Tackle It Tuesday: Household Budget

by Jennifer Banks

Our family has never been the budget friendly type. Impulse purchases and energy directed on things that are not priorities have left us with very little savings. Our bills are paid each month, our credit cards paid off – but the end of the month also marks the end of the money.  So as one of our major goals of 2013 is to buy a house (with help), I have decided to track all of our spending.

I have tried to do this before. I always kept a notebook in my purse, and for a week at a time it would work great. But after that I would slack off – I would forget to write down this or that… and eventually, my tracking just wasn’t accurate. So I would toss out the notebook and be done with it.

With more motivation, with more need-to-know, for the month of January I’ve kept track of every last little purchase and bit of income that our family has made. Being a waitress, much of my income is cash (you know that paper/plastic like stuff that people used to use to purchase everything they need) and tips are easy to make, easy to spend, and easy to forget about.

The app that I use to track everything is simply called Budget and is available for $0.99 in the app store. But there are many apps available to help you along your financial journey. You do have to manually add everything in but since it on your phone, which is likely already in your hand anyway, it just takes a few simple clicks.

I was able to customize my main screen for exactly what I spend money on: set up regular monthly payments to automatically post, set up budgets for each category, and I can even have special budgets for vacations or trips… which just happens to be perfect for my Saving For Disney challenge that I have given myself.

Budgeting Categories

Expense Categories: Groceries, Rent, Oil, Power, Cable/Internet/Phone, Clothing, DH’s art (he’s a painter and he’s building a guitar), Knitting, Gas, Household, Life Insurance, Restaurants, Treats for kids, Video games and Savings.

Income Categories:  Wages, Tips, Online Income, and Child Tax.

I have to tell you, keeping track of everything, every last little thing has been a real eye opener.  I can tell you that in the month of January our family spent $680 in groceries!!!  I never, ever would have imagined that we spend THAT much!   My goal for February is to cut that in half and not feel like we’re going without.

That is going to take some real work…using my coupons more effectively and meal planning will become a must. Also, getting two or three meals out of one.

If you have any suggestions as to how I can reduce our grocery bill, please, feel free to share them in a comment below! With two growing boys I can use all the help I can get!

What did you tackle this week?

Link up your Tackle it Tuesday post…

Tell us what you’re up to with all your other tackles – whether it’s a Christmas craft, housework or anything else – and add your link to your tackle in the Linky below!

We are Tackling Our To-Do Lists Together and making housework bloggable. Each week on Tuesday, we are posting before and after pictures of a project or trouble area that we tackled this week.

Find out more about how Tackle It Tuesday began. The project can be little or big – whatever you want.

Basically, Tackle It Tuesday is about giving ourselves incentive, deadlines and satisfaction in tackling all our tasks — whether household or otherwise.

If you tackled a project this week, just add a comment and add your link below.

Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Banks

Though I was born Jennifer, please don't call me that. It makes me feel like I am in trouble. Just call me Jen. Or @Jen_Banks if you are looking for me on Twitter. I am the mother of two insanely loud and active boys - 7 and 2.5 - who keep me hopping from morning 'til night. For nearly five years I've written at my blog, A Busy Mommy, about my life as a mom, milestones for my boys, and everything else in between. You can also find my posts on FisherPricePlay.ca, and I have recently taken on the Tackle It Tuesday column for 5MinutesforMom.com.

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