I for one am so happy that I have survived to this point in the week. I want to think my sweet husband again for typing up that guest post yesterday, otherwise you probably would have gotten a half-written post or none at all. Some days just get a little crazy.
I am loving the excitement of moving but we are in such a limbo period sometimes it is a bit frustrating. It is a LITTLE too soon to really start the job search process for June and we aren’t really at the point to look for a house either. I just want to get this process moving but I can’t. Can you tell I am not very patient to get out of here?
I have a fun Five Things Friday post for you today. As you all know Wes and I are on a crazy tight budget right now. We are getting by, but there isn’t very much wiggle room at all. We’ve had to reevaluate our budget and really tighten things so I thought I would talk a little bit more about that today.
A budget doesn’t have to mean that we can’t have fun or enjoy things anymore. It just means we have to be a bit more creative and learn how to cut costs. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Thankfully being married to a med student means always paying attention to your finances, even though we haven’t always been this tight there has always been a budget to some extent.
I think it is good for everyone to go through a time like this. It’s hard but it teaches you so much about the value of things and it makes you appreciate what you have SO much more. You may not get to buy everything you want, or go everywhere you want, but you realize just what is so important.
Five Keys to Being on a TIGHT Budget
1. Get Creative
When Valentine’s Day rolled around we knew we couldn’t do our normal traditions. The one thing that Wes and I have always been big on are cards. It may sound silly but for the first 7 years of our relationship before we got married we celebrated our anniversary EVERY MONTH with a card.
We have cut back on the card buying a bit, but we actually still do acknowledge our anniversary every month. It’s just a little way to always make sure we are focusing on our relationship and each other.
Even if it is a simple “Happy Anniversary” text.
We started dating on March 4, 2005. We will celebrate 9 years next month!
We decided this year for Valentine’s Day we would make our own cards. They didn’t have to be fancy, even just a simple letter, but it was an easy way to save a little bit budget wise. It’s not about what the card says anyways, it’s about what you write in it.
I think it may have just been one of my favorite cards.
It’s almost fun to be creative and find new things, ideas, and ways to do things without spending money. It really make you realize the important parts of life aren’t the things but rather who you are spending your time with.
2. Stick to the Necessities
We have really had to reevaluate what is a necessity and what is just something we want. It doesn’t mean we cut out everything, we still go get a small thing of frozen yogurt a couple times a week, but it just means we try to stick to buying what we need.
When we go to the grocery store now we only buy the necessities. I don’t have to make some big elaborate meal plan, but I do have an idea of what I am looking to make throughout the week.
The meals have gotten simpler and pretty basic, but thankfully that’s how my husband eats normally.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t buy the occasional think that we enjoy, we do. We just simply have to begin trimming the list and focus more on making sure we buy what we need first.
3. Enjoy the Little Things
We used to have big plans for Wes’ 4th year of medical school. Especially once the match was over. We had plans to go on long weekends to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, or just enjoy time to do what we wanted for the first time in almost 4 years.
However, losing my job changed all of that.
I feel guilty some days that I can’t give him those things, but we have learned how to really enjoy the small things.
We now usually go out to dinner together 1 time per week instead of the 2-3 times we used to. We always make sure to go somewhere we enjoy and not feel guilty. One day won’t kill us and it is our “date night.”
Instead of going on weekend trips we now usually spend some quality time on the couch together watching basketball, movies, or whatever else is on. It’s not nearly the same, but we have learned that it is about the time together no matter where that is.
Even our trips to the gym can be used as a date. With my crazy schedule sometimes thats the only real time we get together during the day, and we make the most of it!
I’ve always been one of those people who gets really excited about couponing, I try it, and then a week or two later I have forgotten all about it.
I’ve always wanted to do it but I think since it wasn’t always something I HAD to do other things just usually took precedence.
Now that our food budget is around $30-$50 per week I really have to pay attention to ANY way that we can save. I still am not an avid couponer just because I don’t have the time to go through it all, but we have found quite a few good deals.
Wes is an avid SlickDeals watcher and if you simply google “coupons” there are so many great forums out there that will go over coupons.
It doesn’t take long to find a couple great deals. We also love to look for the free samples.
We recently found a deal for a free bottle of Dial Body Wash and it also came with some great coupons!
I know it’s not much, but not buying body wash for a while save us money. A little bit goes a long way! That is $5 that can be added into our food budget which to me is much more important!
5. Organize, Organize, Organize
Organization has been key for us during this time.
We have two spreadsheets that we use throughout the week to keep track of things.
1) Income Spreadsheet
We have one spreadsheet that tracks all the income we get on a weekly/monthly basis from all areas. I have added each job I have on there and track the income as I work the hours.
Any other passive income we receive (which is very little) we also track on their just to keep it all in one place.
2) Budget Spreadsheet
We have been getting better at this one, but still have some work to do.
On this one we track all the expenses (rent, utilities, cell phone, food etc.) and when they will be coming out of our bank account. This allows us to know when we need to have the money in there to avoid overdraft situations. I used to work in a bank and trust me it costs you WAY more than it is worth.
I am still perfecting this one but it is really helpful to not only see when things are due, but to really see where your money is going.
If you are just starting out with budgeting the first place I would recommend starting is to keep track of where your money goes each month. It will really open up your eyes to how you are spending your money and helps you see where you can cut.
The winner of the MisFit Wearables giveaway is Krista Kjorlaug! Congrats! Email me at saralovingontherun (at) gmail (dot) com with your shipping information and we will get your Shine on it’s way to you!
Have you ever had to be on a really tight budget? Any tips?
Any plans for the weekend?