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Posts tagged with: weekly budget

Hope’s Weekly Budget – Week of 10/15

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This has been a very hard week. I mentioned previously how my kids have been struggling. One in particular has been seeing a counselor for some time now. Between the big move, the sudden change in our lifestyle, some of my parenting choices and teenage years, in general, led to a battle with depression and a very tumultuous home life.

To be honest, I wish I had the time and resources to see a counselor myself. Life has just been slamming us!  I don’t feel like I have time to take a breathe between emergencies. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as we work toward a new normal, and I work really hard toward being a better mom, creating a more regular schedule and being more patient.

Celebrate Adoption

That being said, we have a lot to celebrate this month. Six years ago this month, the twins were placed with as as foster kids and three years ago today, their adoption was finalized.

Job Loss

In addition, it was two years ago this coming Monday that I lost my job. Our lives changed forever then. It has been hard, but we have so much to be grateful for. We have had so many new experiences that we would never have experienced without that push. We got to experience Tiny Living, Glamping and then a big move to a new tiny town. October is a big month for us.

Next Week’s Budget

I am more and more committed to becoming debt free, creating some security for my little family and getting healthy mentally. I must keep moving forward for my kids if for nothing else.  Without further ado, this is our budget for this next week:

Gas 16-Oct-17 -35
1099 17-Oct-17 150
Groceries 17-Oct-17 -25
W2 19-Oct-17 1786
Debt Pymt 19-Oct-17 -83
Gas 20-Oct-17 -35
Allowance 20-Oct-17 -100
Utility 20-Oct-17 -154
Cell Phone 20-Oct-17 -286
Car Payment 20-Oct-17 -400

We have been much more successful in our No Spend Month this week. We didn’t even spend our grocery budget last week. I am really excited that I have found a way to cut my cell phone bill a bit beginning next month. I am also excited that I am starting to pay for my new car, and am already anticipating paying it off by 2019. Debt update getting published this weekend…finally!


Hope’s Weekly Budget – Week of October 8

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We are almost at the end of our first week of our No Spend month. It has been really hard. It’s amazing how much you suddenly crave a candy bar and soda when you have committed to not spending any extra money! I have been very pleasantly surprised at how well the kids have taken to the challenge, especially Gymnast.  Three nights a week we are an hour away from home until 9pm or later, I have gotten in the habit of getting him something to eat on the way home. He didn’t even blink when I reminded him about No Spend Month, and contentedly waited until we got home to eat. (I am keeping power bars in the car for him as there are times he really can’t wait to eat.)

We did eat out once, but in my defense, we did not spend any “money”…I had a gift card to Chic Fil A with $23 left on it. We used $18 to eat dinner one night while we were in South Carolina waiting on Sea Cadet to finish his Police Explorer meeting.  It was a long day and I just couldn’t wait until 10pm when we got home to eat.

Next Week’s Budget

 

1099 10-Oct-17 150
Groceries 10-Oct-17 -25
Internet 10-Oct-17 -65
Auto-Gas 12-Oct-17 -35
1099 13-Oct-17 850
Savings 13-Oct-17 -85
Allowance 13-Oct-17 -100
Debt Pymt 13-Oct-17 -200
Clothing 13-Oct-17 -250
Debt Pymt 13-Oct-17 -250

Clothes Shopping

We go clothes shopping this weekend. Gymnast is going to wait until next week since he has a full schedule (the $250 in this upcoming week’s budget is part of last week’s $900 I had set aside, not in addition to.) They were all thrilled with their $250 budget, and I was thrilled that it left me with $150 to buy a few things for myself!


Hope’s Weekly Budget – Week of October 1

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This is my budget for next week. While most are common, monthly line items, there are some unique items this week. See an explanation below.

Rent 29-Sep-17 -650
Electricity 1-Oct-17 -125
Groceries 1-Oct-17 -400
Summer Camp 1-Oct-17 -500
Auto-Gas 4-Oct-17 -35
Water/Sewer 4-Oct-17 -75
Amazon 5-Oct-17 -400
W2 Income 6-Oct-17 1732
Allowance 6-Oct-17 -80
Debt Pymt 6-Oct-17 -100
Savings 6-Oct-17 -150
Universal 7-Oct-17 -56
Gymnastics 7-Oct-17 -240
Clothing Allow 7-Oct-17 -900

Groceries – This is my monthly grocery budget, not just the week. If you have been following me long, you know it is typically $600 per month. I am 1) trying to cut back some and 2) have re-allocated some of this money to more “free” spending to allow for when we are out of town at gymnastics and grab a quick bite.
Summer Camp – Summer camp for next year for both Princess and Gymnast. I am paying monthly now to 1) lock in last year’s rates and 2) not have it come up on me at the end of the year. This is a monthly payment until the total is paid off. It will cover 6 weeks of camp.
Amazon – This is my Amazon account and is a guesstimate of the balance based on the previous month’s purchases. I use Amazon home delivery for most of our toiletry needs and a variety of other expenses. Most months this is around $100, I’ll explain why it’s more in another post.
Universal – I am taking the kids to Universal over Thanksgiving. I have been saving this amount every month towards our November trip (just to cover the cost of the park tickets.)
Gymnastics – This is the monthly charge for Gymnast training, 4 days per week.
Clothing Allowance – This is a twice yearly budget item where I provide the kids with a specific amount of money for them to purchase clothes for the coming season. The monies are not necessarily split equally, I divide it based on needs and wants. The kids have spent the month of September creating lists of needs and wants for the coming cooler season. This is our version of the “wait 30 days” before spending.

I think doing this every Friday will help keep me more accountable, and give you all a better way of guiding me in my day to day spending habits.

What do you think so far?


Hope’s Weekly Budget – Week of Sept 24

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I use an Excel spreadsheet to track my income and expenses. I have it set up all the way through July, 2018 to keep me looking toward the future. I thought I might post every week’s budgeted items, the Friday before.  This will help keep me accountable, and give you a real life view into my financial life to advise and guide me on.

This coming week’s items are pretty self explanatory. I am at the end of my monthly grocery budget, have a few debt payment’s scheduled, the kids’ weekly allowance and our family gym monthly fee.

Groceries 25-Sep-17 -50
Debt Payment 25-Sep-17 -100
Auto-Gas 26-Sep-17 -35
Debt Payment 26-Sep-17 -100
Gym 28-Sep-17 -50
1099 Income 29-Sep-17 850
Allowance 29-Sep-17 -80
Debt Payment 29-Sep-17 -100

The 1099 income is from one of my regular income sources, I’ve been part time with this particular company going on 2 years now. It is the one I got right after I lost my full time income. It has steadily grown and I now work 25 hours a week, every week. I enjoy the work, I love my ‘bosses’ and it’s one of those jobs I can do anytime, anywhere while at the same time being flexible when I need some time away.

Today I am spending the day with my siblings. All four of them flew to Georgia with my mom for a few days. It’s the first time we’ve seen them since last Christmas when we went to Texas and the first time we’ve all been in Georgia in several years.

Let me know your thoughts on my Friday Budget posts?


Surprise Grocery Budget-Buster

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I have always, always tracked my spending. Even before I had imposed a budget or started trying to tackle our debt in a serious way (heck, even before we had any debt at all!), I have always tracked my spending.

So I have known – for years – that one of the biggest black holes of where our money disappears is….food. Whether its groceries or eating out with the family, food is one of our reliably largest monthly expenses. Wouldn’t we all save so much money if we could just stop eating? I joke, but seriously!

Part of my Money-Envelope May challenge has been to really examine where our grocery budget is going so I can try to reduce it further, particularly in light of all the things I have switched to making home-made for much cheaper than store-bought (e.g., tortillas, bagels, bread, pizza dough….lots of bread products!)

And you may be surprised what I discovered.

Many people suggest that meat is the biggest cost in most people’s food budgets. I will admit that meat can be costly. However, I am really good about shopping sales. I always look at the sale fliers that are circulated each week for our neighborhood grocers and stock up on sale meats. Here are some of the sales I buy on the regular:

  • Whole chicken, .88 cents/pound
  • Split chicken breasts, .99 cents/pound
  • Bone-in pork chops, 1.29/pound
  • Boneless pork loin roast, 1.77/lb
  • Pork spare ribs, 1.99/lb.

We buy a lot of chicken and pork because I can find it for cheaper than beef or fish and the cuts I buy often last several meals (e.g., I make a whole chicken as a rotisserie, then use leftover chicken to make chicken salads, chicken enchiladas, chicken tortilla soup, etc etc etc.).

In fact, I’ve gotten pretty good at spending $2/lb or less. The exception is ground beef (which I can find for as little as 2.88/lb for 93% lean). In case you’re wondering how I can spout off these prices – I track prices (and highly recommend it! Then you always know whether the “sales” being advertised are actually good prices or not and you can track patterns of sales).

So meat wasn’t a huge issue for our family. Guess what is……..CHEESE!

OMG, Cheeeeeeese, how I love you!!! If cheese were a man I would run away with him in a heart beat (sorry, husband!)

The problem is, I’m a little sketchy about my cheese selections. First, I don’t like to buy anything labeled with “cheese product” (aka: not real cheese). Second, I prefer to buy rBST-free cheese. I generally buy our cheeses in big blocks from Sprouts Farmers’ Market (they have a different cheese on sale each week). But, even bought in big blocks (often cheaper than pre-shredded), the cheapest I can find is 2.99/lb (that’s for “regular” cheese). Whenever their rBST-free cheeses go on sale I always STOCK UP (the sale price is 3.99/lb, regular 4.99/lb). I can buy 3-4 lbs in a single trip and freeze the extras. BUT, that means I’ve used $16 of my $95 weekly grocery budget on just CHEESE (that’s 17% of the budget!). And sometimes – gasp – I splurge on a special cheese, like brie (6.99/lb)! Talk about eating the budget up QUICK!!!!

Have I mentioned I love cheese (pssst….it’s even in my author bio)???? Just about every meal I make includes cheese in some form or fashion.

So I guess I’ve discovered one of our grocery budget-busters! Looks like we’ll be cutting back a little on cheese around here (not eliminating it…just cutting back a little. I don’t want to go through withdrawal and end up binging, you know?)

Have you ever had a surprise budget-buster??


My weekly budget

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The budget talks with my husband have been resolved via a compromise.  As of June 1, we are adding a separate grocery budget of $125 per week (remember we had been taking our grocery money out of the $200 spending) and then each keeping our respective $200.  This effectively increases weekly spending money by about $50-$60.  I still wanted to push for more cut backs but the warning signs of jumping off the debt payoff ship were evident so this is a good compromise. I anticipate with time we will add more budget line items like kids, clothing, gas, fitness, etc….but this is where we are now.

The discussion about budgets did, however, prompt me to write out how I plan to spend my $200.  I got a free app “budget envelopes” and have created virtual envelopes to track how my $200 is spent.  For this week I am still buying 1/2 of the groceries with this money.  Thankfully it is a small grocery need week with lots of meals already available at home and with the kids at lots of events where meals are provided!  My $200 is broken down like this: 

$25 to clothing

$30 to kids

$50 to the van (gas and hopefully building up an account for oil changes and the like)

$10 to dry cleaning (so that I can get about $30 done per month and rollover the rest)

$25 to yoga (saving toward buying a package so I save more per class)

$60 leftover for groceries and “spend.”  My plan is to reduce that spend money each week as I get better at this.  

As of today, I have spent $0 of the clothing money, $15 for the kids ($5 to a scout event, $10 for two birthday gifts for parties), $40 on gas, $46.00 of the cash (of which $37.50 has been groceries), $0 of the dry cleaning and $0 of the yoga money.That’s $101 and have $99 remaining.  Of that $99, there is only $14.00 remaning in the “spend” column.  I really should not need more than $14 for things but my goodness does seeing only $14 there make you stop and think!  I REALLY want to have at least $90 remaining on Friday!  That would be so cool to go into the next week with that rollover fund starting! 

Another benefit I noted–yesterday I had to come up to the office for about 3 hours.  I brought 7-year-old DD with me and as we left the house she was suddenly hungry.  I DID remember to bring snacks but noted that this is a withdrawal process for DD and so…I agreed to stop for a snack and then as I drove to the office, she was in charge of inputting the deduction for that snack!  When she saw the spending money go from $18 to $14 she didn’t think much….until we were returning home and again she wanted to stop!  I reminded her of our budget line and she quickly said “we have snacks right here…we should just go home.”  She didn’t like it but WOW what a moment!!!  I must employ this method with the older ones ASAP just so they get the “hands on” part of it.  Although I recognize they won’t be nearly as cooperative or excited as she was about the whole thing!

So this is my newest addition to the process.  Steve isn’t biting on this one but he says he does have part of his $200 set aside.  I think giving each of us total control over the $200 is reasonable although I still don’t think it necessary.   Time will tell.

 


Grocery Success

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I’ve managed to shave about $25 a week so far off of the weekly total. I’m happy to report we did last week with just one gallon of milk…that’s right….ONE. Granted we only had the 3 younger kids but they were home all week for Spring Break! So, yes…this is a major! I made a big pot of pinto beans and we did all sorts of cost cutting meals with beans (chalupas, soup, quesadillas…)

I just returned from this week’s grocery store trip and found some HUGE deals! I’ve determined that the best time to shop our local grocery store is Saturday night. Around 8 pm they shut down the butcher department and often you can find the fresh meats from there packaged and marked down in the regular meat section. If I am lucky, I might find a package or 2 at a good price. Well, tonight I hit the butcher closing time AND a “reduced for quick sale” jackpot and got lean ground sirloin (93/7) for 99 cents a pound!!!! I bought 13 lbs and will cook some tomorrow, then freeze for later use. There were also some great deals on chicken tenders and ground turkey that can be used for all sorts of options! Tonight’s grocery bill was $74 so that’s coming down slow but sure. We only have one major, family owned grocer in San Antonio (HEB? perhaps some of you have heard of it…) and while they are certainly a monster in the market that not even Walmart can begin to touch…and that has its drawbacks for sure, they do have these great meal deals offered on a weekly basis. They usually require the purchase of the main dish and then you get a TON of sides for free. Last week it was a package of beef or chicken fajitas for about $8-$10 and then you get the tortillas, lettuce in a bag, shredded cheese, refried or whole pinto beans in a can, sour cream for free. Tonight was a bag of fish fillets ($4.32) and I got a can of corn, a good size box of Uncle Ben’s brown rice and a large, family size box of mac and cheese for free. I stretch these items out to at least two, usually 3 meals.

Anyway, just wanted to share my grocery store success! Thank you for helping me “stop and think” in the grocery store. Honestly, when I found all of that meat on such great sale…my immediate thought was to take a picture of the price tag to share with all of you! I DO want to make you proud! LOL!  In the past I would not have thought about the best time to go to the store as I just went when I absolutely had to and without a great plan. I also wouldn’t have taken the time to figure out the timing to increase my odds of getting these great deals. That’s changed thinking and that’s a very good thing!

Oh!  And that $74 included my $11 John Frieda hair color.  I’m going for the foam on the first try since I had a nightmare last night that I got streaks of hair color down my face that I could not get off.  It was pretty funny as I sat in a work meeting trying to play off the black streaks all OVER my face.   So I guess that means the grocery bill was actually only $63!!!