Monday, July 7, 2014

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

Today I will be sharing the bit of progress that I have made and share how I am attempting to reduce the financial hemorrhaging.

*52 Week Savings Plan:  Ugh...still no progress here.  The balance remains at $0. (That makes me want to cry a little bit).

*Christmas Jar of Change:  I am adding $1.75 to my previous balance of $89.83 for a new grand total of $91.58.  I am almost to triple digits.  I am so excited!

*Favorite Frugal Accomplishments:

The Victorian Ladies Drill Team - I may be joining them next year!

-On Independence Day I attended a neighborhood parade and listened to a fantastic band play in the park.  It was exceptionally entertaining and didn't cost me a thing!

-We were invited to two different friends Independence Day celebrations we were asked to bring side dishes to both.  In situations such as this I tend to decide what I want to take and then go shopping for whatever I need.  This time I made myself choose from what I had in the house.  In the food storage pantry I had two bags of sea salt and vinegar kettle chips (YUM) that I had purchased on sale, sitting on my counter for the last two weeks was a watermelon, and I had on hand all the ingredients for snickerdoodles.  So these are the items that I took to the parties and they were all thoroughly enjoyed.  I came home with no leftovers.  Well, none of my own leftovers that is.  My friends did send me home with leftover steak and pasta salad.  SCORE!  (Thanks guys!)

-We purchased our family fireworks on July 5 getting them at a discount.  (Although I must confess that I budgeted $40 for them and spent $46).

-Redeemed Swagbucks and Bing Rewards for a total of $10 in gift cards for Amazon.  I will either use these for Christmas presents or to defray the cost of educational supplies.

-My most important frugal accomplishment this past week was to establish a Deliberate Spending Plan.  I am truly fascinated with the idea of a spending fast/freeze and am truly inspired by my niece, Sarah, who did a 31 day spending fast in January and is now attempting a 60 day spending freeze; however, I know that such an endeavor for me at this present time would not be feasible but I do need to get the finances under control.  What's a girl to do?  I decided that I needed to set some very deliberate boundaries around my spending for the month of July. Here are my basic guidelines:

-spend less then $150 on gasoline (including that which is needed for the lawn mower).  We typically budget $250 for fuel.

-spending on fireworks is permitted but will try not to exceed $40 (Note: spent $46).

-clothing purchases will be suspended with the exception of the footwear that I know Maceo will need for his theatre camp.  (Note:  This was the original plan, however, I now know that I will exceed this by another pair of shoes.  I knew Christian would need new tennis shoes soon but, apparently, "soon" is now.  His shoes are presently being held together with duct tape.  A game of kickball on Independence Day was more then his shoes could handle.  However,  I have $10 in Kohl's cash and a 20% off coupon that I will utilize).

-the fair is this month and there will be expenses related to getting Bishop's fair entries completed.  I did not set a limit on this and will just be as conscientious of my spending as possible.  I did set a limit for spending at the fair itself.  The limit is $60 and will be a challenging goal to attain as fair rides and food are not cheap.

-Bishop will also participate in another Academic Fair this month and will be able to purchase whatever he needs for that presentation.  I am not sure that we will have to purchase anything but a display board though (I hope).

-money (whatever it takes) can be spent on GRE study materials for Christian (Note:  Christian found a friend who has just taken the GRE who was willing to loan him her study materials.  $0 will be spent! SCORE!)

-be deliberate about utility usage.  I do not have a specific amount that I am wanting to reduce our bill by but want to be very conscientious of our usage - keep a/c off when possible, turn off lights when not in use and I am going to try to air dry my laundry for the rest of the month!

-I intend on reducing my grocery budget by 50% for the month of July.  I will largely rely on whatever is stocked in my freezer and pantries for my meal preparation.  Because I will be getting a quarter of a cow next month and need to make room in the freezer for that I am highly motivated to get the stuff currently in the freezer used up, menus will be created accordingly. (This should be fun!)  Also, I have set a goal to try not to buy items that I can make.  For example, I will run out of laundry detergent during the month and, rather then buying more, I will use the supplies that I have on hand to make some.  The same could apply to tortillas, hamburger buns, etc.  (This should be an adventure!)

-I REALLY struggle with my spending when it comes to eating out and other entertainment.  I will really focus on controlling this spending during the month of July.  I give myself permission to go out for iced tea only while traveling to a friends house on July 4 (Note: I did NOT do this! Yay me!) and while waiting for Maceo to complete his vocal lessons,   I will dine out with Christian and Bishop only one time while Maceo is on his mission trip; we like to try new restaurants and types of food while the pickiest eater is not accompanying us.  (Last year we did Lebanese food and walked to a favorite Italian restaurant of mine that they had never had).  Already on the calendar were a girl's night out with friends and a day out with my sister, these have been budgeted for accordingly.  In addition to the above, I have given us permission to spend another $40 on entertainment.  This may seem like a lot of money being spent on dining out and entertainment but if I can accomplish this goal it will be a significant accomplishment for me.  My spending in this area is typically VERY impulsive; I am trying to curb that and become more deliberate and controlled in this area.

-I also give myself permission to spend no more then $40 on ongoing yard projects, $100 on finishing house-related projects that I have started, $100 on home education-related expenses, and $50 on Christmas expenses.  I am also allowed to spend money on getting an oil change and to buy a disc of photos of Maceo's theatrical productions for this last year.

-And, finally, I will take this opportunity to review all my current expenses and see what can be eliminated or reduced (i.e. insurance and Netflix).

Was that too much information?  It may have been but I now have it all in writing and out there for the world to see and hope that that encourages me to stay on track!

No comments:

Post a Comment