The “B” Word

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B is for Budget.

Before we had a kid, I worked. Since we had two incomes, we spent a lot of money on stuff that we didn’t need. If we saw something we liked, we got it. Each visit to Target meant bags full of random stuff that we just had to have and couldn’t live without. I must say this though, we were debt free and made sure all our bills were paid and some money was saved before we went wild with the money. But still, the point is that we spent way too much money on random stuff. Wants not needs.

Can I just say how hard it is to break a habit that you have created over the past 7 years! I find that if I avoid any and all stores, sticking with a budget it easy. But as you all know that is impossible. We have to eat at some point and eventually we run out of toothpaste and diapers. So here I am, facing the bad, bad word…budget.

Since I stay home with our son now and we are down to 1 income, a budget is a must in our home. A big challenge for me is trying to stick with our grocery budget. I usually just grab a bunch of stuff that we need and then a lot of junk that we don’t and hope that: 1, the total isn’t over $200 and 2, that I got all that I need to make whatever it is I plan on making. Now that we eat healthier (which means no more frozen meals or boxed mac-n-cheese) and juice for lunch most days, we have to plan out our meals.

I remember my mom planning out meals and making lists and even taking a calculator with her to the store. That is me now. Today was my first strict budget challenge. That means that I have $100 per week for groceries. That comes out to 21 meals from Monday to Sunday. And since we are cutting back on our eating out, that means I have to make sure I have enough food to feed 3 people for 21 meals with $100. To me, this is a challenge.

So off to the grocery store I went with my list and calculator in hand. And…I did it! I was able to get everything on my list including some extras. And I was even $5 under budget! I am sure that if I didn’t have my meals planned and a list of items, I would have failed miserably.

So here’s to a new way of living. A way to discipline myself and to learn to have some self-control. Why self-control? Because without it, I would bring a bag of Mr. Baird’s chocolate covered donuts and some Pillsbury break and bakes home each trip if it weren’t for my budget. I could use all the help I can get, so if you have any helpful budget tips please send them my way.

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