A blog about my journey as an athlete and a woman. Come step into her shoes...

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Challenge: Life on A Budget!

I am taking a break from my usual Make A Difference Monday post, to talk about something that might be effecting most of us, MONEY. We are all trying to figure out ways were we can live a fun and adventurous life, but not brake the bank! Well at least I am.

money

I always have my wishful thinking plans, like my Kauai Marathon Dream, or traveling to Italy one day with Hubby..but this is something that will come down the road. For now it’s time to be realistic and think about SAVING, and PLANNING. There are many areas in our family that we try and stay within a reasonable budget, do you?

1. Food/Groceries: Hubby and I try and spend a certain amount on food each week, and maybe even go under if possible. Because we only go out to dinner once a week, we feel it is very important to make the most of all the food we buy on Sunday. I sit down on Sunday’s and plan out our meals for the week, so that we have an idea of what we already have. A good number to spend is around $50-$60 for the two of us. Hubby and I both take lunches to work so that saves us a lot of Benjamin's!

2. Gas: This one is hard because we don’t have the best public transportation system out here to ride around on the bus, so both have to take our own cars. Hubby drives about 15 minutes to work, and me the same. But its the small trips here and there that add up. So right now I am trying to make less small trips as possible. THIS IS A HARD ONE!

3.Entertainment: We also have a small amount tucked away for entertainment/eating out. We only go out once a week and actually spend money. Right now we have been inviting folks over for game nights(free), or we will go to someone’s else's house and have dinner (also free).  It will also save money if you eat dinner at home first, and then go out for fun. For example, have dinner at home and then meet up at a restaurant and just have dessert and coffee. That way you can actually enjoy the dessert,because you didn’t stuff yourself at dinner and dessert is less. We try and enjoy as much of the environment around us, without spending money (one of the many reasons living in SO CAL is a privilege). If we go to the mountains we will go on a hike, and take a lunch. When we go to the beach we can ride our bikes for free, and have snacks that we bring from home. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT!

4. His/Hers: Hubby and I set a little aside every month to put in our His and Hers accounts(a very small amount) but we can do what we would like with it, without feeling guilty. I like to spend mine on races, and hubby likes to spend his on softball. We are not big shoppers, my shopping trips consist of buying a dish at Marshall’s for $5 and I am happy! I am not one of those girls that get’s my hair, and nails done. Maybe twice a year if I am lucky. I would rather get a running skirt then a Coach bag, you know what I mean? Right now I am saving all my extra money so that I can take it to Boston!!!!

5. Others: We know that things just come up, like birthdays, weddings, baby showers, etc….so we put some money aside for those as well. Or heck even a new BATTERY for the car!

6. Tithing: We try and always give 10% of what we make to our Church, not because we have to but because we want to. We want to support our Church as much as we can. I understand that not all my readers have a Church that they would be giving to, but I do encourage you to think about giving a percentage of your income to some type of charitable organization. I once heard a quote that said, “I’ve heard multiple professional financial planners (of any religion or even none at all) recommend that in order to be rich, one must first give a flat 10% of all of their earnings to charity. The way one explained it to me is that it subconsciously helps us see money as a tool rather than a goal in and of itself.”

These are the extra categories obviously, there are things like house mortgage, car insurance, electricity bill, school loans, that we pay also. But we have little control over those except to turn off lights, and water. But there always going to be there.

FREEBIES:

I am the queen of getting things for free if possible.

  • I work at my gym so I get that free!
  • Clipping Coupons it does save!
  • Hubby gets his gas paid for if he travels for work
  • Mom’s old purses and workout cloths she’s sick of I get to have
  • bartering( hubby does a lot of this)

I know that this is a food and exercise blog, but I wanted to let you all know that finances and budgeting is also one of my passions! Not as much as food and exercise, but it something that we are trying to get better at daily.

I love that OSheGlow’s is blogging about her spending habits, its encouraged to do my own weekly journal on excel as well……This week I was pretty good I only spent $6 at Bravo Burger(on a salad) and $8 at the bike shop for Gels, nothing else! We shall see how next week goes! It’s almost like another challenge, I think I shall call it March Money Madness!!!! hmm…we will have to come up with something. Do you need a challenge to get your spending hobbits under control?

What are some of your money saving tips, I need all the help I can get!!! I AM NOT AN EXPERT!

So with that all said, this weekend I am challenging Hubby and I to have a wonderful “staycation” but spend as little money as possible!!!!

Hope you enjoyed my installment on budgeting…..I will be back with food and exercise soon:) HAPPY MONDAY!

P.S Tomorrow is the last day to get in your comments for the the Naturally Nutty Give-Away! Contest ends February 10th at midnight!

***REMINDER*** Meghann's Blogging Bake Sale begins today at 11 AM EST.  Check out her blog for more information. All proceeds go to charity!

32 comments:

Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point said...

you give 10% of your earnings to your church? that is amazing (and a lot of money)!!!

Runner Leana said...

Those are fantastic tips! I think finances are on everyone's mind lately, so thanks for posting your tips. I'm terrible for eating out, so I'm working hard to plan meals ahead and bring leftovers to work.

Lacey Nicole said...

hmmm... i am really not good anymore at saving money. i used to be amazing at this, but lately i find i want to spend money, not really on myself, but on other people or for get togethers, presents, etc. the things i'm buying these days tend to be more expensive, because i actually have an income and savings now. what i have to remember is that i have a lot of expenses-- car being the biggest. and someday we're going to want to buy a house, have kids, etc. i think putting aside a certain amt of money into a CD or high-interest savings every month is a good start. and tracking your spending is also going to help you i'm sure! you seem very conscious and thoughtful about your spending though, so i think most people can learn FROM you, you are doing a great job.

Victoria said...

Nice post. We are crazy insane about budgeting at our house, now more so than ever with me going back to school. We have a set amount for every category per month, and we do absolutely everything in our power not to go over. I've gotten really good at the food budget, and entertainment is super low (thanks a lot to Netflix!) I would say for me, it's our MISC. category (your "other") that gives me the most trouble. It's always a birthday, or a car accident, or something else. But finances is definitely something I'm always thinking about.

Denise said...

So I'm guilty of not paying attention to finances AT ALL (I blame it on being married to a financial analyst) but I have taken such an interest since we bought our new house and are renovating. Andy always has, but now I too keep track of every dollar I spend. And while I'm not a big spender (no hair and nails over here, either!) I really started to only buy what I NEED. I'm finding out that I don't NEED anything. Last month I didn't spend a dime on myself (we also eat out only once a week and take our lunch every single day).

D10 said...

I always think it is good to review and write down all your expenses from heat, mortgage (rent), food, gas, etc. There are many ways to save, needs vs wants. I have found that planning weekly dinners helps save money when grocery shopping.

Christina said...

Yes, saving $ for Boston is a GREAT idea ;) When the time gets a little closer, let me know what kinds of stuff you and Matt want to do/see and I will help you guys plan your itinerary - I love having out of town visitors and am so excited to see you.

Also, we TOTALLY relate to the saving $ thing right now ... with only one of us working at the moment, the term "budget" has a whole new meaning. It's actually been a real blessing.

HangryPants said...

I think it's amazing that you donate so much to your church! Because I am only substitute teaching right now and have tons of school loans I am constantly worrying about my spending and trying to limit it as much as possible. Last month I monitored how much Mark and I spend on groceries so we could set up a budget and we ended up with about $50/week.

I also love the idea of the His/Her money!

Karen said...

Just stumbled onto your blog. I LOVE IT!

aron said...

those are awesome tips!!! my husband and i have been trying to stick to a budget lately too, its not easy but when you are on the same page it makes things a lot better. wish i could only spend 50-60 at the store a week! how do you do that??

Mica said...

Bobbi, those are awesome tips, and (whoa!) you put me to shame in terms of saving and budgeting. I try to keep groceries around $70-80 per week for me and the boyfriend, which is sometimes challenging. I don't know how you swing $50-60. You are amazing...which I already knew. :)

Toni said...

It sounds like you are doing great! It is hard at times to live on a budget, I am in the process of doing the same thing.

Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) said...

Bobbi - thank you so much for this post. My husband and I shared many a conversation on our budget this weekend. He is an EXTREME saver...never spends a dime, and so we see things a little differently. I picked up some great saving tips from your post. I like the idea of his/her accounts for "fun" purchases. I think I will suggest this to my hub. Thanks again!

Betsy in Pgh said...

Love this post! I'm doing something very similar with my bf - it's our "Eating on the Cheap Experiment." You can see some tips on our blog So far it's going real well and luckily we don't have a car so we don't have to worry about gas!

Simple and Divine said...

You are so deep, lovah! 10% to your church... That is just beautiful, and makes you feel like there is MEANING behind your actions... Meaning BEY0ND your own, and meaning that you know will touch the lives of others. Just Loverly <333

Happy Monday! [Yes, I'm one of those "CRAZIES" that love the structured weekdays...]

megan said...

These sound like great strategies! And way to go on the tithing - I totally agree :)

Erin of Care to Eat said...

I'm really impressed with your dedication to your church AND to keeping it between $50-60 - I need to work on that!

Mrs. LC said...

Wonderful budget suggestions. :) My husband and I have a budget system very similar!! I think it's awesome what tithing can do for your perspective of money, just like you said. And how much more perspective I got when I was unemployed our first 6 months of marriage and we still tithed off the husband's salary!

I have a question for you (more food for thought/ I'm looking for others' opinions). My hubs and I talked about taking our tithe money/ a percentage of our tithe money and setting it aside for a yearly mission trip. We both have so many places we want to go on missions to (I feel God has given me a heart particularly for Africa and India). Just curious as to your thoughts on this idea (you can send me an email back at mrslcblog@gmail.com if you want to instead of commenting).

Have a GREAT Monday Bobbi!! :)

Brian said...

I started budgeting a couple of months ago. Made a spreadhseet with all my bills, and a certain amount goes into a savings acount and the other is free spending money. It have been working out great.

Mark said...

You have taken up some great habits and given us all some good ideas.

teacherwoman said...

I think that this was a great post! And, I will probably make a post in reference to this as well... it's very important, especially with the economic crisis we are going through.

ttfn300 said...

Lots of great habits! i need to get better about my food spending, i like fun new things...

strongandhealthy said...

Love this post! Great tips!

Every Gym's Nightmare said...

great post! Im down fall is eating out- not so much big dinners or anything, but starbucks here, subway there. it adds up so fast! I need to get a handle on that!

Kelly Turner
www.everygymsnightmare.com

Marci said...

I like this post, and wow you are good at limiting your grocery budjet money!! How do you do that?!

Laurel said...

PLEASE tell me how you only spend $50-60 on groceries for the week. That is one of our biggest expenses.

I think the Salt and Pepper cashews have grown on me. I finished off the bag tonight. They were great.

What a good idea to put them on a salad too!

foodsthatfit said...

Thanks for the great tips! It is definitely easier to do if you have a great plan set out, like you!

Lance said...

This is all great stuff Bobbi! I especially like that you've talked about tithing - so important to give back - and help out those less fortunate than us!

Missy said...

I save money by bringing my lunch to work every single day. I also only eat out maybe once a week. If I am going to a bar, I try to pregame before hand since 1 drink in NY is 10 or 15 dollars!

The Three T's said...

A late comment... Of course budget is going to be important for everyone these days. I know it's especially important for us right now with me not working and us having a kid. But it's a good thing that I am also not a big spender, no hair appointments, no make up, no jewelry, no clothes. I am slmost always wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Well, now also a jacket or sweatshirt. :-) I think that eating is a big deal, especially with us having a kid. When it was just the two of us, we still bought the same amount of food for meals at home but now we just don't have as much leftovers (which usually went bad anyways) but eating costs more now with another person.

I am also a firm believer that tithe is VERY important. I know that when I start to worry about myself more and hold back from the church, then our finances get even worse. ** And a little sidenote for Mrs. LC - I believe that using portions of your tithe to save for missions is a GREAT idea! God wants you to use your resources to further His kingdom and that is definitely for Him. In addition, prayerfully consider that the body of Christ will also help support you on your missions. The body is a very good support. Don't forget about it. **

I've also found that only being able to spend cash helps. If I allow myself to swipe my card, then I will spend way more money than I intended to no matter where I am.

Kristin said...

I find it so hard to eat as healthy as I want to on a budget. I live with my bf, and he is all the time fussing at me about spending too much on groceries. But it's just more expensive to eat healthy!

I wish I could shop at places like Whole Foods more often, but it really does break the bank.

We try to shop at Wal Mart for groceries because they are so cheap and they actually have an amazing collection of all natural, organic, and no salt added foods. But it is still a challenge.

jessica said...

I know you showed your groceries recently, but is there any chance you could post an example of a $50 shopping list? I'm super curious how you eat such a yummy variety of foods on that amount. Eating well on a tight budget is a huge issue in our house.