New month, NEW BUDGET!

I wanted to give you an update on our April budget – what went well, what didn’t go well, and what I’m doing differently for May!

What went well:

Craig absolutely stuck to his budget. If I review our budget way back to before we hopped on the Dave Ramsey train and when Craig worked “in town”, Craig would spend close to $400/month on eating out, gas station stops, cigarettes, tobacco products, and energy drinks. Craig only drives about 3 miles to work now and there is only one gas station in town. Both Craig and I are allotted $100/month for whatever spending – Craig usually spends his on chew at the gas station, I usually spend mine on a coffee or a smoothie or a new piece of clothing. Craig came under his budget this month, I came in a little over. In hindsight, we’ve come SO FAR in this category!

Another category that went well was our Miscellaneous fund. This is for diapers, household supplies, cleaning supplies, clothes for the boys, personal care items, amazon, our trip to Theisens, etc. We allow $500/month for this and we came in WAY under budget at only $250 which is great! This category is very indicative of the health of our overall budget.

What did not go well:

The GROCERY budget. Part of the reason we are so set on the Great Cupboard Cleanout is to USE the food we have and cut our grocery budget which some months, costs us more than our mortgage! That’s right, our $500 budget rings in over $750 some months! And while we are entering week 3 of the grocery challenge, the damage to the budget was already done in the beginning of April. I hope the month of May is different and I hope we can wrangle this in. Gannon’s milk costs quite a bit, we love to buy meat from our local locker, we buy (and eat) massive amounts of produce, we love the more expensive lactose free Fairlife milk, we go through cheese like water, it isn’t hard to see where the money goes, but we’ve become accustomed to a certain kind of food/groceries in the house. I’m workin’ on it.

We had to cash flow gutter repairs, a truck of gravel for our driveway, cash flowing a entirely new furnace, a tax bill and snow removal so we didn’t make much progress on the debt snowball overall but we aren’t going farther into debt. This month would have absolutely been enough of a burden to call it quits and go get a loan for the furnace from the bank but we are still trucking and I’m confident we won’t make any more progress in May either because my car needs new brakes and tires AND vehicle registration is due, AND I have to renew my nursing license – I could go on and on. June, we are coming for ya!

That’s our rundown for the month! I love budgeting, it is one of my favorite things to do! Do you have a budget? Do you have any tips? How long have you kept a budget?

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4 thoughts on “New month, NEW BUDGET!

  1. Kim J LeMere says:

    Living within your means is something that is learned and you two are doing great and the fact that you talk to each other about your budget is very good for a marriage. We lived on a budget up until our kids left college and were on there own. Its wonderful to know we survived it all. Now that we are retired there seems to be more loose money so I don’t watch my food budget so much or our fun time money. It helps that we are at a place in our lives where we own a home, own our cars and have only us to care for. You do well to allow your budget to ebb and flow when things come up like “a new furnace” those item can blow a budget up but are needed. Your doing great, keep on moving forward, June is coming.

  2. Elle says:

    My motto? You can’t change what you don’t track. I have tracked every penny since the year 2000. (I say I, because hubster didn’t want to get involved in actual $$ but he committed to going along for the ride).

    Do I budget? Yes, but differently. I learned Zero-base budgeting in the 90s. I track every penny. We purchase only what is truly a need. A cash allowance for the household was set and that $ was taken out of our checking account, placed in “the money drawer” and we each took what we “wanted” and when it was gone, it was gone. This could be used for anything and no questions allowed. It was our “freedom bank”.

    Why Zero-based? Well, it’s a psych game of sorts. If the brain knows that $600 is available, decisions will likely be made to spend it. If the brain knows I track every penny and should buy only what is needed? Well then, I buy what is needed and nothing more.

    Zero-based doesn’t work for everyone. We were committed to: no more borrowing, debt snowball, debt-free before age 50 and that included our home and our mountain cabin.

    It works like the story of stones in the mason jar. Put the big ones in first: mortgage, car payment, credit card bills, retirement investing 401k, 403b, Roth. Then the smaller stones: utilities, insurance, gas in the cars to get to work. Then the sand: food, clothing, toiletries.

    Yes, I classify food as sand because we don’t have to have expensive food items. I can bake instead of buy. I can grow/preserve instead of buy (yes, challenging around FT+ work schedules). We can cook from scratch not go out or order in. Yes, clothing is sand. I can go to the thrift store 1st, then check Costco pricing before ever stepping into the dreaded mall and paying 2-7 X for an everyday item. I can buy scrubs off the clearance rack at the uniform shop not the “oh dang that’s so cute” rack for full price.

    And in less than 10 years we hit all of our goals. And funny thing is…..when we had plenty of disposable cash, we didn’t want more anymore. We remain frugal. Our cash drawer allowance went from $!00 to $400 and it is still there today. Some months I don’t get any $ because there is still so much leftover. However, a big expense is no big deal anymore. We write the check.

    I think you are so very much on the RIGHT TRACK to hit your goals. You have built awareness. You pay attention to every dollar spent and consider your decision to do it and whether you would make the same decision again. Building this mindfulness is the most essential task! You will achieve all of your goals AND much younger than we did πŸ™‚

    So I am out here cheering you on!! I am on team Kalissa and Craig πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

  3. Helen says:

    I put everything in savings and have an auto transfer to cover bills plus a little extra. Savings grows because I rarely check it. When car payments end I keep tucking those $’s away like I’m making a payment – when repairs are needed money is there to cover. When repairs are more than yearly/annual car payments time for new. Financed half at zero & paid other half a few months ago. It’s always a pleasant surprise to notice the savings balances.

    • Elle says:

      I did that Helen. In 1999 some wise person whom I don’t remember anymore, told me to never stop making car payments once my current vehicle was paid off. Well, in 2015 I paid cash for a wonderful new car. What a joy to write and this car is a joy to drive. BEST $ advice I ever got! πŸ™‚

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