Saturday, February 1, 2014

Tax Season has begun...and Recap for Spending Strike

Tax season is here.

That means longer hours for J which translates into longer hours for all of us really. So far, so good. Only one sick kid and they are pretty much better already (fingers crossed it continues!) and playing video games and being silly so hopefully we're in the clear!

I got lazy on tracking, if you couldn't tell. I did end up splurging and getting us Chinese food one day about a week ago. It was soooo worth it and honestly, it was about $18 and fed both J and I for 2 meals each, so really it wasn't that bad when you break it down. In total, we only ate out 3 times in January. I don't even know how that compares to last January (I tried to compare to our January 13 statement but the bank doesn't store them and I didn't want to know bad enough to track it further than that.)

I do know, however, that this month, we spent around $570 at Target/Fareway/Walmart/Hyvee. That includes dog food, cat food, groceries, pull ups and the like. I know one of the trips to Walmart, we needed dog food, litter and Monster. That alone added up to almost $50 for that trip.

Now on to the GOOD part.

I made it from each payday to the next with money in my account. Like a decent amount of money. I was able to pay for the renewal on my tags. I was able to pay for a week of daycare ($292 that normally comes out of J's account) AND leave money in savings. We got a hair cut (Emerson) and bought a book. We bought EXTRA groceries when they were on sale (93% ground beef for $3/lb instead of $5, Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts for $2/lb instead of $3) to put in the freezer. I made a trip to Aldi's and picked up a bunch of canned goods. I bought 10 boxes of pasta when it was on sale at HyVee 10/$10 (with Fuel Saver points!). I paid some extra on our energy bill. I caught up our cell phone bill since we had gone over on our data around the same time Christmas came. I paid an older medical bill. While I may not have as much in savings to prove that we really did save the money, we were able to feel it in other ways.

Honestly, I'm ready to do it again. Our pantry is in decent shape and our freezer has a decent amount of meat. I've been batch cooking and meal planning to help prevent the last minute eating out. We've re-watching what we own instead of buying new movies on Amazon. We're catching up on different series that we stopped watching a while back (Breaking Bad, Dexter, Big Love). J is teaching me to play EDH. We're organizing things little by little.

Other impacts we've seen is that our budget billing went down for our energy (which I didn't realize until after I paid the bill hence the extra) because we've been conserving here and there--running the dryer less, space heater in the boys' room, running the dishwasher/oven/etc while we are home to keep the temp up instead of running the furnace, turning lights off when not in the room...ya know, common sense type stuff that we're not very good at executing.  Granted, I know this isn't just from January, but I'm guessing that by us working on this for the last few months, it will have had an impact on us when it was so cold earlier.

As far as totals go, I am going to post an estimate, since there is no real way to know since I for one, changed my mind set, and two, got tired of keeping track when I avoided something.

Days 20-31
Spent: $20 eating out
Money saved: $50-100 (mostly avoiding eating out, or at least getting cheaper options, avoided a couple of cute shirts I saw on clearance etc)
Total Spent: $95  And remember, $40+ of that was my snow boots, which are really more of a necessity.
Total saved: around $400

Not too bad for a month.

My goal is to save close to this in February as well to be able to put towards some savings. More on our savings goals later.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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