Saturday, March 19, 2016

Finding A Bit of Frugal MoJo


2016 has not been financially strong. The bills are being paid without dipping into savings, but we will need to take out to pay the IRS. Of course we know this is coming, so we have intentionally socked away DH's bonuses that come untaxed rather than use them for a spending spree. Despite the money being there to pay anything above what is in the checkbook,and the tax hit being about $3,700 better than planned, writing a check for nearly $1700 to the feds and $600 to the state of Minnesota makes me a bit sick. We've finished barely in the black in Janaury and February, and March will be close. April has the extra paycheck for me, but with paying the taxes, it's eaten up. This has caused some frustration for me-a lot of frustration. Spending decision we made leading up to the first of the year were based on yearly averages, responsibly, and there is no reason for alarm, I know it is just the mental psyche of entering the direct deposit numbers into the checkbook, only to see them depleted a few hours later after paying bills, that is disheartening. Even while knowing this is the lull for my husband's work, and commissions and bonuses, it's the feeling of no control that I hate. 

It is time to get my frugal mojo on and use very method, hack, and trick I've read about or used myself in the past to get out of the season of "barely black" budgets. This feeling of no control needs to be pushed aside and I need to take control. I am moving out of the gloom season to "keeping more in my wallet" season. Through the rest of March and all of April, I am going to hone in our spending to ensure whatever DH's pay is in April, it will go into savings. My pay must cover all the expenses. This means meal planning, no impulse buying at all, careful planning of the entertainment budget, and maximizing household products and resources we already have. 

A hack I used today, taking a cue from Sluggy, was not to overlook drug store coupon and card schemes to get things we need. I have a CVS card, but rarely shop there. I saw the ad had toilet paper and personal items at low prices with the card. I  scanned my card and got a couple more coupons. Not  a huge savings, but we needed these items and I estimate that even with Target sale prices, I saved $2.25. No money maker, but I'll take $2.25 back in my wallet and be happy. 

On the entertainment front I talked DH out of dinner and movie for our empty nest date night last night, and we got by spending $14 on movie tickets as opposed to $65 out for dinner first. I made a frozen pizza with extra mozzarella instead for $3.90. Martini nights out with the girls are over for a bit. Tonight I am bringing a homemade batch of cookies, Aldi brand crackers, and a homemade cream cheese spread with ingredients I already have, and wine club wine to a wine and cheese gathering, spending nothing more for the weekend's entertainment. 

We have been spending too much on eating out, and let's face it, that's done out of laziness and lack of originality. I can do better. I'm not going to feel deprived about this heightened self imposed spending limitation. Instead, I am going to take this as a competitive challenge. I know I will feel more in control with every little victory.

4 comments:

  1. Go get'em girl. I always feel as if I binge and purge with our budget. Mind you, there isn't a lot of extras but I still feel as if I can cut back. The food/gas/weekly budget gets me. I have $200/week and cant seem to stay under. No reason that we should be going over that.

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    1. I know there is a lot of room to cut from groceries and household-and eating out.I get lazy on utilities so might figure some self challenges there as well, like winning the battle over the air conditioning once hot weather hits.

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  2. Didn't think 2016 would be much different then 2015 when it came to money. Our income will be down quite a bit in 2015, starting in April.
    I had to pull the money out of saving to pay our federal and self employment taxes. But getting $200 back form the state of Idaho.
    Looking on how to cut a few more corners. But I'm glad the house is paid off.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Knowing the house is paid for is the best peace of mind. I feel like if finances ever hit truly rock bottom, owning our home gives us options. Still, I hate tipping into savings for anything short term-that's for college, weddings, and retirement, not groceries and meals out and regular bills, not yet anyway.

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