Fifteen years ago, when I lived in a dumpy apartment on a tiny budget, I made it through nursing school while paying off debt and avoiding more by doing two things: working three jobs (on top of full time school!) and meticulously writing down every thing I spent and planning for every expense with a budget.
Now, I was still in my frugal babyhood then. I probably could have done much more knowing then what I do now, but it was still a fruitful time. On much, much smaller means I did quite a bit. By the time I graduated, I was engaged and we were looking for a house. Though the Mister made the down payment on our house, I was able to pay for closing costs myself with the money I had saved.
Last month we got a little off track after I screwed the pooch and knocked a cup of tea onto my laptop, losing my precious spreadsheet which had not been backed up. Learn from my mistake, folks! #1 Do not drink around your precious and expensive laptop, #2 Back up everything every day! I now am double backing up to my One Drive and Dropbox, because I am so incredibly paranoid.
It took a week or so to regroup though, and I lost my first few months of data. I stopped tracking for a couple weeks and need to get back on track- so here is my regroup:
- It’s the last month we will pay for preschool. Woot! That will save us $146/month.
- It’s the last month of dance class. We aren’t doing it again next year, so that will save us $48/month, plus over $200 in fees and uniforms.
- I am keeping my food budget at $400.
- Entertainment: We are breaking our $10 date night vow to eat at our favorite restaurant for our 10th Wedding Anniversary Saturday. Babysitting is free from Grandma and Aunt Noonie, and we will probably rent Deadpool on Vudu. We will probably spend $75.
- I am seeing Cabaret live next week. I will pay $5 for parking and my ticket is part of a subscription I payed for last year. I may spend $25 for lunch and dinner for my mom and kids afterwards.
- We have 6 medical appointments this month, which means $ 125 out of pocket.
- I had a $110 credit at the gymnastics center, so I signed up my daughter for a summer session to use it up.
- I have 5 work shifts scheduled, which means $270 in child care this month. I hope another shift or two becomes available.
- My son chooses pizza for his birthday dinner, so that will be $25-30 out of pocket.
- My family is in town for Miss E’s dance recital, and we will grill out afterwards at our house using the hot dogs I planned for the garage sale. That shouldn’t add to my grocery budget. We though of picking up BBQ, but I think we need to make the effort instead of spending $50.
- I am making a casserole out of things I already have for a Mother’s Day Brunch this weekend. Cost: $0.
- I am making cookies and Rice Krispie treats for school events this month, for maybe $3 out of pocket. We also will donate $5 towards a baby shower gift.
- I am using gift cards we already have for teacher gifts. Cost: $0.
- Our toilet downstairs croaked finally. He is going to buy a new toilet (we knew this expense was coming up) and we will possibly pay a plumber to install it. This will probably be a few hundred.
- I had to pay an unexpected $89 yesterday to have access to health assessment program for school. Ugh!
- I opted not to renew our children’s theater subscription for next year, since I will be writing a thesis when the shows are going on next winter. Savings: $100.
- We will pay for small group swimming lessons all summer twice a week for Mr J and Miss E at Aqua-Tots. We needed a very small student-teacher ratio and have been unhappy with the YMCA’s quality. A neighbor recommended this place and we are trying it out. It will cost us $300/month this summer, starting at the end of May. Gulp.
- Because we feel the swimming lessons are enough, we are not opting for camps this summer. This is saving us about $350 from our May budget.
- My sister Noonie and I are thinking about trying this voiceover idea for income, but I am not up to buying a microphone this month. I am going to keep reading and researching and come up with a plan and maybe try this over the summer.
- I try to save $250/month out of my work income, but I’m not sure if that will happen this month. Let’s hope I get a couple more shifts!