The "B" Word

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?


  1. I clip coupons every Saturday morning and forget them every Monday! I like to shop sales and and stock up on deals. I noticed a really big savings when I quit buying clo.rox wipes and cleaning sprays. I've started using homemade cleaners with vinegar mostly. I've started using flat cloth diapers and wash clothes to to dust, clean and wipe up instead of paper towels and I switched to store brand paper towels, trash bags, dishwasher powder, ect. I picked up borax and baking soda to start doing laundry instead of tide and haven't noticed a difference since I still use dryer sheets.

    I feel all earthy for with my new greener ways but it saves a bundle. It makes me not feel so bad for spend bu-ku bucks on name brand shampoo or shopping sprees to Ann Taylor and Baby Gap!

  2. My best tips are stay away from the stores and from online sites like etsy :)

    Seriously, what you don't see you don't know you "need".

    For us the easiest way to cut expenses is to not go to the shops because there are clothing stores, restaurants, etc - all easy spending for me.

    P.S. You are very clever to get a photographer - good idea - i will keep in mind if we decide to do a birthday party. I want ALL the details :)

  3. Good luck with the budget. Couponing is great for saving money, but I can totally understand that you don't have the time. I've definitely slacked on it over the past few months, but you could save some good money on diapers by printing coupons online (there's a $3 huggies one out there right now).

    One way that we save money is by not eating out much at all...which kind of stinks, but it's made me learn to cook.

  4. I think the best way that we save money is by not buying certain things at all. I think people get caught up in the "I just saved $X on this!" game when, often times, you could have gone without it. I don't buy snacks (except kid snacks, like cheerios) or juice for the house. We don't eat out very often. I limit my Dunkin'/Starbucks runs. I rarely buy new clothes and for the kids, I buy used or on mega-sale.

    At the grocery store, I stick to my list. Menu planning also helps with not wasting food. Since I've started doing that, my weekly grocery bill is down about $20 with the added bonus of not throwing food away because it went bad.

  5. I don't any advice because in PR companies don't uses coupons (sad), we are a family with one budget that need to do a lot of things to try to survive and is a restricted budget for expenses.

    I'm trying to add some money with my store but I'm having some issues.

    Hope you receive great advices!!

  6. I would be scared to see my banner & the amount it told me.
    PJ is my budget maker and I stick to his budget plan (most of the time) and I am so thankful to him for coming up with it.
    Great idea about the photographer! I can not wait to see the photos

  7. Have you tried using Costco brand wipes? I used a coupon the other day and got 1000 wipes for $14. I love them!!! Let me share some websites. I love coupon clipping. frugalcouponliving.com, thekrazycouponlady, southernsavers.

  8. Hiring a photographer for their birthday party- seriously wish that I had thought of that!!! What a wonderful idea! You get to enjoy their party and not fuss over taking pictures =)Good Luck with the budget, that's always a tough topic for us as well.

  9. We had one of our family members that is a photographer that was "supposed" to take pictures for us. She couldn't make it...my pictures were taken by my FIL..did okay, but hiring one will be awesome. :)
    No advice on the budget. I spend more money a week than anyone I know..and don't know what to do about it but just try and not do it, lol.

  10. We are budget people, for sure!

    We've discovered that giving ourselves an "allowance" out of each pay check helps keep things easy - we each get a set amount to spend on whatever we want, and then once it's out, it's out. This goes for things like video games, clothes (unless the clothes are essentials) and things that seem ancillary.

    We also have cut out cable. We found we watch mostly local broadcast networks, and we just couldn't justify paying for cable anymore. But, we also have netflix and a DVR.

    At first, when we put ourselves on a more strict budget, it was a little difficult. But, the bank accounts kept growing, and we didn't have to worry about the "unforseens" hurting us for the month. We succesfully put away 6 months of bill money. Which is a HUGE accomplishment, considering the hubby was laid off last week...

    We also are "homebodies" and were never interested in going out a lot. That helps a TON.


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