Thanks to my friend Becca's inspiring frugality, as well as Vance's work on our budget, I am ready to compete with myself for a new adventure in stinginess!
You should really go over to Becca's blog and read this post on her family's budget this month...and be amazed. It will render my own goals this month less impressive, but that's the world I live in--under the shadow of Becca's greatness. :)
A little background might be helpful for the uninitiated: due to the fact that our family's size is inversely proportionate to our graduate school/piano teaching income, we've had a negative cash flow since I came home to be with Isaac in January of 2006. We've made it okay, but have been drawing from savings a little bit most months. I've tried to be careful with our money, but after two and a half years of living in the red, it has been easy to "treat" myself to a few extra expenses. To reward myself, you know. The logic is overwhelming. :/ That, combined with rising food/gas prices, some sermons on finances, and the fact that Claire eats us out of house and home, were adding up to some financial restructuring.
But I've been blown away by how blessed we've been! Because of a fellowship Vance has for his thesis, he's making more money this year, and our income now theoretically meets our monthly expenses. Shocking, really, and I haven't wrapped my mind around it yet :). On paper, we ought to be able to deal with our needs without going into our savings. Which means I really need to work that out in person. Wish me luck!
Now for the fun part...I'm inspired to try to cut some corners in spending this month to help offset a suit we bought for Vance (interviews coming up soon!), and to set aside some extra for Christmas. I'm not going to mess with food this month, since I've already bought two weeks of groceries and Vance made me a VERY nice birthday dinner which wasn't exactly free. So I'm going to tackle Miscellaneous and Baby instead.
So here's my challenge: to spend not more than $80 in those to categories combined from now until Oct 31. And to not go over my food budget, since there are 5 weeks in Oct.
A lot of stuff ends up falling in those categories--diapers fpr 2 kids, wipes, sippy cups (why have I not yet bought stock in a sippy cup company?!), kids clothes, cleaning supplies, toiletries, decorations, batteries, ink, you name it. Misc. adds up fast, since it's the catch-all category.
So here we go! I better go to the bank and get some cash so my credit card doesn't lure me into a false sense of self-confidence... :) I'll let you know how I do!