How my budget is working

I have been talking a lot about setting up a budget and using cash. So I thought I would take some time to go over how my budget and my new way of looking at our money is going. This time around, I will talk about how April went for us and how we are planning for in May.

So, I’ll just jump right in!

How my budget is working (1)

April was a busy month, and kind of expensive. We started right out on the 1st with getting some of the stuff we worked towards getting in March. Our faucet was broken (we had barely had it for a year…) so I needed that to be replaced. It had been broken since November and It was just getting worse every day, it NEEDED to be done! Plus, I gave my husband the incentive to buy a smoker if we met our goal and that was around $400 after all was said and done. So right there was $600 right out the door. It’s a lot I KNOW. But, honestly, we had months before when we couldn’t manage to keep even $20 in savings without over spending and needing to take the money right back out again to cover our awful habits and money lies. It was so freeing to be able to get something we wanted and needed and not have to worry about where the money came from and how we would cover the costs. It was right there, and there was plenty left over after.

We also spent the first pay period on a roller coaster of stuff coming up and coming out of nowhere. We helped my mother in law move and that was a good chunk in gas money (accounted for before hand, because of our budget!). We also need to do a home improvement project on our income property that will total around $2,400…. Thankfully it’s something we don’t need to do right away and so we can spend the next few months saving towards getting that finished up. So this almost became a REALLY expensive month.

I also need to change up how we grocery shop, at least a little. The boys must be growing, because I’m running out of snacks and lunches days before the next grocery trip. I’ve never had that problem before! I’m hoping I don’t have to increase the grocery budget, but I do need to make some adjustments to it. I think I’ll stalk the Sam’s club ads and buy snacks on sale there. Then I’m getting a larger quantity, and if I’m hitting the right sales, I can get the items cheaper by quantity than I can at Aldi. I’ll be trying that in may and see how that goes!

Last weekend, right at the tail end of may my car started making an awful noise! Turns out I needed new breaks… Thankfully our neighbor is a licensed mechanic, and we were able to get them done for a few hundred less than if we had gone into a shop.

Our savings goal for April was $1,086 and we were able to squirrel away $1,114! Until my car repir at least… so we were closer to $500 for the total of the month. But, you know how nice it felt to have the money ready to go? Even if we had taken it into a shop, we would have had the money to cover the repair. Something like that would have made us so upset before. And were right before the next payday to get our savings back on track, and were driving safely once again!

So all in all a pretty good month spending wise. There were a few things I wanted to accomplish this month with our student loans, but we put a large chunk of money away right away when we learned how much the improvement to the income property would cost. It’s nice to know that it shouldn’t take long to reach the goal now! Before really hunkering down on the budget, that amount would have made me ugly cry! There’s no way I could have figured out where to get that money from before the new budget!

Now for May! May is kind of exciting because it’s a three pay check month for us! But we have at least one large payment that needs to get wiped out! We have a best buy card that we used to buy a stove and fridge with when we moved into our house in 2017. Those were the only appliances we needed, and we decided to buy new with warranties and be done with it. Plus, best buy offered 18 months interest free with the purchase. The catch is that our 18 months is up in June… and we still have $1,000 left to pay! Our account lets us know how much interest will be added when the time frame is up and it’s currently at almost $500! So, the ‘savings’ from the very first paycheck of the month will be going to getting that paid off, and saving us almost $500 by paying it off early. So not including that amount right now our goal is still only $1,000 going into savings. If it wasn’t for the card though this three paycheck month would have brought our savings goal to $2,000! I also think I’m not going to do an incentive this month other than paying off the stove and fridge. I want that paid off and I need to save up some extra for homeschool curriculum, which I will probably start buying in June or July this year. We also have some vet appoints that we need to make soon as our dogs licenses will be expiring this year! Also, my husband will be needing to start buying some gear for his hunting trip. It never ends, even with a budget! Only change is we think about it differently and try to plan ahead!

How my budget is working (2)

There you have it! We’re definitely not perfect in our budgeting, but we get better every day. I do still feel like we could have done a little better this time around, we both spent our fun money each pay period in the first weekend, I went over on groceries this last time, we weren’t thinking about that particular car repair, stuff like that. BUT like I mentioned above, before doing this we could not figure out how to keep money in savings! Now we’re just thirsty to keep it going and put even more in. So I’m calling it a win!

A couple tips that I feel really helped us stay on the right track this month:

  1. Stay on the same page as your spouse! I don’t know if there will ever be a time I talk about money and don’t mention this.
  2. Try to plan ahead. Things WILL come up (like projects that have to be done that cost thousands of dollars, and car repairs…) and plans will change, but that just means you change course a little. When a road is closed that you weren’t expecting on a road trip, you take a small detour, not turn around go back home, right? Your budget is your road map.
  3. Keep a vision board on your phone screen. Wherever you will be sure to see it often. I know I need that small reminder to keep me from impulse spending! Big goals, small goals, savings incentives, whatever it is, keep it where you will be sure to see it at least once a day to keep that reminder in the back of your mind and keep you off amazon and out of Target!
  4. Know the difference between something you really want/need and something that is instant gratification. There were so many things I saw in stores this month and really wanted to throw in my cart. Looking back right at this moment, I can’t remember what any of those things even were. Obviously I didn’t really want them or even need them if I’m living just fine with out them!

How’s your budgeting going? Are you meeting or even making savings goals!? Let me know!

Until next time friends!

–Ashley

I love to bake!

 

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