:::: MENU ::::

All about the Money – Tracking


We got all settled this past weekend, and it is glorious!  Everything is unpacked, we have far more space then we’d anticipated and the kids are fully engaged in building a fort up in the trees and tending the animals.  The twins’ 15 year old brother (they have additional siblings who were fostered and adopted elsewhere) came to spend our first couple of days with us and they had a blast!


My view from my kitchen.

Now it is Monday and I’ve been busy with work all morning.  Tomorrow I head out of town again for work, so I wanted to get this post done and ready for Wednesday.  Here’s what I’m thinking, a weekly recap of where my money (household operations account) is coming and going…

Here’s a small example of what I’m thinking, this is how my money has been spent since Moving Day, Friday, April 15th:

Week of 4/15-4/18
Category Amount Balance
Moving Day 339 339
Auto – Gas -55 284
Savings -100 184
Food – Eating Out -100 84
Birthday Present -20 64
Debt -40 24
Child Support 150 174

I started with the balance in my household operation bank account on Moving Day and went from there.

You will see my gas was high for just covering a weekend, but I filled my car and History Buff’s car up on account of the multiple trips we both made for the move. (I typically fill his tank up once a month and he covers the rest.)

We ate out three times due to the move. And I received $150 in child support from the little ones’ dad.

I also transferred my first 30ish% in savings. I know there is A LOT of controversy about the percentage post; however, one thing is certain, I MUST save.  This housing situation, as generous as it is, is only temporary, and getting to a good place savings wise is number one on my priority list right now.  I will write a full post on how that is going to look for the time being, but right now, first thing I do when I receive money – 30ish% to savings.  Balance as of today in what will be my primary savings account = $100.

Now what this doesn’t show is the $300 I spent on groceries when we moved in, I have been saving a little bit at a time for the past few months in anticipation of the day when 1) we moved and 2) we no longer received food stamps. The total in that savings account was just shy of $700 the day I went grocery shopping. So I anticipate being able to live off it until mid-May as far as groceries go. I am keeping it separate from my operational account so I don’t spend it, I just transfer it to the account at time of checkout.


  • Reply debtor |

    Hi Hope,

    Thanks for sharing actual numbers. I think that’s a great first step and i’m glad the kids have settled in well – they seem very resilient.
    Might I suggest you share a full financial picture? Are the household operating account and the savings account your only accounts? Are there 2 savings accounts (one for food and one for savings?). What is the balance in those? I don’t think you can get super helpful/applicable advise unless people have a full picture (or maybe you have it all figured out and don’t want comments?).

    Is this tracking of your spending a new thing for you? If so, then this is a great first step! If you’ve been tracking for yourself but not sharing on the blog then I’d say maybe start planning in advance instead of just recording your spending (aka budget :)).

    What about debts? Do you have any? Actually, I see $40 going to something called debt so you must – what are their balances?

    I agree that savings are critical to ensure you don’t get back into debt but again it’s hard to comment on the numbers without knowing what they mean in context. (for example, advise would be very different if your debt was at 2% vs 24%).

    Anyway, your view looks lovely. Can’t remember how much time you’re gonna be here but enjoy it!

  • Reply Jen From Boston |

    What a beautiful, peaceful view!!! Do you plan to or have you had breakfast outside? It looks wonderful!!!

    I don’t fault you for saving. I know up here to get an apartment you’re likely to need 3 months rent in cash to pay first, last, and security. In addition there’s moving costs, etc.

    I agree with debtor that it’d help to get a more comprehensive picture of your finances. I was thrown by the grocery money – it seemed to come out of nowhere. I think it’s a great idea to keep it in a separate account/bucket, but it’d be nice to know that’s what you were doing. And I’ve been reading you all along and I don’t know what your debts are. I may have forgotten them, but it’s just this big mystery which is odd for Blogging Away Debt. And, of course, not all debt is the same.

    Anyway, I’m glad the move went smoothly, and I suspect some of your expenses like dining out will decrease as you get settled in more.

  • Reply Constance |

    Congratulations on your beautiful new spot. I personally could settle in there for awhile. Have you considered making like a 2-year plan to stay there instead of leaving it open ended and “when I’m ready”? For myself, I know that when I have a finite date for things, they usually fall into place more, I prepare more, and I’m able to vision myself into the new reality. You’ve said that the owners of this property have said you can stay as long as you need to; take advantage of that. I think too much of your energy is being spent on pushing toward different housing when you probably need to focus all of your energy on your work. Especially since you’ve said you’re going to focus on your self-employment endeavors.
    On another note, do you go to food banks at all? When my daughter was young and I was living on a very tight budget (I ate one meal/day, but had to give her 3 plus snacks), I relied heavily on a local food bank for a 1x/month infusion and I was able to purchase 2 shares/month for $26 from Catholic Charities that provided about $60 in groceries. I had a vegetable garden and we ate virtually no processed foods at all. These prices are old – my daughter is 36 – but I’m sure that there are still similar programs out there. Good luck , Hope. You’re on a good track. Take advantage of your blessings.

  • Reply mindy |

    Yes!!! You’ve included actual numbers. It doesn’t feel like you are tying to pick a fight with your audience. It is much easier to focus on the content of the post with the way this was written. Thank you. And props on being able to save some $$$ in the midst of all the moving expenses. The photo was a nice touch. It looks so peaceful there!

  • Reply Denise |

    What a nice view. is that a deck off the trailer? If so, that provides your family with some additional living space (at least in the warmer months) which is an added bonus. Have you considered asking your hosts if they would be willing to rent the trailers to you for a longer period of time? It might be a win-win… you could live in a peaceful setting for a reduced cost and they would get some additional income. I know you said they told you that you could stay as long as you want, but it sounds like you don’t want to take advantage of their generosity, plus my experience is that these kind of open ended invites don’t usually end well when they drag on too long.

    • Reply Jen From Boston |

      That’s an idea, and she could likely avoid having to pay the first-last-security lump sum.

      Also, I could be wrong if she were there long-term maybe they could start a garden to grow their own veggies? That would both help with groceries AND be a great home school project.

  • Reply Jen |

    1) I think it would be helpful for an overall financial picture. I don’t know what debts you are dealing with but it would help me to relate to you on an individual level because everything is a bit fuzzy to me with respect to your finances.
    2) I think it is AWESOME that you have a living solution that is thinking outside the box. Honestly, I think this is a brilliant plan and, to be honest, I kind of envy it. Especially with that view.
    3) Single motherhood is hard so I want to give you praise for doing this on your own. Single motherhood with debt and trying to figure out solutions (without the input of a spouse or significant other) is especially hard. It always feels a bit unsteady to me. So, keep fighting the good fight! I think you are doing great.

So, what do you think ?