2.12.2009

Budgeting



There are many (many) things I could/should be doing right now instead of this blog post... such as:

1. Sleeping. I could always be sleeping.

2. Prepping my YW lesson for Sunday on, get this, Homemaking. Can't wait to see how I tweak that lesson!

3. Sewing patches on my kids' jeans. Lesson to be learned: Skinny jeans are VERY cute on kids, but they rip the knees out about 3 months earlier than in normal pants. Tight pants + crazy kids = big holes. Bummer. Thank goodness I got a bunch of patches from Trav's dad about 10 years ago. I KNEW they would come in handy someday!!!

4. Did I mention sleeping already?

5. Scraping the glue off my table. I'm detoxing from a Valentine making marathon this afternoon. I'll deal with the glue, and dinner dishes, tomorrow morning.

But, I really want to quickly discuss budgeting.

So for the first time ever, Travis and I have decided to track what we spend and keep a budget.I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong. We are actually quite frugal. We discuss our purchases for months (years!) before going through with them. We don't eat out much, we clean our own house, and the amount of vacations we've taken that didn't involve visiting family equal 1. It was that trip to the Jersey Shore where we stayed in my parents' friends' condo.

But we've never kept track, or been sticklers for a monthly budget. So step one was to total and categorize the past 3 months of spending. And oh, was it painful.

We were both pretty shocked at the amount of money we've spent lately. Granted, we're in a new (largely unfurnished) house, and had Christmas one of the months, and had to pay about 2 K in boiler repairs. But still... we need to slow things down.

So I'm wondering, in these tough financial times, what are you doing to "trim the fat" from your monthly expenses? There are many things I'm willing to let go of, but a few I'm not, such as:

1. High quality food: Mostly organic, lots of produce.

2. At least 1 activity per child... right now they are doing swimming, but I'd really like to have Scout start piano.

On the note of frugality, and so you have some idea of what I'm surrounded by, the other day a friend and I were talking and she was telling me they were on a "spending freeze." Then about 2 seconds later she mentioned they were going to the Bahamas next week for vacation, and that she just signed her kids up for drum lessons. It's hard to NOT think you're super thrifty when surrounded by New Yorkers.

At any rate, let me know what you're giving up... and what you refuse to.

ps: Don't tell me to turn my heat down. If it gets any colder in here, we'll be wearing snowsuits all day long... and Travis and I will never be able to get out of bed!

9 comments:

Robin said...

Ummm... yeah, about that budgeting. I should get on that right away. I cannot offer any advice at the moment because in a moment of complete insanity, I ordered the Sven shearling clog boots two weeks ago at full price. Yes, I realize it is almost March, but they are really, really cute and so cozy. I will eagerly await all the great advice you get and try to adopt it.

autumn said...

Well, to cut costs. I highly recommend that you sell your two, perfectly capable cars and buy at least one 1980 brown Chevy truck. You really will be surprised at how affordable they are. Just DON"T be surprised when it breaks down 2 months later and sits in your driveway for the next millennia. Who really needs two cars anyway? It's so much fun to share and brings a certain 'spark' to any marriage!

Janice said...

I relook at our spending once a quarter and our biggest money suck is eating out.

Sally DeFord said...

Hey Sara, You know I love the book Your Money or your LIfe. The author says that just being conscious of where your money goes by tracking your expenses that you naturally cut out what's unnecessary. For me the gym membership is a no cut expense since it makes me so happy. I did at one point cancel our cable to save some money. Well that was about 3 years ago and they still haven't turned it off. I called once and told them i was getting it free and from that point on I wouldn't call again. The sin is on their heads now.

Sally DeFord said...

One more thing. Tightening your belt can get a little annoying at times thus creating what I call the rubberband phenomenon. You pull really right one month and it's a drag so the next month you end up snapping back and spending more money. Willie and I have created the concept of special money to avoid this. It's a certain amount of money set aside for each person that you can spend however you want with no shame or no blame. That's how I got around seeing Twilight so many times without using up all our money. Special money is so fun!

Yah Yah said...

Goodbye BMW
Hello Mini van

Mom said...

Hey! I thought we had a deal that you were going to turn your heat UP!!! Do I need to refresh your memory???

Maybe your family isn't going to Burmuda, BUT you ALL are coming to the beautiful Colorado mountains to ski and snowboard and stay at our mountain house. It will be FUN FUN FUN. Then you are coming to beautiful Boulder to R and R.

carrie said...

we should talk in real time...

Brooke Reynolds said...

We're having the budget discussion this week too. JR has been dutifully inputting all out receipts into his double entry accounting program and will be handing me my personal spending pie chart any day now.

I'll let you know how it goes.