Friday, November 14, 2008

Since I Make My Living Studying Budgets You'd Think This Would Be Better

Money Saving Mom has a great post about how her family created and stuck to their budget during 2008. It’s a great post and she invites others to share their stories.

Our story is a little different because we are a two income family with no children so we don’t have the expenses that a lot of other people have. With that being said, we don’t exactly throw money around either. We don’t use credit cards. We bargain shop whenever possible. We don’t live above our means. This year we both made improving our home a financial goal.

I bought our house in 2004 as a single woman. I was raised by financially conservative parents and I was able to save up enough to feel comfortable investing in a house. I won’t say it wasn’t hard at times but it was worth it to have a home and to not be paying rent. When my husband and I married we decided to keep my house.

This year we were able to buy a patio set and new grill for the deck, do some landscaping, replace our outdoor lighting and redo our living room. We do all of our landscaping work ourselves and did the living room project with the help of his parents. See Home Improvements Category to the left on my sidebar.

To be able to do this we had to make a commitment to make the house a priority. Obviously, when one thing becomes a priority other things must fall to the side. For me, it was frivolous clothes buying. I don’t consider myself a clotheshorse but shopping was a past time for me. When I cleaned out our closets last year, I sent things to Goodwill that had never been worn or had been rarely worn. I put myself on a ‘clothes freeze’ vowing only to purchase clothes for work or if they were on clearance. I stuck with it pretty well I must say. I also began looking to ebay for cosmetics and skin care products.

Other things we have done consistently to cut back:

I try to plan menus out weekly. There isn’t as great of a temptation to stop off for takeout after work if I have a plan for dinner at home.
We brown bag our lunches. This is something new for Hubby but he has enjoyed the results.
We rarely use the dryer unless it’s for towels, sheets or t-shirts/undies.
We changed to energy conserving lightbulbs.
We open the windows during the seasonal transition periods instead adjusting the thermostat. We enjoyed many days with the central air unit set to OFF.
Coupons, coupons, coupons!
Go into the holiday season with a carefully mapped gift buying plan. This will be our third Christmas as a married couple and we’ve yet to get into debt for it.

I also read a lot of the great blogs out there and pick up the great tips that are offered. I have learned a lot in the past six months since I started blogging. Maybe we’ll try a more concrete budget for 2009!

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