Once upon a time, there was a crazy coupon girl who lived in my house. The crazy coupon girl then met her soul mate and added men’s razors and old spice and real butter to her lists, but stayed true to her couponing roots. Then the little crazy couponing baby was born and the coupons all immediately expired, or were unintentionally recycled, or were discarded unremoved from the Sunday paper.
When I was pregnant with Ike I was all like “oh yeah, I’m gonna coupon diapers and stuff and it won’t add that much costs to our monthly budget having a baby, I got this, I’ve been couponing since before couponing was cool!” What? Couponing still isn’t cool? Oh.
Fast forward a year or so and there is totally a Costco sized box of wipes in Ike’s closet that weren’t even on sale when I purchased them! Why? Because I cannot seem to get my coupons together when I finally have the time to notice that someone is having a good sale on wipes. And even if I do get both the coupons and the sales in line, by the time I haul my ass to the store they are out of the sale sized wipes because, thank you TLCs extreme couponing! Now everyone knows how to do this! And we have to go to Costco anyways because, wine.
I want to coupon again, I just started paying a tiny bit of attention to our grocery/Costco/Target spending and HOLY CRAZINESS BATMAN! Time to reel it in, nobody should be spending $160 in Target when the only things on the list are milk and baby oatmeal.
I came across this article on Southernsavers.com the other day (cause I was perusing the sale ads I had no intention of going to the stores to get the deals) and I felt like this was something we could use right now. With a kid in college and two car notes and Ike getting ready to start some daytime school-type activity soon, we probably need to pull together some mad money to stash away for unexpected (but sort of expected) expenses. We had a pretty nice emergency slush fund just before summer started, I’m not entirely sure what happened but it’s grown a little thin.
Right so the challenge, is to save $1000 from your budget in the month of September. That is no peanuts! Jenny over at Southernsavers gives us a lot of tips for shaving money off several different categories. We are indulging quite a lot in most of these, so I think it would make a pretty big difference if we corraled some of these things at least for a month. Let’s do this, then I can pay for our trip to the beach with the money we save!
Some of Jenny’s suggestions:
Clothing and Miscellaneous Expenses
Eat off the Pantry
In order to skim money from a budget, it’s probably a good idea for one to have a budget in which to skim. This was probably one of our biggest problems. We had a hypothetical budget that drew from a lot of projections about family life and living expenses with a college student and an infant. That was put together before college started and before the infant arrived. It was never properly updated to reflect, you know, real life! Until now.
I tried YNAB during a free trial and also read up on Quicken software, but in the end, I think that good old Excel works best for us. And it’s also free (or rather already paid for). Here’s how our budget is setup, minus the actual dollar amounts because, boundaries! See I am learning, sort of.
Each month I will copy over and adjust as needed the projected amounts, and then populate the payments as they are made. This way I can see what I have already paid as well as how close we came to our target. And it’s color coded for my personal enjoyment. I also have a thing for colored ink pens and highlighters.
In the coming weeks I will add some posts about what we are doing to squeeze this new fangled budget to save up for our trip to Tybee Island. Yay!