We’re 5 weeks deep into our Financial Peace University journey and I feel as if I’m being tested every day! I truly feel like starting FPU at this time of year is a blessing and a huge challenge. You see, I’m a musician, and January-March are my lowest income months of the year. They can be very challenging. (As if the winter months aren’t tough enough.)
Let’s think positive first:
- My grocery budget evened out in the second week! I still think we will need a bit more per week on a grocery budget, but all in all, I’m feeling great about the groceries we’ve been able to stock.
- Here are some of my big deals that made the budget possible this week:
- 3 lb. bag carrots: $.59 cents (I bought 3 bags!!)
- 1 dozen eggs: $.69 cents (I bought 6 dozen, the max. allowed. One of the ways I stretch our budget is to make a frittata 1-2 times/week. But more on that later! 😉 )
- Frozen veggies: $1.19 each (this is great and easy on the go)
- 3 lb. bag sweet potatoes: $.99 cents
- a big bag of dried black beans: $1.39. We used half of it this week on one batch and we ate black beans for days, at both meals! so cost-effective.
- It looks like my gasoline budget is coming in lower than I estimated, but we’ll see how it plays out during the end of the month!
- We’ve been really good about not buying anything but groceries…..but sometimes the trivial stuff gets in the way too. A week ago our smoke detector started beeping. It drove me insane. Every 2 minutes or so, it would beep. I could hear it from our bedroom but my husband couldn’t, as he suffers from high-frequency hearing loss. (I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me in the rear once we have kids! HA!)
Anyways, we didn’t have 9-volt batteries, which is the type of battery our smoke detector needed. I couldn’t handle the beeping anymore, and I caved. I bought two, 9-volt batteries for about $7 (with a coupon) at Target. I didn’t budget for this. But at least our smoke detector has a fresh battery in it!
- We are also low on hand soap. Again, this doesn’t sound like a big expense, but when you’ve come in just under budget in the “grocery” category, you do everything you can to avoid breaking it. But alas, I got a huge thing of soap to refill our soap dispensers. $4.99 later, I’m full of soap but didn’t budget for it.
- I’ve been pumping all of my extra here-and-there income into cash flow for a trip I’m taking in a few weeks. This program has actually made me second guess going on this trip (“look at all of the money I could be using to pay down my debts!!”), but this is a necessary trip for my Master’s thesis research. Unless something awful happens in the next 2 weeks, I’m going.
- Lastly (and I know this sounds nit-picky): I didn’t budget anything for Valentine’s Day or my husband’s birthday this month. I sound like a horrible wife, I know! But believe me when I say that this is one of the toughest financial months of my year. There really wasn’t much left for wiggle room once I budgeted the essentials. (I’m griping over hand soap and two batteries, for pete’s sake!) So tonight I’m sitting down and figuring out where I can wiggle a little room out for his Valentine’s card and birthday gift (whoops, did I just say that?).
So far I’ve been really loving the Financial Peace University journey, I’m not liking the guilt that comes with buying hand soap and batteries. Seriously.
Next month: I won’t have an entire trip to cash flow; I will make a “misc. housewares” section in the budget; I will pray more and trust God more. He’s the one that’s gotten us this far!
Thanks for following my Financial Peace University journey! Tune in to see how we do next!