am pretty frugal.  I use coupons, but only when I really feel like I am getting an amazing deal.  My kids love going to Plato’s Closet (a consignment store for teens) and Goodwill find their jeans and wardrobe staples.  Also, for awesome household items, I am a negotiating queen with vendors at our local flea market and junk stores (it is a pretty awesome skill that can be a little embarrassing for Larry and the kids). Around the house, I am constantly turning off lights, we use the fireplace to keep the heating bills down and a programable thermostat (best thing ever), and we have weather proofed windows and doors.

In an effort to do better, I started talking to WB (Work Buddy).  She is also trying to do better and work towards goals.  We both have started reading, researching, and sharing our finds.  One thing that we agreed we should do is set a budget.

I did some research Friday night and, with suggestions from my Twitter friends, found a budget that I felt I could utilize.  For the life of me, I cannot locate the blog that I found it on.  I will keep looking and share it with you later, for anyone interested.

Then the fun began (I hope you can sense my sarcasm).  Yes, I spent my Friday night pouring though my checking account transactions filling them into the budget so that I could see just how much I spent and where.  It was shocking.  If you have never done this, I really suggest doing so, even just once, to see where it all goes.

My largest expenditure was food.  I alone, not including anything that Larry purchased, spent $600 on food.  This is grocery store and eating out combined.  I am certain that is high due to not having a kitchen due to renovations, but we can definitely do better.

My second largest was clothing.  It was also an odd month for my spending in this department.  I purchased my tennis shoes and new dress shoes which I was in need of.  My youngest needed tennis shoes and my eldest had to have waterproof pants and a new coat for a ski trip.  These, partnered with my other finds totaled a whopping $380.  Again, I can do better.

I started setting my limits for future months and decided to share my finds and plan with Larry.  As he was looking at the expenses, he noticed that I pay a lot more than he does for car insurance.  I started looking around and can, potentially, save $30+ per month by switching!

Here are a few things on my personal to do list; hopefully, they will give you aha moments like some of them did me.

  • Look into switching my car insurance.  I want to get a few more quotes before making my decision.  Then, whatever savings I find, will be put into my car payment to pay it off more quickly.
  • Get quotes on new homeowner’s insurance
  • Pay off credit cards
  • Get the current pay off on my car.  With credit cards gone, I can focus on this expenditure which is a large chunk of my money each month.
  • Switch utilities to budget plans rather than having fluctuations each month for easier planning.
  • Look into changing phone carriers.  My friend at church just got a great new plan that is comparable to mine and less $$; they are buying out contracts for people that switch.  Worth looking into.
  • Meal plan and limit trips to the grocery store.  I always do better when I have a menu in place and a list to go by.  It will be a bit of an adjustment planning this far in advance, but it will also limit the back and forth that we usually have over what everyone wants for dinner.

2 Responses to “Budgeting-Saving With Simple Changes”

  1. February 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Definitely update if you find the blog. I use an excel spreadsheet as a spending plan vs. a true budget.

    I think I will have the credit card debt for awhile, so I just worry about chipping at that a little at a time. Most definitely I would have more money if I followed a meal plan and stayed out of stores. Plus, I would probably be healthier too.

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