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.
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.
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!