It's actually not as hard as I thought it was going to be. At the beginning of December we decided it was time to start hoarding our money in hopes to buy a house in the next year. Fast forward one month and we are buying a house now!
The main reason for this budget lifestyle is that we were throwing too much money around. $75 target runs, $15 at CVS, multiple trips to the grocery store a week at $50 a pop. We were not being smart about our spending and decided to create a budget to keep us on track. We sat down and broke up our spending into categories. We gave ourselves a "personal spending" amount every month. This would be our hair cuts, extra clothes, special snacks just for us, drinks with friends, anything that wasn't an absolute need.
I will say that December was, in the words of most of my students, an epic fail! Who's idea was it to start a budget the month of my annual girls Christmas trip....oh yeah, mine. Two tanks of gas, multiple meals out, drinks, ice skating, gifts, my "personal spending" for December was spend by the 5th. I cried...a lot. Mainly because I felt like this was a mini competition and I had lost and I hate losing! So in January I vowed to stay out of Target and CVS (unless it was an emergency). I left the house on a mission....
I will keep my wallet in my purse.
I was $160 under budget for January...I WIN! But not really because I was so far over budget in December I almost broke even.
We are still tweaking things here and there. Making sure we can realistically live on X amount for food a month. Our monthly grocery budget seemed very realistic but I found myself going over about $5 week. I would make my list and stick to it not getting any extra goodies or treats. We cut out the beer and wine, and this is huge because we frequent that aisle. I just felt like our only grocery store option was too expensive. $20 extra a month was cutting into my decorating budget. Something must be done.
Are you familiar with Aldi? Honestly I had not heard good things about this establishment and had written it off completely. Paying a quarter for a grocery cart, bringing your own bags, less selection....not a huge sell. But in an effort to save for my new decorating projects I will try anything.
Aldi, thank you for helping me reach my dream of a new couch for our sitting room.
Cons: It's small. Less selection on pre-packaged items. No deli (I cannot eat pre-packaged lunch meat...it makes me gag). No out of season produce. Skim milk only comes in a gallon. No magazines to flip through while you are in line.
Pros: I can wear work-out pants, Uggs, and no make-up and rest at ease I wont see anyone who knows me. I get to use my super cute reusable grocery bags and help the environment and look cute doing it. Cook healthier fresh food from produce that is in season, thus helping the environment. We are cooking less instant dinners packed with preservatives and sodium. I am drinking more milk. We are planning our meals more carefully to use what we have in the fridge and pantry. I use my previous magazine time to catch up on my Word Jewel game I have been neglecting so much. AND....
I am saving lots of money so my husband will let me buy things I want!