Side note - if you are happening on my blog with new infertility on your heart, or really if you are struggling at all with wondering how God's plan is playing out in your life...I hope this is encouragement to you. 2 years ago our dreams of being parents and developing our family died. We had to mourn that death. But now that death has grown into a bigger dream than we'd ever hoped. I pray that you trust God and find your dreams growing soon.
You know by now that we are trying to figure out how to pay for not one but two unplanned, unfunded adoptions. I talked to you a bit about how we had to come up with money for me to stay home at a relatively short notice, which we were able to do. I talked to you a bit about how we needed to come up with both adoption expenses and monthly expenses pretty quickly. We are currently working through that plan, hoping God helps us figure it out!
In the process both my husband and I have seperately looked at our budget to see where we could trim down spending. He did something I've done several times in the past - he started from our monthly actual spend and categorized up. Since I've done that before I used the budget we had as a guiding principle to see how we could rearrange dollars. We both found the same things - the money would be tight but we'd have to really watch our spending and there probably wouldn't be too much room for wiggle.
Translation - we were looking for approximately 2K in our budget. Disgustingly (gratefully) we have that 2K in our budget as extra cash now. So though we're very grateful that we have those resources, it's a bit ugly to look at how we've mismanaged our finances recently. We both knew we were doing it, but because we had that "extra" money we didn't pay attention, and when you don't pay attention and put your money to work for you it will be bad in two ways. First, you may make financial decisions you otherwise wouldn't have (spend on things you wouldn't have, fail to pay off debt, etc.). Second, you end up building habits that are, in my opinion, just gross and irresponsible.
We're not talking anything super bad, but it is something we deserve to be called out on. For example, my husband did the math and in the first 11 days of May we averaged spending $375 per day. That's over $3750 in 11 days. Now granted we had some of our big monthly expenses come out then, but admittedly that did not include our bigger house payment or our car payment. To me, that's just gross and irresponsible of us. Thankfully my husband agrees and we're back into the cost-saving mode we both need and secretly love.
The other area that was disgusting was our actual spend on eating out. I don't know the actual number, but it was well over $1K, probably close to $1500 or so. (that does not include the $1K or more that we spent in groceries). To be fair (???), we work weird hours and it's really hard for me to cook meals consistently that he and I can eat together, which leads him to eat out more often than desired and/or me to do the same. I always try to make it a fun traditional thing for the kids - like Kids Eat Free tuesdays at Jason's Deli (no longer the case) or Friday's at Cici's pizza - both chosen for their frugality but add up quickly with 4 kids.
Now we're back to trying to keep spending under wraps. Here's what we're shooting for:
- $600 per month - groceries
- $100 per month - eating out
- $400 per month - various entertainment budgets (Dad, Mom, Child, Family) - which could be used for eating out if we so chose.
So, what do you think - for a family of 6, 4 of whom are under 5, is that a reasonable food budget? Where would you caution me to look differently? What suggestions would you make?