I'm Anka, mid 30s, mother of 3 month old DS and wife to DH, just going back to work after maternity leave.
Goals: pay off student loans and be completely debt free, mainly so we have the freedom to be at home with our growing family as much as possible. Save money so we can stay debt free and be a cash based rather than debt based family. I grew up in a family that was very poor almost entirely because of credit card and consumer debt and irresponsible spending, and I don't want my baby to grow up the way I did.
How we're going to get there:
1. Stop eating out three nights a week -- limit it to one meal per week, and be more intentional about it (have it be a treat and a real fun thing, rather than just 'oh, we don't have any food we want, lets go out').
2. Start meal planing. This month the goal isn't to cut back or anything, it's just to have a plan each week and practice sticking to the plan, shopping for the plan, etc. Next month will be when we start to try to reduce costs.
3. Start budgeting. I wrote a budget for this month again not really cutting back at all, just to practice getting an idea of where our money was going. It turns out our spending habits were so bad that it was impossible not to cut back. For instance, we had over $100/month of recurring payments for services that we didn't even know we had!!! cha-ching!
4. Quit impulse spending. If it ain't on the budget, it ain't happening.
5. Try to pick up a couple of extra shifts this month
6. start debt snowball
: budgeted/no spend
: Impulse spending
: unexpected legitimate spending
Oct 1: $55 on groceries for the week. DH $8 on parking (which I didn't budget for... I guess it'll come out of gas money; he had to go to work unexpectedly).
Oct 2: No spend!
Oct 3: No spend!
Oct 4: No spend! It took some resisting today, too! With the cold weather I almost convinced myself that I needed to buy a cup of coffee. Then I realized that I shouldn't do that, it would be wasteful... so I should buy a mug and a french press and some ground coffee. If it wasn't for this thread, I totally would have done it, too.
Oct 5: No spend
Oct 6: Started out good -- took the shuttle to the other job site to save gas, but then got invited out for lunch because I ran into someone I ordinarily wouldn't have because I was riding the shuttle. I manged to just get something to drink, but $2.50 unbudgeted spending.
Oct 7: Budgeted. Bought some pantry staples and for meal plan for all of next week and most of the week after ~120 dollars (BJs and Whole Foods). Ate at whole foods (15.73), which I'm counting as our eating out for the week. DH is actually making the pizza for beer and pizza night from scratch! Thank God for Cook's Illustrated.
Oct 8: No spend. DH had to go to unexpectedly to work again, but we all drove together to avoid the parking fee. Made Derby Pie and had some when we got home.
Oct 9: I just realized why we're spending so much on groceries! I budgeted based on what we spend on an average month... but on an average month we eat out every other night. So even though I planned on this being a no-austerity month, I think we're going to have to cut back on grocery expenses. No spend, though!
Edited by AnkaJones - 10/9/11 at 10:58am