The Bare Bones Budget

Obviously, with Mr. Money unemployed, we’re adopting a bare bones budget.  Here’s our budget and what we’ve done so far:

Mortgage- $793.00 (Can’t change this)
Escrow- $220.00 (Can’t change this)
Gas & Electric- $140.00- Since we budget this ourselves, we currently have a surplus.  If things get really bad I can use up all the money in our electricity account and start contributing again when Mr. Money has a job.  I’ve started line-drying all the clothes and we’ve turned the thermostat down a little.  Hopefully those two things will help.
Car Insurance- $92.00- I can shop around for quotes but since we bundle our homeowners insurance with it, I don’t know how much cheaper I can get it.
Groceries- $300.00 🙁 I cut this a lot, and it makes me sad.  I am hoping we can actually make it on $300 a  month for groceries.
Cell Phone- $43.00- Mr. Money is going to take over my phone since he’s losing his company phone.  I’ll go without until I get a prepaid.
Cable, Phone, Internet– $145.00- I’m going to call to see if we can get it cheaper.  I have to have a home phone and we need the internet so Mr. Money can search for a job.
Gas- $150.00- We cut this a lot since there isn’t a need to drive every day.
Retirement- put on hold
Savings– put on hold
Health Insurance- $240.00- we have to pay this all ourselves now each month.
Dogs- $70.00
Water Bill- $22.00

I won’t lie, I’m really scared right now.  Hopefully he will be able to start collecting unemployment soon. He had three interviews with one company last Monday but hasn’t heard anything back yet 🙁  I think I’ll be less stressed once I know we’ll have some money coming in.  I’m still trying to come up with some ideas of things I can do from home to bring in money.

It seems as though everything I can think of is already being done or just not a good idea.

I’m hoping Mr. Money will line up a good paying job with benefits soon. The unknown is so scary!

Do you see anything in our budget you think I should change?

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Thinking About Christmas

We’re exactly three months away from Christmas.  Yikes.  I’m already planning because this is my first Christmas as a stay-at-home mom, and my lack of income is going to make it more interesting to purchase Christmas gifts.  I’m sure we’ll be fine though, and it will just spur me to be more creative.  Here are some things I’m working on to make our Christmas season a good one without over spending!

1. Make gifts. This is an obvious.  I need to get a move on this because if I’m going to knit things, it is going to take time.  And with an 8 month old baby, I’m going to have to find time first!  My plan is to knit a ton of dish cloths while I’m riding in the car and when I have some down time.  I think that will be the easiest.  I’d also like to knit some socks for people and maybe some new cute things for Penny.

2. Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a great way to make a little extra money for me.  What I do is use the search engine every time I need to search for something, and when I accumulate enough Swagbucks I cash them in for $5 Amazon gift cards. I am banking them right now to buy Christmas presents.  I think I may also get some Target gift cards so I can do some shopping in person!  I make sure to do some of the easy things to earn more Swagbucks too.  Sign up and start earning.

3. Doing an activity versus purchasing items for people. One of my best friends has two girls and we were discussing Christmas and how it’s going to be different this year.  We decided that instead of exchanging gifts (since our girls are going to get tons of things from other people any way) we’re going to do a special outing or make a nice dinner and spend time together.  That will be very enjoyable, and will save us each money and clutter.

4. Stashing away a little extra cash whenever I’ve got it. $20 here and there adds up, and I’ve been taking $20 from each paycheck for months now and saving that in our Christmas fund.  Also, when I sell things on Craigslist or online, I separate that money and save it for Christmas.

Have you started thinking about Christmas yet?

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Miscellaneous Thursday

For the past 5 months I’ve been a stay at home mom.  There are a lot of things that I’ve noticed over these past few months about our money spending habits.  Before I quit my job, Mr. Money and I enjoyed eating out frequently.  It was our hobby I guess.  Well, after we had the baby we’d find ourselves so tired that we’d grab take out or just go out for dinner.  Looking over our budget and bank balance, I’ve realized that’s got to change.  We just can’t afford to go out to eat like we used to and still be able to meet our savings goals and stay on budget.  I’m going to make a conscious effort to meal plan a bit better and make sure that we aren’t just being lazy when we go out to eat.  Maybe it would help to have a set night to go out to dinner?

I get the moving itch every few weeks or so.  It is hard having a baby and not being around family!  The reason is probably not what most people assume: I don’t feel overwhelmed taking care of the baby.  I prefer to be the one taking care of her.  I just feel like my family is missing out on watching her grow up and that makes me sad.  Sometimes I dream about Mr. Money finding a new job in Michigan, us selling our house and buying a new one up there with a few acres to grow food and have animals.  That would be fabulous.

We’ve got a nice garden growing this year, and that is thanks to Mr. Money. I can’t wait to be able to eat the yummy veggies right from our backyard. We’ve got squash, green beans, watermelon, tomatoes, red raspberries, carrots, beets, swiss chard, and broccoli growing.  Yay!

I am really enjoying not working outside of the home.  I feel like this was just meant to be and I am happier than I have ever been.  It is worth every sacrifice!

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