January: Get serious about your budget.


After having a few mild panic attacks in December (ok, possibly not mild) over money, I decided this NEEDS to be my first task of the year.  I attempted this during the summer, and kept having numerous things that threw me wildly off track.

This time, it is happening for sure.  I updated a spreadsheet that someone helped me with this summer.  I also made another tab, showing all of my current debts.  I am going to do the snowball method to help get this under control.  The snowball method is working on paying off the smallest debts first, and then move towards the bigger ones.  The idea is that you feel a sense of accomplishment by paying off the small amounts.  Once I get a small debt paid off, I will add that amount towards the next smallest debt.

I have also tracked all of my bills that must be paid each month (mortgage, daycare, utilities, etc).  My left-over amount is $60/week.  Holy crap.

That means, anything extra that comes up will be coming out of that $60/week.  I am sticking to this by getting cash out, putting it in envelopes, and then leaving debit card/credit card at home.  I am really nervous to set this in action.  $60/week is not going to cover much.  I am hoping that by planning out meals a bit more, I am able to keep the weekly grocery bill down.  I also will have to look for more coupons and discounts.

Basically, the only shopping I will be doing is going to be on gift cards I currently have (which isn’t much), and looks like I won’t be going out to eat unless I can find some “kids eat free” deals.

If there is something extra I need, I will try and come up with the money by selling things we no longer use, working harder at getting sponsors for the blog, etc.  Any suggestions on how to make a bit of extra money?


18 Thoughts on “January Resolution: Budget

  1. I need to follow a budget better. December was pretty bad. Higher heating bills during the winter sure doesn’t help

    • sliceofmudpie@gmail.com on January 5, 2015 at 6:47 am said:

      I just got my utility bill and was thinking the same thing. Holy smokes.

  2. I started grocery shopping at Aldi’s and it helped my budget tremendously! And I really haven’t noticed a huge difference in most of the products.

    • sliceofmudpie@gmail.com on January 5, 2015 at 5:05 pm said:

      I have heard that. Do you get produce and meat from there? Do you need to bring your own bags?

      • Breenah A on January 5, 2015 at 5:27 pm said:

        That’s one of my main places to shop. You bring your own bags and bag your own groceries, but it’s a lot cheaper. Sometimes I get meat there, depends on the sales going on at my usual place (Dillon’s/Kroger) and I get a lot of produce there. Some items don’t taste as good as name brand (Ritz crackers, for one) but most things are just as good if not better. And make sure you have a quarter to use the cart!

      • I buy a lot of produce there. We get beef/pork from my brother in law, so I don’t buy much meat anywhere … can’t really offer an opinion there. some items are not always cheaper but overall it has saved us a lot of money. And yes, don’t forget your quarter for the cart!

      • I get grass-fed hamburger there. and get alot of produce too. They offer lots organic options through the whole store so I’m buying more and more there!

        • sliceofmudpie@gmail.com on January 15, 2015 at 8:45 pm said:

          I am planning on shopping there this weekend! Just need to remember my quarter 🙂

  3. The hubs and I started using mostly cash for our variable expenses (groceries, toiletries, personal spending money, things like that) and it is REALLY helping us to keep on track with our budget. It’s so easy to overspend when you’re using a card (either credit or debit) because the money doesn’t seem “real”. Cold hard cash is hard to argue with!

    Good luck on your budgeting/debt repayment. That’s what we’ve been focusing on and will continue to focus on in 2015. It requires hard work but is so worth it in the end. 🙂

    • sliceofmudpie@gmail.com on January 5, 2015 at 5:06 pm said:

      I am hoping the cash envelopes help! I am hoping that tax return money will really help me jump start it too!

  4. Rachel on January 5, 2015 at 7:53 am said:

    Try you need a budget. Although you have to pay for it. It focuses on taking ypu from living paycheck to paycheck and try’s to get you to live on last months paychecks. It helped me pay off my $20,000 I’m student loans in 7 years!

  5. Can you do budget billing for your utilities?? We started that about a year ago and it helps to always know what my bill will be. No surprises. Also we use space heaters (the safe kind) in several of our rooms to supplement the heat costs. It has been cheaper to use more electricity then to pay the heat bill. Something to look into! I don’t meal plan, but I have heard that can help with the grocery budget. I also read a blog post once where the writer basically wouldn’t go grocery shopping until she used everything out of her pantry first. Because they were throwing expired things away too soon…she had to be super creative for meals, but she didn’t grocery shop except for like milk for almost a month I think! I have not yet tried this myself though! 🙂

    • sliceofmudpie@gmail.com on January 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm said:

      I have thought about that, but my utilities are always about the same. The last 3 months it has been about $180 each month (that includes internet). I could not imagine using everything in my pantry before going shopping, but I only buy meat and produce a week at a time (might be part of my problem!). Sounds like a challenge 🙂

  6. Congrats on taking this on! I’m am a budgeting maniac….I still go over budget at times when necessary (like unexpected doctor visits, car issues, etc), but I know my bills and monthly costs to the point that I don’t have to look at my Excel spreadsheet very often to know what I need to do. Everything you are planning is spot on in my book and how I live, as well. I eat out VERY little, I don’t shop “for fun” unless gifted money or cards for birthday, and no matter what, I put $10 per week into my savings account. Doing it on a regular basis and weekly verses one big chunk a month makes saving seem manageable. Do I have to dip into it…yep, sometimes, but it goes right back in because I have it on automatic deposit with my bank. The other thing I’m doing this year is the 52 week savings jar. Each week I put the number of dollars that match the week into the jar ($1 for week 1, $2 for week 2, etc, through 52 weeks). At the end, there should be over $1,300 in the jar! I like little things like this to give me incentive to have some extra money while paying off debt and staying as frugle as possible. You can do it! XOXO-Kasey

    • sliceofmudpie@gmail.com on January 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm said:

      I have heard about that challenge jar! Maybe next year…I need to just get use to all this first!

  7. I love to budget. and I’m lucky that Tim is SUPER savvy in that area. I like it, but I’m also not the greatest at it. I’m good with money but sales get me and I’m the nto best at saving money and leaving it alone for the long haul to stockpile it. I do cash for groceries and eating out but I have so many auto payments (mostly everything) that I can’t do cash for it all because I need to leave some money in there for the bills and also misc unexpected things here and there. I get paid once per month so I try to have all bills come out as soon as I can so then I just have my extra spending money left.

    I’m on a major spending freeze because in Nov/Dec I spent WAYYYY too much and hate the total on my credit card statement LOL. My goal this year is to get the credit card paid off, rarely use it and also save save save for a new car! I want to be able to buy my next one with cash and not get a loan (or if I do, only a really small chunk).

    Good luck on budgeting and sticking to it for the whole year!! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Resolution Recap: January | A Slice of Mudpie

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