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My plan is to publish these monthly, at least for this year. The thought is that if I am accountable to you, then it makes sticking to our budget that much easier for us. Plus it is a good way for us to rein in our spending on things that we don’t really need. All of that being said, it is time to check out how we did with our budget in February.
Last Month’s Spending
I feel that it is best to start out with a reminder of where we said that our budget was going to be this year. We decided that our goal was to cut our spending down from $6202.00 a month to a maximum of $4600.00. This is the breakdown:
- Auto – $1100.00
- Food/Drinks – $800.00
- Bills – $2100.00
- Household – $400.00
- Luxury – $400.00
- Clothing – $75.00
- Gifts – $75.00
- Misc – $50.00
TOTAL BUDGETED: $4600.00
If you recall from our January budget, we definitely were able to change some things. But it is still far from perfect. We also had a few big ticket random one off’s last month, which threw the numbers off. Here is the breakdown from January:
- Auto – $873.00
- Food/Drinks – $703.00
- Bills – $2597.00
- Household – $155.00
- Luxury – $1967.00
- Clothing – $138.00
- Gifts – $141.00
- Misc – $16.00
TOTAL SPENT: $6590.00
We didn’t really like those numbers because we knew that we could do better. So this month we hit it hard and found new ways to save.
Spending in February
Since we didn’t have anything big going on this month, it made things easier for us. Of course, we still have 5 kids going through growth spurts, but there isn’t really anything we can do about that. Unless we stop feeding them, of course. Just kidding! Maybe…
Ways We Found to Save
We found a few new ways to save that we are pretty excited about this month.
We have been hearing great things about a new grocery store to our area called Lidl and finally got the chance to check it out. Now as somebody who is primarily a Trader Joe’s shopper (Yes, us Californian’s, I know!) I am pretty used to good prices for good food. But a lot of the stuff at Lidl blew TJ’s out of the water! We perused without the kids one weekend and it was pretty darn awesome! They didn’t have everything that we like, nor were all of their prices better than TJ’s, but quite a few of them were.
I have been purchasing my wine from Whole Foods because they have a brand called Three Wishes. It comes in at $2.99 a bottle and is actually pretty good for that price point. And over here we have a tendency to go with quality over quantity. Hello, 5 kids! But, Lidl had a brand that was even cheaper, at $2.59 a bottle. So we had to try it! And it was actually on par with Three Wishes. I realize that it is only $.40 cheaper a bottle, but that adds up. Especially at this low of a price point. I call this a win!
Along these same lines, we decided that instead of going out once or twice a week when the kids aren’t with us, that we will stay in instead. We both love to cook (obviously) and make craft cocktails, plus it is much cheaper for us to do it ourselves.
So instead of going out, we went to the grocery stores and wandered around with their $2 beer and $4 wine (a lot more stores are doing this now which is freaking brilliant!) and found goodies for us. We decided that this was the time that we could buy things just for us adults and make it special, but it would cost us a heck of a lot less than going out.
So far, we are really enjoying this change and it has made a huge difference in our food/beverages and luxury budget.
The other thing that we changed instead of going out is getting back into tennis. We realized this while we were in Jamaica. We both used to play and really like the sport but haven’t played in years. So when we came back we went to Play it Again Sports and picked up a couple of rackets and some balls. There is a park near us that has pretty good courts and also a disc golf park (because we play that too). We have really enjoyed playing both and getting outdoors. It has been a nice change for our wallet and our health. Bonus!
February Budget Breakdown
All of that being said, here is how our spending actually broke down in February:
- Auto – $1091.21
- Food/Drinks – $726.43
- Bills – $1769.18
- Household – $44.61
- Luxury – $183.76
- Clothing – $47.23
- Gifts – $0
- Misc – $30
TOTAL SPENT: $3892.42
Okay, I don’t know about you but we are pretty darn pleased with these results! We needed to cut our budget by $1600, as that was our plan. But, by really being cognizant of what we were doing this month, we did so much better. We were able to cut our spending by $2310. Heck yeah!
Now that we have proved to ourselves that we can not only do it, but that we can do better than we originally thought, we are pretty excited. In fact, my goal for March is to stick closer to $3500 for our total spending. I think that we can feasibly do this, especially because part of our issue last month was that we both had car things to take care of and there was an overnight trip for work that we didn’t know was happening.
Cross your fingers for us and we will keep you posted next month to see how things panned out.
How did your budget shape up in February? Are there still particular problem areas that you are fighting with?