November 2, 2010

Money Matters

We are living in tough economic times right now. I am always looking for ways to save money and I’m sure a lot of you are as well. As a family of three now our budget has inflated over the past year. We planned and budgeting before the arrival of Connor, but there are always unexpected expenses that arise. Diapers are not cheap Ya’ll! Whatever you think you are going to spend on a baby you might as well double or even TRIPLE that number! Of course your baby is worth every penny and as parents you only want the best for your baby….but really do you need the “Johnson & Johnson” shampoo vs. the “Great Value” Wal-Mart version? There are some things I will splurge on because I do deem them a better product, but most things regarding baby care can be generic.

Things I splurge on:

• Pampers diapers – I have tried the cheaper diapers and store bought versions. This brand works for us and we've had a history of less diaper rash.
• Picture & Holiday clothing- It is okay to buy a nice outfit for an occasion or holiday.
• Organic baby food- This is a personal preference, it’s a little more expensive, but I want his food to be pure with no fillers. I could make my own, but I really don’t have time at this point in my life with working a full time job and taking care of the rest of the house.

Things to get cheap:

• Play clothes/socks- they are going to outgrow clothing quicker than you think. You will go through several outfits a day…they poo….they pee….they spill…and drooooool. I think I lose a pair of socks every week.
• Toys- No need to buy your baby an expensive outrageous toy. The things I find Connor enjoying most are the cheapest junkiest toys!
• Shampoo/Soap- I know this is different for every baby, but soap and lotion are the same to me name brand or not.

I have to say that Terence is the big “budget” person in our household. Sometimes I refer to him as the money police and poke fun at him. I will say in his defense that without his discipline and hard work we would not be where we are now. When I say “now” it’s not where we want to be by any means, but it just means we have some sort of safety net. Terence and I have been married almost 10 years now & for our entire marriage everything has been documented in Microsoft Quicken. E.V.E.R.Y. P.E.N.N.Y No Joke

This has allowed us to see where we spend our money. If we see we are over spending in some areas we can see our mistakes and try and correct them the next month. It’s also allowed us to plan for retirement, contribute to savings, and track our checking. It’s been a great tool and ultimately you will find what works best for you and your family in regards to keeping a budget.

We recently started discussing whether or not to take money out of savings and pay off Terence’s car. This would allow us to have extra income to put towards student loan debt. We personally don’t want to spend the next 10 years paying off student loan debt especially since we have a child of our own to save for college now. This plan would cut our student loan debt down to 2 years and that would be a huge savings for us in the long run. Interest will kill ya! We don’t put things on credit cards, but we do have one for emergencies. So basically the only thing hovering over our heads right now is a car payment, student loan debt, and our mortgage….which is something that is going to be there regardless.

I know everyone struggles. It’s definitely hard right now when a lot of us are experiencing tighter budgets; some have lost homes or jobs, and live paycheck to paycheck. There are days when the future seems overwhelming and I feel boggled down. But at the end of the day I have to say I have things that are more valuable to me than money…..I have my family, friends, and my health. All of those things no money can buy or replace. God is good and will never fail us.

Live life. Enjoy.

HOW DO YOU BUDGET AND PLAN FOR THE FUTURE?
ADVICE…SUGGESTIONS???

Don’t forget about our blog meet up this weekend at Cheesecake Factory!!! If you live in the DFW area and would like to come please email me at
beckylbranch@gmail.com


Our mexican lunch for $2.97 this past weekend

(Now that is budget eating!)

Thank you GROUPON!!!

15 comments:

Lauren said...

YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Tristan said...

I'm with ya on the pampers..we CAN'T use anything but them..lol!

She also only does well with johnson & Johnson lostions and bath wash.

She also has this special formula that is OUTRAGEOUS.

She's VERY expensive..lol..everything I said that we would buy..we can't because the kid just doesn't like cheap..OY..lol.

that lunch looks amazing!!!

Aishlea and Brandon said...

Thanks for the post today! I like hearing what brands moms think are worth the money and those things that can we can scrimp on! :)

Todd and Courtney said...

Oh budgeting, fun topic :) We put everything on an American Express for Starwood points and pay off every month. For Lauren, she has a savings account and opening a 529 soon. For our cars, we only have 1 that's newer, a 2008. We have 2 that are super duper old. For the new SUV, we paid off with our home equity line of credit due to the interest rate. So debt is just the house essentially. Money chat is fun. I need to learn a TON. We are sooooo confused about college funds for Lauren. It's hard. I love the last picture. What an awesome deal from Groupon!!!

Heather said...

We have our budget split in half, and that probably sound weird. But basically Josh budget all the major bills/savings/big purchases, while I budget for food/gas/clothing/etc. It works for us! I love using coupons, I do the same with splurges on name brands, etc.

Now, I need to go check out this "groupon" thing.

{K} said...

Where did you get Mexican food for $2.97? That's crazy!

I agree with you on diapers... well, I use Walmart brand for Jazzy but Cruz is too sensitive so we use Swaddlers for him. I also agree with you on baby lotions/soaps, baby clothes and toys. Jazzy is just as happy (or happier) playing with crayons, paper, a cardboard box and tupperware... or stuff like that, than she is playing with her toys. Kids are funny. :)

I wish we documented every cent we spend. We really need to learn how to budget..

Shoshanah said...

I'm so over student loans! I feel like I'm never going to pay mine off. Of course my boyfriend doesn't have any, so he doesn't quite understand the situation.

I actually use my credit card for almost all my everyday purchases, but only because it gets cashback. I pay it off every month, so I'm not paying the interest, just getting the cash back. Plus it gets me a pretty good credit score that way too.

Emily said...

Woohoo for a $3 lunch! That's awesome!

Pampers are the only way we can go too. A lack of poo explosions and diaper rash are totally worth the extra moolah!

Michelle said...

You & I chatted briefly on El Twitter about this, so you know my thoughts. I'm all about saving a buck or ten. I'm not the world's best budgeter by any stretch of the imagination & I've certainly made my fair share of financial blunders. The biggest one is the CC debt that we're currently paying off. I'm not ashamed to admit I have it. Obviously I'm not the only person out there with it. I won't give the amount of CC debt we were in, say, five years ago, but I will say that THAT number has been decreased by about 2/3. Yay! It's been a long, hard road, too. We've had income ups & downs this past year. We've wiped out our savings account & now we're living off of one income while I plow through grad school. I figure if we're snowballing, living & "keep on keepin' on" then we must be doing something right...right?? ;)

Finances are such a personal and tricky subject. We all have opinions about it...and you & I know what that means. ;) But, I'm always glad when someone openly talks about things...it helps a lot.

Karla said...

hey,
for us we use organic baby soap for the kids... it initially costs more but lasts longer so saves in the end and we cloth diaper; again it costs more up-front but in the end saves and it's easy!

The Mulberry Girl said...

I am huge on budgets and saving money...so much that I started a nerdy blog about it. I don't know if you have ever stopped by but feel free to www.babewithabudget.blogspot.com

I'm still embarassed about my cou[on binder but when I save at the register so much $$$ it helps ease the pain. :)

Jacquie said...

We track EVERY cent of our money in Quicken, too. I also use "Tags" in Quicken to do an envelope system to budget. I know how much of our account balances are held for envelope budget items at all times. It's the only way I can save for Christmas, insurance, and other large ticket items.

We also use credit cards that give us cash back... if I save us $200 in cash rewards, I can cash it in for $250. Since we pay our CC in full each month, I am making money on them from the rewards. In the last 12 months, I have received $900 in cash rewards. Not bad!

Lil' Woman said...

Big Man and I are trying to work on our budget right now since moving into the new house. First is debt bills and car payments.

Karla said...

hey,
for us we use organic baby soap for the kids... it initially costs more but lasts longer so saves in the end and we cloth diaper; again it costs more up-front but in the end saves and it's easy!

Tristan said...

I'm with ya on the pampers..we CAN'T use anything but them..lol!

She also only does well with johnson & Johnson lostions and bath wash.

She also has this special formula that is OUTRAGEOUS.

She's VERY expensive..lol..everything I said that we would buy..we can't because the kid just doesn't like cheap..OY..lol.

that lunch looks amazing!!!

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