Oh, hello there! Yes, I DO still have a blog! I've been distracted by all the birthday hoopla, party preparations, and soaking up some extra family time. The birthday was wonderful; everything turned out perfectly-great weather, good food, decorations that actually got put together... It was definitely a success! I can't wait to share pictures, but it will be a couple of weeks. I hired a photographer to shoot at the party, so I wouldn't have to worry about getting pictures while trying to mingle and take care of things.
Thanks for all the sweet birthday wishes for my girls, by the way! I will have to show them one day how people from all over the world wished them a happy first birthday. : )
Now, on to this "B" word. No, it's not the one you might be thinking of, but it can be just as bad. The "B" word on my mind right now is...Budget. Budgeting happens to be one of my least favorite topics. Just saying the word implies restrictions, cutbacks, and all sorts of not-fun things.
One might think that we had to do some major number-crunching when we found out we were expecting twins. While we did worry a little, especially at first, money actually hasn't been a huge factor up to this point. Sure, we had the added cost of diapers and formula, clothes, toys, etc., which adds up quickly, but we were in a pretty comfortable position money-wise, so the added expenses didn't hurt too much. (Some things that did help in this area, though, were Costco-brand formula and Luvs diapers...we saved big by only buying name-brand when they were on a major sale.)
When we decided to move, we knew we wanted a house that we could easily see ourselves in for a long time. We realized that requirement might mean spending a little more than we had on our last house, but we felt we could comfortably manage it and that the extra cost would be worth it in the long run (especially if it means I don't have to move again for a loooooong time!). We came up with a price range, and the house we ended up buying was at the top of that range.
A higher house payment combined with the loss of some part-time income for Jeremy means it's time to face that "B" word!
Don't misunderstand...we are not in any way hurting for money or finding it difficult to pay our bills. We were able to build up our savings account quite nicely with the income from the part-time job Jeremy had, and we have a rule against touching that money. However, we realize that we waste A LOT of money each month, and in order to continue to build our savings the way we'd like, we need to get it under control.
(Appropriately enough, our online bank account access has started keeping track of our spending on the main account page. So when you log in, there is a big banner across the top, saying "Deanna, you have spent $_____ in the last sixty days." Let me just tell you, between paying closing costs, new house expenses, and the purchases we made for the house while we didn't have a payment, that number has been plain SCARY! Hopefully, it's on the way down.)
I have to admit, I'm actually kind of looking forward to working on our budget. It's like a game, and this time I'm taking it seriously and challenging myself to find little changes that make a big difference. It's silly, but in a way, thinking about budgeting and saving money makes me feel like I'm really a grown up! (I know, shouldn't being a PARENT to two children do that??)
I do use coupons and try to shop sales, but in all actuality I don't have the big time commitment that major couponing takes. Plus, I'm limited on grocery stores here (Publix, how I miss you!!), so there aren't great sales most weeks. So tell me, what are your best budgeting tips? What are the least-painful areas to cut expenses?