Two significant things happened in the month of November: I was able to stay under (if only by a few dollars!) our $375 food/household budget and start stocking up on Christmas baking supplies.
This is significant because I like to make cookie plates to give to family and friends and in the past, this has added a lot extra into our budget. But this year I’ve been using my new shopping strategies (outlined here), and stocking up before I needed to when things were on sale and using coupons. I started buying sugar and flour back in October (and that month the food bill was lower than ever!) and so far have enough of the following to start baking now (for the freezer):
- brown sugar
- white sugar
- powdered sugar
- chocolate chips
- Christmas candies for baking
Of course I’ll need eggs and a few more things like candy canes to crush and a bar or two of white chocolate, but for the most part, the shopping is done. And I can’t believe I didn’t need extra money outside of the budget to do it!
The other significant thing that we worked on this last month was moving over to a new tracking system for our budget. We are now completely computerized with everything in one place.
This might seem like a “duh” moment, but if anyone is familiar with Dave Ramsey you might appreciate that neither me nor my husband, The Writer, are “nerds.” Meaning, each one of us had (many) other things we wanted to do instead of budgeting, and since we are both creative types, we have a hard time wrapping our heads around the numbers and how things work on a spreadsheet. A big thanks goes to my sweet sister-in-law who set us up and walked us through the steps!
Now it’s not me writing longhand on paper and The Writer separately paying bills and neither really knowing what the other was doing. It’s all in one place, we both can access it easily, and we can “name every dollar” as Dave would say. We have found it’s more inspiring and motivating to see so quickly not only where the money goes, but where it stays- and then be able to apply the “leftover” money to our garage debt.
Once that’s gone, we can call Dave and say “we are debt-free!” Other than the mortgage.
That’s for another time.