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Frugal Finance Management


In 2013 we committed to living on a Depression-era budget, all the while tracking expenses so that we could find out, for the first time, how much money we really spend.  We’ve adjusted this page from last year’s to reflect what we spent in 2013 and what we wish to spend plan on spending in 2014.  Your budget may look different than ours, and that’s ok.  A custom debt-reduction budget that fits your own family’s size, needs, etc., is crucial to debt reduction success:

Groceries: $400 a month for our family of 6

Personal items (toiletries and the like) and money for our 2 horses and other farm animals: $300 a month

Healthy and beauty: $0.  No haircuts, no highlights, nothing.  I’ll cut the kids’ hair and Rick’s hair (I was a licensed cosmetologist in a prior life :-)),  but for me $0.  I had originally planned to go and get myself some highlights after going a whole year without, as a bit of a gift to myself, but after re-analyzing our debt numbers, I just can’t do it.  This may change if I get a nice windfall. 🙂  **Update: the local Great Clips here started offering haircuts on select days for $7.99.  I now take advantage of this deal and get my hair cut there about once a year.

Clothing: Only when absolutely necessary

Entertainment: $60 a month for our family of six.

Home repair: Only when absolutely necessary, as in “we can’t live without heat and water”.

Cell phones: One, for me, with $100 worth of prepaid minutes for the year.  We’ve had a prepaid phone for years, and I’m down to about 100 minutes left from 2013, so there’s no stock up going on here.

Car repair: Necessity expenses only.

Homeschooling expenses: Only necessities.  We’ll be utilizing the library A LOT if our gas budget allows it.

Gifts: After tracking our expenses in 2013, we’ve found that we spend roughly $2400 a year on gifts, not the $1200-$1600 a year we thought we spent on gifts.  This, my friends, is why tracking your expenses is SO very important.  We’ll try to stay on track with 2013 gift expenses for 2014.

Those are all of the categories I can think of for now, but I’ll add more if they come up.

We will continue to give allowance to the kids (better defined as paid work in our family), but they’re not getting their customary January 1st raise.  And as they usually are pretty quick to blow the spending portion of their allowance (they save 10% and give 10%), we’ve encouraged them to save their “spending” money for stuff they really want, like our annual trip to the county fair, since none of our family money can be used for entertainment.  Update: we cut off allowance in June of 2013, saving our family $70 a month.  We may reinstate this at some time, but if we do, it’ll be at a reduced rate.

Do you have budget ideas and tips?  Feel free to share them with us by contacting us or leaving a comment on one of our posts.


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