Budget: Checking in

Happy Hump Day!  (I know, now you have a visual of that silly camel commercial in your head now, haha, sorry!)  We’re halfway thru the week.  I’ve been so busy with work and Avery that I have no new pictures to share today!  I even rebuilt Avery’s train tracks TWICE on Monday night and didn’t snag any pictures of it.  I must be doing good with my resolutions, because my phone isn’t around when I play with Avery so I’ve forgotten to snag pictures this week.  I’ll have to grab a few tonight!

So, I’ve been meaning to give an update on finances lately.  It’s been a few months since I set a budget for us – one that, if we stuck to it, would keep our heads above water.  Moving to a new apartment, new school for Avery, and on one income now made for some big changes and I had to crunch numbers to make sure I could support us.  Well, I’ve been good about tracking my monthly expenses and I’m proud to say, we’ve staying in the ‘green‘ !! Meaning… I’ve made more $ than I’ve spent.  Bills are paid.  I put extra towards student loans.  We even treated ourselves a couple outings like movies for me and Chuck E Cheese’s for Avery.  We are by no means living frivolously, but we work hard and thus, play hard!

Setting a budget is all well and good, but it’s not effective unless you follow up with it.  I set a montly budget in October (right before we moved into our new home and Avery started at his new school).  So when November 1st came around, I began logging every penny that went in and out of my checking & savings accounts.  It sounds like a lot of work, but once I had a spreadsheet setup, I just updated it every couple days by looking at my accounts online.  It only took a couple minutes a week to maintain it.

Then, at the end of the month, I can reflect on what categories I spent more/less in so I can adjust the budget for the next month.  I even kept a column for notes so when I look back at it, I understand what some expenses are from.

So for November & December I did well and stayed in the green.  Christmas didn’t even throw me off budget because I used my holiday bonus to buy gifts this year (yes I kept a spreadsheet for that too).

When I made my original budget, I knew I had to keep expenses low, and increase my income. I kept our expenses low by only spending $ on essentials and cutting current expense (we don’t have TV or internet, I put my phone on my Dad’s family plan, etc.)  I increased my income by working overtime on the weekend days Avery was with his Dad.  It works, right?  Well, it did.  For the past month, the available overtime at work is very minimal.  Plus daycare tuition went up $10 a week, because of the new year.  So I’m keeping a close eye on my budget this month and I know it’s going to be the closest month yet (close between expenses and income) – eek!

We’ll make it work somehow though.  We scored a bunch of gift cards for Christmas that we are utilizing (Thanks Friends and Family!) and the cold/wintry weather has kept us inside so we aren’t going out much.  Plus, Avery has all these cool new toys from Christmas that we LOVE playing with.  Play Doh is moving up high on Avery’s list of favorite things to play with (Thanks, Dani & Bethany)! Plus, if you have a kid, you know the simple/cheap/free things in life are their favorite – like playing in boxes, cutting construction paper into snowflakes, or shoveling snow!
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Do you have any tips/tricks to share for spending less, making more, or staying on a budget???  Share!

❤ Meghan


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