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Skimp on servings? That sounds bad. What I'm going to aim for is a zero-waste kitchen. I've always said that throwing out food is putting money in the trash, but at the same time I make more food than we can eat during the week. So I'm looking to perfect portion sizes and scale back the amount of leftovers, and thereby reduce the amount that can potentially end up in the trash or compost. I'm hoping that, in the chain of things, it means less shopping, and more use of the pantry and freezer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I’ve ate at home and cooked out of pantry. I’m eating too much trying to satisfy some sort of craving. I have some medical bills coming in that I’ll owe part of because my employer paid deductible was met. I should have postponed a dermatologist checkup til after Jan. 1. I did postpone a couple other appointments til this month.
Purchased my Bichon some new wraps (for his birthday today- he’s 12). (They save our home from his marking habit)
I’ve been decluttering and purging for 3 days . Water bill came. Pleasantly surprised that it has not gone up with host son taking daily showers and husband taking more baths.
mom gave me $50 for my 60th birthday yesterday. I put it away for now. Friends invited us over to play games and bought me a German chocolate cake from the local bakery. It was awesome.
We will be hosting a get together with Dh’s family Saturday. About 20 people. Need to come up with a menu for that.
 

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I just put in a grocery order. They have weekly coupon deals. They also had paper towels on sale, which I needed. Came out to be the same price as other stores. All the items will go into the pantry. Somehow I'm always able to get the minimum order to get the deals. I combine the great coupons with other sale items and I'll pick the order up on my way home from taking my mom tomorrow. Saving gas too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dh and I shopped together for this weekends family gathering. Hit 3 stores for the best deals planning ahead by looking at online flyers. I would have skipped the chips but dh wanted them and he found a sale. Barbecues, cheesy potatoes, pasta salad, scotcheroos on the menu. Saved a few dollars with coupons, apps and bought some clearanced pantry items. We haven’t gotten together with some of his family since before Covid hit. I did eat out. Had a pizza pretzel at Sams club. Also a Diet Coke and ice cream from McDonald’s. Added a bunch of change to savings jar.
 

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Hi. I think I’ll join this challenge. I just printed off the last six months bank statements and credit card statements. I only have one credit card, thank goodness! Still, a day of calculating shows me I waaay over spent.

So my goal is to get my personal allowance to the point where income exceed expenses. I haven’t actually been carrying debt, because I have a bit of money leftover from my mom that’s been taking up the slack. But it won’t last forever, so it’s time to tighten my belt.

First step = know where you’re at - ✅
Second step = create a budget - ✅
Third step = brainstorm ways to decrease expenses - that’s why I’m here! 😊
 

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Reading Kim B's post made me realize how much I miss coupons. They now have very few inserts in my area, and I don't get the paper. It started to be that none of the coupons I was seeing were for items I used, so I wound up no longer using them, which is why I stopped my paper subscription.

I use the store apps (come on Aldi...get a rewards app!) and refund apps like iBotta and ReceiptHog and Fetch. Love them all, but it's slow to accumulate points, particularly when you buy a lot of generic brands. But I keep plugging away!

Tonight is homemade pizza night and I forgot to get shredded mozzarella at the store this week. However, we have a block and a half of mozzarella at home from a lasagna we made for family over the holidays. I'll shred that, instead, and not spend the money on the shredded cheese. That's my SOS for today! :)
 

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Thank-you @KimB. In full disclosure I must admit I do not have a lot to work with in my personal allowance, and it is highly variable. I have at least a set $200 CAD.

Then another $100 from an investment my Dad left me when he passed away. But it’s a defunct investment, so they just pay me out until it’s all paid back. And they pay by percentage. So it gets smaller every year. Right now it’s split into two payments. One of $79.83 and another of $28.43. The smaller one comes mid-month, and the larger comes end of the month.

Other than that I have my own business income, which varies from $0-1000/month.

So I have $200 per month for sure from Hubby’s pensions. Then some portion of $108.26 (this decreases every year). And the business income is so unpredictable I usually don’t even count it in income.

From that I have to buy gifts, clothing, footwear, haircuts, memberships, subscriptions, recreation, education, entertainment, any business expenses, give to charity. Needless to say, I don’t give much to charity!

I’ve been giving home canning as gifts. I buy my clothes, when I can find my size (often not) at thrift stores or major sales,

I do not buy footwear unless absolutely necessary. My feet are an odd size and I have skeletal issues. A decent pair of shoes or walking boots puts me back $200-300.

I’m growing my hair long and it hasn’t been cut in over a year. It badly needs it. A haircut here is $50+.

I just went through all memberships and subscriptions and culled them down to only the most necessary.

There are recreation expenses for my hobbies. This is an area I really need to improve.

There are education expenses related to my hobbies and my business, but I’ve cut them back this year. Still, I have some areas that are not as productive as they could be. I’m working on those this year.

Entertainment is non-existent. I do free things with Hubby and friends. We get together with family occasionally. We go to the library. That’s it.

Last year business expenses are what tripped me up. This year I have to get a firm grip on those.

I’ll check the boards and see if I can find one where it’s appropriate to post a proposed budget.
 

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Hmm…looks like there is no special thread to put a budget on here, so I’m putting it here and tracking on this thread.

Income:
$200.00 Allowance
$108.13 investment money from Dad
$4.00 rebate on fees from bank
Sub-Total = $312.13 per month

Add variable business income:
$0-1000

Essentials:
$240.00 Haircuts every 3 months = $20/mth
$480.00 Clothing = $40/mth
$480.00 Footwear = $40/mth
$24.00 Planners for 2024 = $2/mth
$48.00 Bank fee = $4/mth
$300.00 Gifts = $25/mth
$900.00 Business expenses = $75/mth

Sub-Total = $206/mth.

$312.13 - $206 = $106.13/mth for recreation, entertainment and education…and charity.

This actually looks doable on the screen…but we’ll see. I have poor control of my spending. 😔

So far I have spent:
$7.07/$1273.56 for R/E/E.

I have $457.38 outstanding on my credit card. Most of that is for gifts and an upcoming week long conference. I have money in my bank account to cover it.
 

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Red, you don't mention food, housing, utilities..... is this on a different budget?
Do all banks in CA charge fees? In the US they don't, I'd find one that isn't.
$300 for gifts seems overly generous on such a small income.
 

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@Contrary Housewife , you are correct. Housing etc. comes from another budget based on Hubby’s pensions. This budget is just for my personal money.

The bank fee is on the budget layout twice - once as a rebate and once as a cost. The deal is, if I have less than ten debits a month the account fee is rebated. Otherwise I get charged the fee. As far as I know all Canadian banks charge fees on chequing accounts.

Gifts - hmmm…you could be right there. I have 12-14 people to buy/make for every year. The bulk of them receive home canning, which comes from a different budget. However, I buy or make regular gifts for my two special needs nieces, my two daughters, their spouses and Hubby. That’s 7 people. Hmm…at $30 each (includes 15% tax and wrapping…I don’t ship). I should be able to shave $90 off the gift budget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Looking at where your money actually goes is an important first step. It looks like you already cut some expenses too. Way to Go! @RedSpruce
I’m keeping track as close as possible where mine is going this month. It’s not perfect as hubby doesn’t give me all his receipts but I can monitor my own spendings.
 

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Good morning everyone! I rejigged my proposed budget last evening, and set up a cash envelope system. I’ve used the cash envelope system before with success. Now CCs in Canada are talking about adding fees to consumers for purchases, I’ve decided to go back to cash as much as possible.

I tried to put my Christmas gift cards in the various category envelopes, but couldn’t find them all. I looked all over and finally found them, but not without a few mishaps along the way. I really shouldn’t be doing anything in the evening but sitting on my backside somewhere. I am not very coordinated. Anyways, I put the gift cards where they belonged and called it a night.

Today is our first grocery shopping trip for the year. Plus I need to buy socks.
 

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Okay. Major budget revamp. I decided I really couldn’t put the investment inheritance from my dad in there because the amount lowers every February and I have no idea what it’s going to be this year. So I created two income categories: one a “for sure” category and the other a variable income category. Then I adjusted the essentials budget to balance with “for sure” income. It is sobering. So now it looks like this:

“For Sure” Income
$200.00 Allowance from Hubby’s pensions
$4.00 Bank rebate for less than 10 debits
$204.00 Total “for sure” Income

“Variable” Income

108.13 Dad’s investment
$14.18 Ko-fi
$100.00 Business
$222.31 Total variable income

204.00 + 222.31 = $426.31 potential income

Projected Expenses

$20.00 Haircuts
$20.00 Clothing
$40.00 Footwear
$20.00 Gifts
$5.00 Planner (see below)
$4.00 Bank Fee
$75.00 Business
$20.00 R/E/E
$204.00 Total Projected Expenses

Because I’m working with cash envelopes and bank in Canada where the smallest bill is a $5 bill, I put $5 in for the planner. No way am I about to spend $60 on a planner for 2024! So when I have $30 saved up (my maximum I’ll spend for a planner), then the money will be diverted to another category more in need. Probably clothing or footwear.

I found all my Christmas gift cards and determined I have a good start in my R/E/E category and towards my planner.

I went on errands this morning. I mailed a package using old stamps that were sitting around. Frugal Lesson 1: use what I have.

I went to Marks to look for socks. On sale they were $15/pair!!! I need both walking socks and socks for around the house. So we hoofed it over to Walmart (we were buying groceries there anyways) and picked up 6 pairs of socks for $14.95. I’m not sure of the quality, but we’ll find out.

Groceries were $58.00 CAD.
 
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