Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making A Budget

I'm on a mission. While I was on vacation, I did some spreadsheets, and took a close look at the family budget, and realized some serious changes have to be made. I have not received a raise at work for the past couple of years, so my income is not adjusting with everything around me that is continuing to cost more and more. Our family's cell phone bill used to be about $150 per month. Now it is nearly $300 per month. Our gas & electric bill used to be about $150. Now it averages around $300. The cable/phone/internet bundle is now about $190 per month. Some changes have to be made. For starters, I discontinued the land line phone. I've had a lot of people tell me I'll be sorry in the event of an emergency, but my close neighbors still have one, and I'm sure I could use theirs if cell phone towers were inoperable. I also discontinued our home security service. I hope this will not prompt anyone to come break in my house. I downgraded our cell phone minutes. I cancelled the part of Netflix that allows me to receive DVDs. These changes have saved me about $100 per month. It's a start.

Next, my coworkers and I usually go out for Happy Hour on Fridays. We've decided to start bringing our own booze, and taking the party to someone's house. This has potential to save a bunch of money, but comes at a big price. Kids don't care if Mommy is having Happy Hour. If Mom is in the house, they still want things. Plus, I have another very large obstacle when it's my turn to host the party. If Mr. Hyde decides to rear his ugly head, which he usually does, my friends become very uncomfortable. So while this idea saves about $80 per month, I'm not sure it's going to work. This money saver is still up in the air.

I'm still working on ways to cut back. Eating out is going to be a major one. I realized I spent $13 this past Monday, on coffee, fast food lunch, and a dessert from the little bakery down the street. Doing that every week day adds up to a whopping $260 per month. This does not include family pizza night, and carry out on Saturday nights, which typically adds up to about another $250 per month.

I have a couple more places I can cut luxuries out of the budget, but first I want to see how these changes affect us.

But there are some luxuries I'm holding on to for dear life. I spend about $50 per month getting my nails done. I really want to hang on to that one.

So if anyone has any good budget tips, please share them.

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