Monday, March 30, 2009

Living within a Budget

So many times over the year I have attempted to live within a budget. I have done the math. I add up the expenses and add up the income. I have done the math trying to figure away to pay down the debt. Always looks good on paper but so hard to follow thru for me. This has been going on for over 10 years and here we are still living pay check to pay check. Nothing in the bank and the pay checks never go far enough.
Once again I have added up our income. This can be different month to month due to self employment on the internet which is lower than a year ago. Bottom line is expenses are more than any income that comes in. I go thru the expense column and try to cut it down. Gift giving is very small. Giving to charity is no where near what I would like it to be. Clothing budget is nil we rarely buy anything new. We have basic cable but we want some kind of entertainment. No movie channels just basic. We have given up the land line. Internet and cell phone costs a bit but that is part of the business. We do not drink or smoke any more so no expense there. The one bad habit I have is going out to eat. When we go out to eat we choose to eat at places that cost less than $10.00 each and then eat very little for breakfast and dinner. I do try to use coupons when we go out to eat.
I have been reading Mary Hunt's Cheapskate Monthly paperback that I found at a thrift store. She says there are three ways to change the numbers on your monthly plan.
Increase your income
Sell your assets
Decrease your expenses
As I have shared we are moving to Texas. Not only will this bring us closer to family but I will be working with family which will increase our income. I have been busy trying to get rid of the excess items we have on ebay or garage sale. I live in an apartment so can not have a lot of garage sales.
The only way I know that we can cut expenses is to stop going out to eat. That is what I will work on the month of April. Hope to get the food budget between groceries and eating out smaller than the month of March.
What is the normal for 2 adults a month for food? At one time I had a site that gave out the average for a family of 2, 4 and so on and the amounts for Frugal, Average and above average. I have misplaced this information. If anyone has it I would love for you to comment. I would love to hear how others are cutting their budgets in these tough times.
I know times are tough for us but then I look around and see those that are losing their jobs, those that have lost their homes and are on the street and shelters. No matter how bad things are for us at this time we have some steady income every month and for that I am grateful.

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