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Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Musings: Week 13 & Quarterly Report

Today is the last day of March. We're 1/4 of the way through our spending challenge. It's hard to believe Easter is almost here.

Here are my stats.

This week's spending was pretty small. (It's amazing how easy it is to stop spending when your transmission is out and you have no wheels!)

Week 13 Spending
Leah's School Project      
Piano Lessons                  
Algebra text

First Quarter Spending (Weeks 1-13)
Piano Lessons
Hair Care
Discretionary Cash

Here are some thoughts.

Initially, I found these numbers discouraging. Of course, my spending was much higher than I wanted it, and my savings were much lower. Upon a more careful examination, I realized that I’ve reduced household spending by a little more than 33%. I was already operating on a lean budget for a family of 8, especially one with 3 hungry teenage boys. That’s not too bad, but I can do better.

Instead of coming up short at the end of each month, I have money in the bank, including an emergency fund.

After groceries, my area of greatest savings was "Miscellaneous." That's no surprise since I've tried to eliminate all discretionary spending.

My biggest "bust" category was entertainment -- no surprise there either.

If I continue at this pace for the rest of the year, I can save almost $5400. This should be enough to pay for Esther’s orthodontic work which we’re scheduled to begin in April.

My goals for the next quarter are:
·       further reduce grocery spending by only purchasing dairy products, produce, and staples
·       reduce produce spending by growing our own vegetables
·       can or freeze garden produce when possible
·       reduce spending for school expenses
·       limit eating out to once a month
·       find free/inexpensive forms of family entertainment

I’m learning as I go. This move toward a more minimalist lifestyle doesn’t come easily, but I can see the progress we’re making, and I’m encouraged.

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