In conjunction with the Living on Less Than $28,000 A Year series, I will be sharing periodic Financial Updates. I won’t always give specific numbers, but I thought it might be helpful for those of you in a similar situation to have a little window into how things go at our house.
Our income for this month was several hundred dollars more than normal and it’s a good thing, because we had a lot of expenses.
I decided the first week of June to throw a surprise birthday party for my daughter at the end of the month. Our usual budget for birthdays is $50, but this child for various reasons has had fewer actual parties than her siblings and I wanted to do something special for her.
Thankfully my very good friend Kathryn graciously hosted us so we could have a pool party, but I didn’t have time to make everything as I usually would. As a result, I spent $120 on food, cupcakes and drinks. I did at least buy some store brands which saved money and we had the party in the afternoon so I only needed snack foods rather than feed everyone lunch or dinner.
I was also able to save on the party favors by using the nail polish and lip gloss I purchased on clearance after Christmas, and packaging them in treat bags with ribbon I had also purchased on clearance.
As I mentioned in my Save Money On The Go series, we had a super busy month, so in addition to the party, we had lots of “abnormal” spending!
We found out about a day camp opportunity for our girls that only cost $35 each for the entire summer (my oldest daughter is working as a volunteer counselor so she is free). This means more driving for me and a much busier schedule than I am normally accustomed to, but the girls are enjoying the group sports, swimming, field trips and time with friends.
I followed most of my own advice in the series, but we did spend $30 on dinner out ($12 came from the grocery budget) and another $37 on a few drive through runs for lunch.
We also spent $90 on clothing for the girls who had outgrown their shorts and t-shirts from the previous year. We have had a lot more clothing expenditures this year than normal. I guess they are all hitting growth spurts at the same time!
When I tallied everything up for the month, we spent $16.58 more than we made this month. That money came from our Freedom (second) Account in the car insurance category because it is the bill with the farthest due date.
Even though I was careful, being busier definitely cost us more money this past month, so I’m looking forward to reining everything in for July. We’ll see how that goes. 🙂
How did things go for you in June? Were you able to reach any financial goals you had set? Leave a comment and let us know.
We can all cheer each other on!
Bethany Olson says
I am just in love with your site! I am quitting my full time job in August to stay home with my toddler and also have a couple side jobs to bring in money and your site has been PRICELESS! You have inspired me to save more than I ever thought and I keep telling people about how amazing you are with your budget. Thank you so much!
Thank you so much Bethany!
We reached one financial goal… I was able to finally turn our finances over to my aunt and convince my husband that it needed to be done. He cannot be “trusted” with money, and admittedly, neither can I. We needed to do it. My husband’s paycheck will be deposited into an account that we have no control over and bills will get paid from that. Once everything is paid off and we only have our monthly bills (cable/internet, car(s), cell phones, rent, gas, electric, etc) I will feel so much better.
That being said, I will be following your blog closely as we try to get onto an even footing. Thank you SO much for all of your suggestions!!!
For those, like our family, who LOVE to eat out, why dont you check out of the library a book called ‘a treasury of top secret recipes’ by todd wilbur. It has chain restaurant recipes that may change your opinion of eating out. There are several meals my husband loves from places like red lobster & olive garden but i have been able to duplicate for a fraction of the cost. Then we still get the meal of eating out without the 100 mile roundtrip (we live in a tiny town of 15k) & the easy $50+ dollar bill. Just a suggestion! 🙂
Great idea Jessica–thanks!
Thank you for your site. I recently discovered it with a search. We met our budget and spending goals for the last two months. It looks like we will be underbudget this past month. We went on a food, fuel and needs only budget. We go to the library weekly for media. We cut out all large purchases. We have a great plan to pay down debt. I also sold some of the kids clothes at a resale shop that don’t fit them anymore. I will be sorting the house again for resale items or donations that we can also use to reduce our taxes a little. I look for every discount I can find. If we buy gift cards at the grocery store we can get extra money off our gasoline at the pump. We also check our credit cards for any deals and always take the cash. We use credit cards for all purchases so we can easlily track our progress online. We do weekly checks. I take inventory of groceries before shopping and try to make a meal with at least some things I already have in stock. Your site has given me more ideas. I am using coupons but not to excess. I only check the sites of the stores I go to and buy nothing else beyond the list. When we go on vacation- we limit the number of days we stay at a hotel. I go online and get coupons for places to eat before we leave the house. We have a yearly tax deductible museum pass that we can use in other cities for free. Many zoos have a yearly membership that can be tax deductible too. If you like to go often…you pay once and the rest of the trips are included. I love your binder! I started one years ago from Fly Lady but didn’t finish it….I am going to get back to it. Thank you for this site.
So glad you like the site Patty. Thanks for the zoo idea. I didn’t know that could be tax deductible.
thank you for sharing these posts. i’m at a different stage in the family thing, and the some of the ways i’m needing to save are different, but your creativity always pushes me to think of things i wouldn’t have otherwise. I am trying to help us out by saving money on groceries, and as someone who doesn’t enjoy preparing food, it’s hard! i usually don’t feel like looking in my cupboard, fridge or freezer before planning my menu. and it just helps a lot to hear from others doing it too. we’re in it together!
You are very welcome Bethany. I am so glad that you feel encouraged. 🙂
We have just started the “frugality” part of our life. Retirement. We are 61, I have been retired from nursing since 2010 after 32 years. DH was supposed to retire in November, but since we care for his mom, who is 90, he has decided to retire at the end of August. Our plans are to live of our SS and piddly retirements only until we are forced to start withdrawing from our retirement funds when we are 70. The hardest thing I have found is to not pick up that little extra while at the store. I’m subscribing to your blog to get lots of hints.
Welcome Wilma! I hope you find some helpful ideas here. 🙂
As soon as we got back from our weekend away we began our no-spend summer! I just had to take my son to the doctor and he needed some medications… but I got a $20 gift card for a new prescription so if I make good choices the rest of the month I’ll stay in our grocery budget still! I feel like June gave us good momentum! I’m also going through our stuff and selling what I can (baby clothes and whatnot) to do some basic work on the house (painting and such) as there is a slight chance we could move and this could help us sell it– for nothing out of pocket. And if we don’t move, then we’ll have a kitchen that is painted and not partially wallpapered. lol.
A painted kitchen is a good thing. 🙂
We sooo didn’t make our financial goal for June. My husband just retired from the military and started a new job this week. He will be getting paid only once a month from now on, so we have to re-learn ALL our budgeting, including groceries…I am hoping August 1, we will start to figure this out.
Sorry about that Erin. It does take a couple of months to get the hang of things when your budget changes.
Erin, an idea for your once a month issue (my stepdad is paid once a month). As soon as the paycheck is deposited, immediately move half of it to a separate account that isn’t as easy to access (like a savings account). Then, at the middle of the month, move the money back into your checking account. That way, it’s like getting two paychecks instead of trying to stretch the one all the way through the month, and the risk of spending all your money before the month is out is much lower.
Great idea Julie!
Your blog has been inspirational for me! Since following you a few months ago, I “cut the umbilical” with DISH Network 2, which will save us $80/month, and for our family of 3 (2 of us with food allergies) adopted your $100/week grocery budget . This has been a big, and necessary, change from my normal grocery shopping day hitting Walmart, Publix and Whole Foods. I have also given up fitness boot camp and now am working out on my own. Although not social, the additional savings is $120/month. Just these 3 things will put $300 back in our “pocket.” Thank YOU for encouraging me to rise to the challenge! Your ebooks are super, too. I have already started my price book 🙂
Today we are celebrating the 4th of July with your menu of country spare ribs, mashed potatoes, green beans, and watermelon! LOL
All of us who follow you appreciate you sharing so much of yourself!
Thank you SO much for letting me know Janina. It’s nice to know that what I am doing is helping someone. 🙂
Jennifer G says
my husband likes to set budgets on what he thinks our bills *should* be but when I start giving him actual numbers (and sometimes entire categories he has forgotten) it stresses him out, so our budgets rarely get made and even more rarely (if this possible) get followed. But we really NEED to get on a strict budget, especially when it comes to dining out. I take the blame for it a lot of it because I don’t like to cook on weekends. But my husband spent $270 by himself last month just going out to lunch on his own or with friends. So I will do my best to save around $100 each weekend by cooking at home, but I need his help too during the week. We are having another baby in November and since our insurance doesn’t cover maternity, we are paying cash, so that money that we spent on fast food last month really needed to go toward paying baby bills or buying baby supplies.
Hi Jennifer- I’m sorry that your husband feels stressed out by the actual numbers, but you HAVE to discuss what is really going on. If I were you, I would gently, but very firmly insist that you have a “money meeting” weekly. Talk about your goals and the fact that the baby is coming and you need to save. Listen to his goals and come to an agreement about how much you can spend on going out, etc.
In every couple, there is usually a spender and a saver, one person who is better at the numbers and one who doesn’t want to be bothered by “all that number stuff”–LOL. The trick is to make the money meetings short (15 minutes if possible), regular, and to really listen to each other. The saver usually doesn’t see the need for “fun” money, but if the spender doesn’t have some money to play with, the plan won’t work because he or she will spend money anyway.
This is a difficult situation and one that won’t be resolved without some effort on your part, but it is doable and so important, not just for your finances, but for the sake of your marriage. We were in a similar situation years ago and it really helped us to attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class together. It made it much easier to talk about money and it made Dave the bad guy instead of me–haha!
If your husband refuses to attend the class or to talk with you about the real situation, you will need to seek some marriage counseling from a pastor or other professional. I hope this helps!
Jennifer G says
Oh, it is not as bad as needing counseling, our marriage is very strong, we just like to eat out. It is a bad habit we got into before we started having children and haven’t been able to break. Fortunately, our only big problem is the dining out. My husband’s under-grad degree is actually in accounting, so he knows what to do, he just doesn’t like to do it. We do track our finances, but we haven’t gotten into the weekly meetings (though he used to listen to Dave Ramsey’s radio show ALL the time), so we know the basic points. We use envelopes for some things…Taxes, Christmas, Miscellaneous gifts (stuff like bdays, mother’s & father’s days, graduation gifts, baby showers etc that I didn’t used to save for), and right now an envelope for baby stuff. We also use cash for groceries & offering at church, but we just keep that in my wallet (in a separate compartment so it doesn’t accidentally get mixed with my allowance money), because if it was in an envelope, it would probably just sit in the drawer instead of making it to church regularly…I am a bit scatter-brained on Sunday mornings. Groceries have gone up partly due to prices and partly because of my dietary changes (diabetic on top of pregnancy) and I have not adjusted my cash allotment, so I really should do that. Gas unfortunately for us is VERY high. Like almost the cost of a rent payment high because we live so far from my husband’s work. But we would literally trade it for a rent payment if we moved closer, so for now, there is no good solution for that one. He drives a fuel-efficient car and maintains it regularly, so he gets very good gas mileage. My car is not as fuel efficient, but we still maintain it and I try not to drive more than I have to, we cannot afford to replace it right now. Both cars are paid off, and we are trying not to incur another car payment if we don’t have to. We have made adjustments where we can, lower-cost, pre-paid, no contract cell phone plans, changing insurance companies for better rates, etc. We pay for my inlaws’ internet and cable as part of our “rent” so we cannot drop either of those expenses. For him the problem is not that we need to spend less, but that we need to make more. And, I agree that more income would make life easier, but if we don’t figure out how to spend less, more income won’t get us very far.
So glad things are better than I understood. 🙂 Eating out is very tempting. I actually don’t enjoy cooking but I realized when we decided that I would come home that I better start liking it–LOL!
Sounds like you just need to make a few small adjustments and you just needed to talk about it. By the way, congratulations on your baby!
Jennifer G says
No worries, I should have been clearer in my first comment. It was a bit misleading, though I truly didn’t mean it to be. Thanks for the congrats on our baby. We are very excited.
Well, we are starting to catch up after prolonged unemployment. So, I just wanted to put something in savings even if it was 10 bucks. I managed to get more than that. Of course, my van broke down :(. This month I am going to try to get enough to have my dh come for a visit. He is working in the oil fields.
Keep going Heather! Even though bad things happen, just put one foot in front of the other and keep going girl! I pray that you will see God’s blessings and that things will turn around for you soon!
With that many unexpected expenses you did pretty good to only spend $16 more than you made. Our June was spendy as well, and I am hoping to keep expenses down quite a bit in July. I know August will be rough again with the start of school, so July’s 2 paychecks will be “no spend” for us.
Thanks for the encouragement Jennifer. 🙂
Mida Bias says
I did not find your site until late into June. But I have tried to apply some of the practical principles that you suggest. In doing so, I find myself looking to God as my provider. And trusting myself more in Him.
That is awesome Mida–Welcome!
Recently found your blog and I love all of your tips and how open you are about your family’s spending. We are also trying to find more and more ways to cut back and save more. In fact, we have decided to use this week to try to have a “spending fast” where we don’t go out to eat and spend as little as absolutely possible. It is amazing how quickly a few dollars here and there add up.
Love that idea Shannon! That’s a great way to save some money.
Amanda Sikes says
I am loving this series and the updates you are giving. It helps me to stop and think about ways I could cut back. We have been hit HARD with car issues lately. Inspections, tags, oil changes, ac issues, transmission leaks, etc. But I’m pleased to say that although we didn’t save quite as much as we had planned on we didn’t go over budget either. YAY!!
Yay for you Amanda!
Things did not go according to budget for June, but we are being very cautious for July. We are getting a higher pay check then expected, so we are putting the difference away. June brought a lot of unexpected costs, my vehicle broke down twice, and needed a radiator and water pump, and my husband’s motorcycle also needs a new part. I hear that bad things happen in threes, so hopefully we are ALL done for awhile!