Someone suggested I blog about our financial budget — thanks for the topic suggestion by the way — so I’m going to have to really sit down and think about it. We are awful about keeping a written budget or even a bank register for that matter. We hate seeing how we never have money in the bank! Plus, it’s hard to keep a book balanced when we normally have to write the check before we know the money is going to be in the bank! For instance, our rent checks are typically written out and given to our landlord the day before my husband‘s checks go in the bank! And, of course, that is our biggest expense!
Other than utilities, which we pay as much as we can each month without having them disconnected, our next biggest expense is simply food (and toiletries)! With a family of 6, you can imagine that we can put away some grub and go through TONS of toilet paper and such! My oldest two can eat us out of house and home … they are “growing” kids! My girls all like fruits and veggies, while my lone son is a junk food junkie! We have to regulate snacks around here! We can buy a “special treat” when funds allow … and it will be gone within a day or two! Basically though, we budget under $100 a week to feed us all.
Thus, we eat plenty of pasta (because it goes a long way and is super cheap) and baked chicken (not only is it good for you, but it is also cheaper than red meat and the kids all like it)! The only red meat we eat is hamburger meat … and that is for casseroles, spaghetti, Hamburger Helper and such. We typically just hit the local Walmart, unless we see a good sale at Kroger or Albertsons that we have coupons to match (when I find the funds to even allow myself to purchase a newspaper or am lucky enough to get some free ones through CL) and can’t pass up! Our biggest food expenses? YOGURT and cereal!
My kids (all 5 with my husband included) all love their cereal … and our 2 year old drinks 5-6 Danimal yogurts a day (or we can substitute plain ol’ milk if we’re out of yogurt) and our 4 year old enjoys Yoplait Whipped Yogurts (but this is also a meal for them most days … you know how toddlers can run forever on nothing). So, with the rising costs of milk … this is where most of our grocery money is allotted! We are always watching for a good sale on these things.
Gas is, of course as with most, a huge expense considering my husband works 45 minutes from home! Not to mention the toll expenses associated with getting him to and from each month! I keep pleading with him to find a new job closer to home (and with better pay) … but hopefully that’ll be coming within the new year! I never ask how much this expense is … I don’t even wanna know anymore! I can’t watch when we have to fill up! Actually though, we try to fill up before we hit empty that way we don’t require a small loan in order to gas up every time! I guess that we’re fortunate that we only own one car … that’s less gas to worry about!
Speaking of our one vehicle (a Ford Windstar), we bought our last 3 cars with cash. Thus, we have no monthly payments to stress over and haven’t in 5 years. We still have insurance, but we’re plenty over 25, married forever, and only have the one old vehicle … so insurance isn’t too bad! It helps that my brother is an ASE certified mechanic (and a pretty darn good one with a great paying job to prove it … and my dad isn’t too shabby himself)!
Now, how do afford “luxuries” such as cable and cell phones? Simple … my parents! We split the cost of each with my mom and those months we can’t afford the bill, she pays and we can catch up when we can! Another one of those “it’s all about who you know” things, I guess!
The only other thing left really is clothes. Most of the clothes we obtain are through hand-me-downs from either people we know through church or family of through free listings on CL. If we see a good clearance sale like at JCPenney or Walmart, we find what we can, when we can. Just depends on being at the right place at the right time! My oldest daughter has more clothes than she could ever wear … simply through hand-me-downs! Also a big plus, my mother is an excellent seamstress and loves playing around with new ideas!
We don’t eat out much and don’t typically buy impulsively. Well, my husband can be that way … but I am a bargain shopper and will debate any purchase, no matter how small, for days or weeks! We have only been to the movies 3 or 4 times in the past year and a half … and even then we wait until it’s at the dollar movie (or even better … 50¢ Tuesdays)! We are normally found just hanging out at home watching TV, playing games, cleaning (my husband’s favorite pastime) or simply talking about life together!
Nevertheless, I’ll really have to sit down and try to “put on paper” our master plan to blog about how we make it work. Honestly though, it is only be God’s grace that we have anything at all … and He supplies us each day with “just enough.”
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:19
Boy how things have changed since this first post! Colby and I now both work from home blogging, we travel all over the US, drive a different car every week and support our family of 7 with our blogs.