Thursday, July 25, 2013

Budget Woes

Can I take a few minutes to whine about things I shouldn't be whining about?  Did I hear someone say yes? Ok!  I mentioned recently that my new job has meant tightening up our budget.  We have never really used the word budget before so this is a whole new experience for us. I do like the challenge of reigning in the needless spending but somedays I just want to whine like a big ole baby about it.

Like today.  I decided we would each get twenty dollars a week to spend on whatever we want.  This does not include the weekly groceries (one visit per week... if we run out, use your twenty for it), gas, emergency coffee (if we run out we will buy more immediately or someone will be severely injured) and bills.  I even agreed to buy my art and craft supplies with it so long as I do not have a custom order.

So here's what happened in my first week.  I went to my book club at my favorite restaurant in town. I decided to be smart and eat ahead of time to save a few bucks but since everyone was eating I hated to have nothing so I got this oh so delicious piece of tiramisu. I never get dessert so it was an inexpensive treat.  I also had a cocktail that I knew was pretty inexpensive.  Later I was drinkless and we were still going to be there for a while so I thought a glass of wine would not be too much (I hate how restaurants do not show prices for drinks and it's embarrassing to ask ((my husband says it's not embarrassing and I learned a lesson)) ).  Once my bill came I was surprised to see that it was the normal amount I would been billed before trying to live on a budget.  The wine was way more than I expected!  After tipping I was left with two dollars for the rest of the week. I thought surely my husband would understand that it was all an accident and I didn't mean to spend so much and he would ok me taking out a little more cash... but he didn't! He did not feel sorry for me!  And then I realized... oh yeah! That is what this is all about.  Boo! I came out on the losing end.  He hasn't even spent any of his money yet.  He is going to win this budget challenge. If we were on a reality show I would be kicked off by now.

I also mentioned that we are undergoing a lifestyle change with how we eat and my friend Hannah asked what kind of diet we are on.  I think the only way to describe it is to say we are on a "eat what's in the refrigerator" kind of diet.  We are totally guilty of buying lots of food and only eating half before we go out and buy lots of food again. We are giving ourselves a challenge to go as long as possible before another trip to the grocery store.  At first I thought we were going to be eating the scrappiest of the scrap foods but once I really looked at what we have I was blown away by how many foods were tucked away.  Luckily there was also a bottle of unopened wine!

I made beans for the first time ever from scratch and I felt super accomplished.  I may whine a lot but it's really just growing pains.  Making big life changes is hard but I know it is definitely for the better. I wish we had done this a long time ago.

Thanks for reading this long post.  I promise to be back later with something prettier and artsier and less whiney!  Have a great sunshiney day!


Hannah said...

I love the "eat what is in your fridge" diet! It makes you get creative with ingredients.

Blake likes to do visiting chef "eat what's in the house" with other people's random leftover ingredients and spices they happen to have. It's always fun to see what he comes up with!

Last night, he made a tater tot casserole with homemade cream of mushroom soup (canned mushrooms with the liquid mixed with 1/2 and 1/2, and corn starch), 1/4 bag of frozen peas, onion, garlic, spices, and some homemade sweet potato tater tots.

My aunt and uncle are about to move out of country, so we're trying to use up whatever is left in their fridge. Yum!

Good luck with your budget! It's hard when you go out to a bar or go out with friends. Frogman's always kills that...

robayre said...

I give you props to actually taking action and sticking to it. I always propose these same things to Matt, but then we never get past the proposal stage because even though he may agree he has even less stick-to-iveness than I do and I need someone who is just as excited and determined as I am to be held accountable to. Keep it up and keep sharing your experiences, maybe it will inspire me to actually take action.

courtney - larking. said...

Here's the thing about eating out: it's crazy expensive. We've been on a budget our entire married life and so we have a restaurant policy - if we've already made the decision to go out to eat, then we don't freak out about the bill when it comes. That being said, we don't go out very often, and when we do, we have lots of little tricks and rules unless it's a super special occasion (like a birthday, or you're at a new restaurant you've been dying to try so it's okay to splurge). The big one we have centers on drinks - that's where restaurants make their money! We almost never order them, but if we do, no dessert or appetizers. Sticking with water and having a glass of wine when you get home is a serious money-saver! Social eating/drinking is hard because you feel pressure to "keep up" with what other people are ordering, but just try to sit next to a pregnant person who is only ordering water. ;)

courtney - larking. said...

Oh, and the "no drinks" rule is also a great way to cut back on your calories - giant limearita, anyone? ;)