Monday, February 18, 2013

On a Budget

I have to write this down to help me stay committed.
A few years ago, on the news, they talked about a blogger who had made the commitment, for a whole year, to not spend money on anything that wasn't needed.
I am tired of living paycheck to paycheck.
I used to have a blog called Budget Guru. I was obsessed with budgeting. I had it down to the penny what we would spend in the month, and how much would be saved. We did quite well.
My husband had a good job, and I ran a daycare. I actually brought in just about as much as he did with my daycare, as far as income. Then I had my 3rd baby and I decided to take a rest from daycare, to focus on just my own little family for  a while. I don't know why, but since then, I have been such a slacker when it comes to budgeting!
I tried to get set up on YNAB. I love the program. Everything is budgeted down to the penny, just like I had it on paper. I was just horrible at keeping up with it.
This last January, we spent a horrendous amount of money, haha. Oh it makes me sick to think about it! It seems like December and January will always wipe our account out. We have Christmas, an anniversary, 2 birthdays in our own little family, and a few in our extended family.
We have always put aside a fraction of our Christmas spending each month of the year leading up to December, so we will have it all saved up by then, but I am thinking we need to start doing that for January as well. February is a little crazy too.
It's a really sad day when you find out you have wiped out your overdraft as well.
So, in order to gain back my control over all this, I have decided I need to crack down on myself.
The best way to do this, is to plan.
I have my YNAB accounting set up again, and I plan on balancing everything on it, each Monday.

Next, I need to figure out what little things I can cut out of my spending that are not needed. Little things always add up to a lot.

Kids snacks, I think are a huge issue. I go shopping on Mondays, and have to take the 3 youngest kids with me. Every store we go to, they are begging for snacks.
From now on they will be getting allowance (from doing chores) each week, and if they want a snack, it comes out of their pocket.

Mommy snacks- Yep I end up snacking too. I am starting a yeast free diet though, and can't have refined flours, sugar, and dairy, so cutting out snacks for me is a must on a few ends. For me, I am going to need to make sure I get my fill on the greens, nuts and seeds, and raw veggies instead. Cutting out the chip bags, and Hershey's cookies and cream chocolate bars, I am sure will add up too. :)

Clothes- We have done this before, where we have a specific month that we can buy new clothes for everyone. This usually ends up being at the beginning of the school year in August, and at the beginning of spring, when the warm weather clothes come out. I haven't been very strict on this the last couple of years, but this year I am going to be. I plan on not allowing each person to have more than 7 outfits, so when a new outfit comes in, an old one goes out. This helps to keep the laundry down as well.

Less driving- We live within a mile of my daughters school, and could walk there on the warm days. It is starting to get warm outside again, so I am going to start eliminating my driving time. Gas adds up when you are driving a mile in the morning and another mile in the evening, every day. My husband already rides the train to work, so we save on gas money there, but then spend about $73 for train fare each month. In the warmer months, though, he often rides his bike to and from work, so that helps a lot. It's definitely doable, its  about 20 miles round trip for him.

Anyway, so those are some of the things I will be doing to cut my budget down this year. Do you have any other ideas on how to save on spending? I would like to try coupons, but we eat a lot of produce, and they don't have a lot of good coupons for produce for some reason. Feel free to comment away on your suggestions!

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