Thursday, March 31, 2011

Feed Me (An Update on the Budget)

It's been 3 months since I quit my day-job to work part time and start utilizing my passion for music, and about 3.5 months since Josh and I committed ourselves to a monthly budget. So, I though it was high time to check in and let you know the status of our venture so far!

There are some things I really love about budgeting. It forces you to really keep a record of the money you spend, so the feeling of "gosh where did all our moolah go?" really starts to dissipate.

I think that's the only thing I love about budgeting. Truth be told, we stuck to the budget for the 1st month and then things kinda went haywire. Have you ever tried "budgeting" a home-improvement project? If I had a quarter for every time we ran to Wal-Mart or the Home Depot for supplies, I would be an extremely wealthy woman. Or, at least I would have enough for a latte.

Also, I way underestimated the amount of money we would spend on groceries. We budgeted $160 (I know, it's ridiculous, but I used to survive on $10 a week in college so I know it's possible!). I'm rather ashamed to admit this, but in February we spent $214, and so far for March we've spent $250. Oops, there goes the budget.

Before I quit my job, I had huge aspirations of becoming a Coupon Queen and saving obscene amounts of money on groceries. I do shop with coupons, and it has definitely saved us money, but I've learned that it takes a lot of time and patience and isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.

So there's the "State of the Budget" address. I'm determined to cut our grocery costs back down again, so this month we will be shopping almost exclusively at Aldi's! Also, I'll be referring to often to help me plan out where to shop and what to buy! It's a GREAT resource, and run by a lady who lives right here in the Twin Cities!

So, have you ever felt yourself being beaten down by a Budget? Any encouraging thoughts or words of advice? I would LOVE to hear them!


  1. We're pretty much in the same boat! We found that even though we had a budget, it was hard to keep track of what we were spending.

    The solution? Withdraw the amount of money you agree to spend for the week. When the cash runs out, that's it. No more.

    We withdraw enough cash for groceries (we manage on $60 a week) and what we've allowed for "other things" like coffee, date night, going out with friends. We keep gas and emergency spending on the card. :)

    Oooh. I think I've just been inspired to write a blog post!

  2. Christina- That's a good plan! I think we probably need to do that too. We kind of made the budget and then thought "well, if we go over we won't die." But really, we need to stick to it more!

  3. I seriously heart both Pocket Your Dollars AND Aldi's. [and my latest post features you...b/c I heart your refashioned dress, too :-)]

  4. Ugh. I'm right there with you. We do pull out cash for our lunch/coffee money. But our grocery budget is totally out of whack. We've been experimenting with the Paleo diet, which is high protein, low carb (no grain). Turns out that's an expensive way to eat. EVEN shopping at Aldi! We had a long conversation about our grocery budget this week but we still haven't quite figured out a solution. I'm looking forward to seeing what creative solutions you find!

  5. Lisa- How cool! I'm glad to know other people who shop there and use pocket your dollars. It definitely helps with the motivation! And thanks SO much for featuring my refashion! I'm so glad you liked it. =)

    Cindy- You were definitely the one who inspired me to shop more at Aldi's! I hope I can come up with some more creative solutions too, it's amazing how expensive groceries can get!

  6. I've failed at the couponing thing too. Unless you are into extreme couponing where they practically pay YOU to take the food, it is usually still cheaper to just get the generic brand. Target has an amazing generic brand that tastes just as good (if not better) then the name brand and they have a generic version of just about everything.

    I haven't checked out Aldi's in awhile. I'll have to stop by there and compare some prices. I need to check out pocket your dollars again too. Thanks for reminding me about it. :)

  7. Megan- Good info! You are right on I think, it does seem like the generic brands win almost every time. I rarely buy something for the name, unless I know that it's better quality! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I am horrible with coupons, and with out a flexible meal plan for the week we always used to exceed what we had for a budget. But after a big financial whoops, hubby and I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class (it was $100 for both of us at the church and 13weeks long). I loved the fact that I now felt accountable to someone and it really helped us talk about money and our goals.

    I will say, it was a godsend. 2 months after we finished the course hubby was put on work shortage. So me being a stay at home mom and him only bringing in unemployment...well, we weren't able to send anybody much of anything. The class helped us learn how to talk with each other, creditors, utilities, mortgage people ect... its been almost a year, he's still on work shortage (mananging to work at least one week a month) and we still have our house, our cars, diapers, our dog and food. without the course, we'd be, well...not in our house.

    Good luck with the budget! Oh and are you gonna post a photo or two from Beth's fashion shoot? You totally rocked the corset dress!

  9. We gave up credit cards about 2 yrs ago. if we can't afford it we don't buy it. But I hear ya on the coupons. I would love to be one of those ladies that buys $300 in food and pays $5. But, it takes too much time. I just don't have that kind of time. Sooo, there goes my budget too......

  10. grocery budgeting is so so so hard!!!!!!! I'll keep doing my monthly coupon post as long as I can find ones for real food =) hehe

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  11. I tend to cook around sales now! Or I decide how I want to spend. I don't care about tuna so the cheaper the better but I do care about meat so I don't shop the sales for that. I have also been using this book I bought, 5 ingredients or less. I find that with less ingredients, there's less to spend. I'm not a very good cook so I know this doesn't help. I am getting really good at coupon cutting though!, and are some good ones!

  12. You know, I've found it has taken us quite a few years to work together on our budget (both stick to it faithfully) with a lot of trial and error on both of our (me and my hubs) part. Don't be too hard on yourself. Making mistakes and getting better is a part of life and marriage, just be sure to learn from them (: Don't stress the coupon thing too. I try to coupon when it's for things I need, not 20 boxes of cereal (that's no way to eat anyhow). Oh, and soup goes a long way on a menu for the cost(;

  13. For sure what would kill me in the budget department is groceries. I hate to make sacrifices in that area when I so rarely go out to eat. Doesn't seem fair!

  14. I struggle with the grocery budget too! I tried doing coupons like crazy; joining (which is a great site if you want to spend the time) and all that fun stuff but spending 8-10 hours a week on coupons/meal planning etc was not worth the savings and I actually save more money by planning my meals around the meat that is on sale (since that is the most expensive) and than only buying exactly what I need istead of spending money on coupon match-ups.

    For me, I keep a monthly calendar right on my desk and each day I write everything down. It's quick and easy. Than once a week . .. or whenever, I plug in the numbers to a spreadsheet to see where we are. This is the first time I've actually kept up with keeping track.

    Home projects are hard - we are in the middle of a kitchen project and I hate have to wait to buy hinges until I've saved up the money needed but it is better in the long run.



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