Spending… Week Three

It’s Week Three and I’m once again, slightly startled, at the amount of money we have spent, when I thought I was being super careful. Apparently, not.

As I go through the receipts and consider everything, it’s apparent to me that we are being just a little too careless with some of our funds. Household and extras are really adding up. They are at 1/3rd of our 3 week costs. Almost $500. Quite the eye opener. Sure, I understood that those $10 here purchases and $20 here purchases do add up, but what I am really seeing is that there are no true $10 purchases. Every outing is an average of $28. Not $10. I am seeing the small purchases and ignoring the larger ones! Selective memory, I suspect.

Now I was pleased to see our actual total of the household expense dip considerably. Only $130 this week. That is almost a half the last two weeks. Not quite but real close. I attribute that to staying out of the dollar store and the local expensive grocery stores. I did not visit a single time. I waited until Thursday when we went to the big city and I did any household shopping there, at Aldis and GFS. (Both discount grocery type stores) And I took a list… AND I STUCK TO IT.

One thing I noticed was that Aldi’s and GFS do not have much in the way of money wasters. Magazines, knick knacks, little cheap overseas products. Now, granted, you might overspend a bit on a good deal for canned goods or a big box of hot dogs, but I think that pantry items are way better than another dumb magazine. And I didn’t even miss them.

Now, I know the idea is to spend normally, but I am glad that I found this one little issue and corrected it. (Taxes and a big electric bill are due, so hey, you find a leak in your sinking rowboat, it’s probably a good thing to plug it up fast.) And I did try to adjust the phone bill, etc., but that didn’t work as planned. I did finish the last of the web site conversions yesterday night so that brings the total of found revenue with budget slashing up to almost $400 a month! But, I did my best to not fuss with anything else.

Here are my totals for the week.

Gas for Blue 8%
Kerosene 7%
Feed 16%
Eating Out 17%
Household 34%
Extras 19%
Bills 0%

15 purchases for the week, with a grand total of $385 or $25 an average purchase.

And so far my 3 week totals…

Bills 23%
Gas 9%
Kerosene 9%
Feed 13%
Eatingout 8%
Household 32%
Extras 17%

And we have spent $1487 for the past three weeks.

(That kind of floors me a bit. I mean… well, I guess maybe not… I have thought that we are living on about $1800 – $2000 a month. I suppose that is pretty much in line with our projection here. Still. Seems like a lot to me when you consider we don’t have rent or a mortgage or a lot of bills.)

Hmmmm. Well, I can see that we are pretty good at the “extras” and letting them slip in. I think we need to watch that idle spending. Thrift stores or no thrift stores… buying stuff just to shop as entertainment and cluttering up the house, well, that’s really not a good way to steward our funds. And I think that we could run a little leaner on the household area as well. Our pantry is pretty well stocked but the problem is, we’re allowing our laziness to creep in and we’ll change our minds about dinner and either go out or go and fetch this or that odd item to make something we hadn’t planned on. I am certain that a good meal plan would really help us to curb that behavior.

We ate out 4 times this week. Two times were dinner. Twice, lunch. Now to be fair, in the past, we really abused this category, so I’m actually pleased to see that we were NOT being careful this week and letting the chips lay where they may. I will say though, that the two dinners were WAY more enjoyable and really economical, than the other two, expensive fast food lunch that really were not as enjoyable as the nice dinners out. Lesson learned? Ditch the fast food for the most part and enjoy a dinner or two out, at most. Perhaps just one. Make it a nice special occasion. Life is short and we should be able to enjoy it.

So… meal plan, eat nice once a week, no fast food, shop online for household items, no dollar store and expensive rural groceries. These are some of our new rules that I’d like to try when our next 3 weeks are over.

I’m pleased to see that our animal costs are not that high. 13% and considering that those animals feed us and provide some wares to offer (wool, offspring) I think they are not too bad of an expense. If asked 3 weeks ago, I might consider that they were a bit pricey, but know, I think otherwise. And this is in the thick of winter when EVERYONE is being feed a complete feed diet. As soon as bugs and green grass return, the feed costs should drop considerably.

Extras this week included a piece of horse harness, a singletree for Cody. It’s the wooden and iron power piece that the sides of his harness will attach to, that will then attach to a cart, a drag, a sled, whatever draft item we choose. I bought an used one off Ebay. $25. Brand new? Easily a hundred or more. So it was spending to save money! Haha… I heard that once called Spaving. Yeah. I’m the queen of spaving. Sadly, but true.

The funny thing is that I don’t even have a harness for Cody yet, or even know if he will accept it and all! Talk about getting your cart before your horse! But I knew it was a good deal and at the very very least, if it doesn’t work out, it will look awesome hanging on the side of the barn.

(Oh, justification for spending is just not pretty. Look away, gentle readers….)

And the other big expense this week in the extras department was a trip to Hobby Lobby…. where some fabric, some woodworking supplies and a big box of ceramic clay beguiled me and made me buy them. As if I don’t have enough going on that I decided I wanted to sew and make some little pottery pieces, haha… Oh well. My girls were excited and we will have fun with it for sure. Was it necessary this week? Ah, no. I was weak. I caved. I guess it could be shoes or clothes, or maybe cigarettes or booze… but it’s not. It’s craft supplies. And thrift stores. Oh yeah and horsie things. I am weak! (gg)

Well… it’s all good, and it’s a learning experience. I am sooooo happy to be done with the last of the website conversions. That really ices the cake for me. And I think…. I hope… that we should have the water fixed by the end of the week. We are waiting to find out if the ground is dry enough or frozen enough for the well guy to get his rig back in the yard to pull the pump. He said he could rush it, but that if we could wait a wee bit longer, it would be a lot easier. And I hope that ease will reflect in the cost. Sure. What’s another couple days after 2 months??? And after that, our only big blob on the budget horizon will be taxes… both property and personal. But they are reasonable, so I’m happy. Seeing a little light on the edge of the horizon. Sales are perking up over all, and spring is right around the corner! I’ve noticed a drop in energy costs, it’s just not AS cold and that is helping greatly.

Thanks for riding along on this budget tour… and I hope our honesty and examination of our budget will help you to consider checking your own. A penny saved is a penny earned, so they say. I know that we are going to be better educated for the experience. And if we can adapt even a few good changes, it will be for the better!!!

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of BuckeyeBluegrass.com as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


Spending… Week Three — 4 Comments

  1. Hey, Sherri. Congratulations on being so vigilent (and honest) about your expenditures. As I wrote earlier, I was really surprised at how much I was spending once I began to track it. It was mostly for groceries and regular household items, though, and gasoline. Funny thing is, I’m not spending on getting those little things that I ‘should’: like a couple cheap music cds from Amazon, or shoes, or a spring jacket. It seems hard to spend on unnecessary items like that just for me. But, I need to budget for those, just like any other expenditure.

    I hope you do get your well repaired this week! What an incredible luxury running water is. (:

    • Oh yes! It’s SOOOO easy to spend for the household… we might need this or that is a good price or whatever. I find really, that I’m overspending in that department more than the “treats”… I thought that the extras would be way outta whack and I really was a bit afraid that the animals were a big drain, but in honesty, they seem really pretty steady at about 12% of our income. I don’t think that’s bad, considering that we get a lot of enjoyment from them, as well as eggs and meat and products such as wool. And as the winter wears away, I think that price is going to drop considerably, since the sheep and pony and hens won’t need complete feed from us, they will eat the grass and bugs and all that the 3 seasons bring to the table.

      I just am thinking that a menu plan would be really good, because we have this weird pantry load of food, but sort of a willy nilly approach to using it. Like why am I buying meat when I still have meat in my freezer, in fact a ham, a turkey, couple chickens, chops, etc. I really should be rotating that meat through, and if I had a better plan, or meal schedule, I could.

      I’m learning a lot from this for sure.

  2. I agree it is the little extras that kill me too. The best thing for me is to have no drive days. Can’t spent any money if I am at home. That is kind of hard with the kids schedules though. I can try at least a few days a week.

    • Oh I love no drive days… but it’s hard to get them… I try hard but there are always little this and that things that make me get in the car! haha… It will be easier when we get the water fixed and we don’t need kerosene… those are two things that drag me to town and then make me think that I need to stop here or there! haha… Soon… sooooooon!!!