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Spending free fall

February 16th, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Well as much as I watch our spending, sometimes it means watching it fly out the window. So I'm adding it to our spending and my Excel spreadsheet. Since this is the first month of tracking everything, I'm not being to hard on me/us. At least now I can say I know exactly where it's going, and after this month it will give me a better understanding of our spending and how to adjust our budget to make more of what we got. I can already see some trends and thus I need to start thinking about a plan and how to address these next month. Over the next week and I be looking at this and trying to come up with creative solutions and a plan. Something like a plan for each Sun/Wed it's just my hubby and I, and maybe set days for eating out, twice a month, maybe every other Saturday. I think if I have something set in stone and what we can spend on it I will have a much better chance of keeping to a budget and reducing our me/DH/entertainment/misc fund, which from what I can see now a lot of $ is going towards those funds and it should be less and redirected to more important things.

So two weeks left of tracking, then I need to tighten the reins and make more happen, more to saving, more to debt pay down, we need to get moving on this.

How does everyone else plan/budget each month for these items? Do you plan your month ahead or just set a certain amount? If you always have just a certain amount then how do you really know if you can reduce that or use less? What strategies do you utilitze?

5 Responses to “Spending free fall”

  1. Lost in debt Says:

  2. Lost in debt Says:

    To tell you the truth Jen, my husband and I stopped eating out because we just couldn't afford it. I am a good cook so I cook special dinners at home that would have cost us $100 a meal if we went out. Yesterday I had 12 people over for DH's birthday dinner with his family, we had waited a few weeks until everyones scheduled allowed them to come. Last year I took his family out for dinner and it cost me about $350.00 - huge savings. I took out all my chafing dishes and made a nice lemon chicken, wild rice, green bean almondine, tossed salad, rolls and an ice cream cake. I was cooking for three hours and clean up was another two, but it cost me less than $50 and I fed twelve adults.

    Regarding my budget, I use quicken program and the biggest offender is DH and his convenience store stops - last month over $400 - I'm having a hard time with him and his spending ... Of course $140.00 of that is cigarettes, he went to the doctors, took the pills and nothing worked!! I want him to try the gum next, he needs to stop smoking, he is a cancer survivor and this is not good.

    I have a hard time budgeting because I do not have a consistent income, so I have to plug in the expenses first and then when the money comes in I spread it out as far as I can. I work on a commission and you never know. I get paid for my work the month after I close it so I know this month I've closed barely anything so next months income is looking very bleak, I may have to go into my settlement account just to get by ... I was hoping the government playing with the rates would help, but I don't see any improvement yet.

  3. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    We get a certain allowance for those convenience store stops, hubster's cigs. We just don't do convenience store pops or candy on a regular basis, we just truly can't afford it. I vote that retirement savings is much more important for us.

    However, I do shop the discount barns, scratch & dent stores and try to keep candy bars 5/$1, candy, granola bars and el-cheapo pop around sometimes. We can have a treat a couple of times a week and I just try to toss something semi-regularly of that ilk into Hubster's briefcase.

    Not everyday, but he's got enough snackcakes and chips and other stuff in his desk so he's not having to hit vending machines and such. Here it would depend on the kind of work you do, where you live, etc., but with pre-planning even if you live in the desert you could always make sure he has a case of water behind the seat that you got when it was on sale. Right?

    Look online - hubster used to get a lot of his cigarettes bought online and shipped to us for much less than he could buy them locally. Not sure where he buys them now, but if he wants to smoke more than his allowance will provide then I guess he'd have to be bumming them from somebody - because there is no room at the budget-inn to give him anymore money for them!

    We try to limit eating out at a sit-down dinner to once a month. Although we did go twice in Feb, once was using a Christmas gift card. I've got Friday night set as pizza night and I will buy cheap cardboard pizzas at the grocery or make one from scratch at home (Tightwad Gazzette pizza crust recipe doubled for four peeps). Throw on a salad and it's a relatively cheap meal that the family here seems okay with. They try to make it convenient for me.

    Cardboard freezer pizza is not my favorite, but I can live w/it once a week. Doesn't have to be pizza but try setting up some kind of rotation and buy groceries on a semi-regular plan can help alot to cut costs.

    Maybe something like:
    Monday - Bean night
    Tuesday - Rice night
    Wednesday - Mexican night
    Thursday - Pasta - Italian night
    Friday - Pizza
    Saturday lunch - hot dogs, burgers or sandwiches
    Saturday supper - leftovers
    Sunday lunch - Chicken or Roast or Casserole
    Sunday supper - clean out the frig or a sandwich
    Sunday night after church - ICE CREAM!!!

    Good luck - sounds like you are ready to move forward.

  4. compulsive debtor Says:

    I first came up with a realistic spending plan by tracking my expenses for two months and recording every dime I spent. Then with the help of two friends who weren't in any way emotionally tied to my money, we came up with a spending plan that included an expense account for every person in the house -- this covered all those incidentals that you tend to rack up, plus things like haircuts and clothes.

    You and I sound like we're in similar situations -- a lot of debt and still desiring to live our lives. Realistically, never eating out again was just not going to happen, so the spending plan includes an eating out budget each month. We usually go out for a big late lunch on Saturdays -- in lieu of dinner, because it's cheaper -- and then we're usually too full to have dinner Saturday night. As for the other meals, I always come up with a detailed menu on Saturdays after I get the coupon printout showing what will be on sale that week. Then I do my online grocery shopping Saturday nights and have everything delivered on Sunday so I get the sale prices.

  5. jaiparis Says:

    Thanks for all the input, I'm tracking so I can come up with something realistic as well, I'm sure we can, and planning the evening dinners might help. The biggest thing is really seeing where each dollar goes. I think I will be able to come up with some solid numbers for next month. The one thing that is killing me is smoking, so LostnDebt I can see how that adds up, $140 per month is alot, good thing your hubby isn't a two or three pack a day smoker - because that alone would be about $400 a month. So I did go out and buy some Lozenges, as the gum always hurt my mouth to much, and I'm going to give it another shot. Not smoking and eventually not buying the lozenges will save me about $120 a month. That's a big amount and I just need to get this done for myself/health/budget. But I will be examining the other items of our budget as well.

    We don't really buy alot of snacks, since we both work from home this isn't an issue. It's the larger, entertainment budget part I'm noticing that we really need to rein in. So we have some work to do!

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