Author Topic: Punch me in the face  (Read 10340 times)

alm0stk00l

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Punch me in the face
« on: January 31, 2014, 10:06:02 AM »
I was looking over my January spending and I need to be punched in the face. I am not even sure how we allowed it to get this far out of control. The worst part being, we actually budgeted ourselves a very generous $4000 for the month and still managed to blow by it. And while the Gifts and Donations section may make it seem like we are generous people, it was actually just me paying for the first installment of a friends college tuition and his cell phone bill while I was drunk one night.

February starts tomorrow; I have tried to create goals for myself and continue to miss them, so would any of you be willing to give me a goal to try to meet. I always seem to do well when others challenge me, but struggle when I am trying to impose a challenge on myself.

So punch away :)

olivia

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2014, 10:14:49 AM »
My challenge for you, as a fellow food over spender: No eating out for the entire month of February.  Nothing but home cooked food that comes from the grocery store.  (And no cheating by buying pre-made dinners at the grocery store!)

If you keep your groceries at $100/week (now sure how many kids you have, so this may or may not be realistic) you will save $800 right there.  And as a bonus, by not eating out you will likely not drunkenly pay your friends' bills.

Numbers Man

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 10:18:09 AM »
WTF? Stop drinking!

meteor

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 10:18:31 AM »
I was looking over my January spending and I need to be punched in the face. I am not even sure how we allowed it to get this far out of control. The worst part being, we actually budgeted ourselves a very generous $4000 for the month and still managed to blow by it. And while the Gifts and Donations section may make it seem like we are generous people, it was actually just me paying for the first installment of a friends college tuition and his cell phone bill while I was drunk one night.

February starts tomorrow; I have tried to create goals for myself and continue to miss them, so would any of you be willing to give me a goal to try to meet. I always seem to do well when others challenge me, but struggle when I am trying to impose a challenge on myself.

So punch away :)

Can I take you out drinking?
I need my driveway repaved.
(Just KIDDING)!

golfer44

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 10:43:09 AM »
Hey, good luck. February is a nice clean slate.

You'd be surprised how easy it is to get that food bill down. Pack a lunch (tuna salad sandwich, ham and cheese, etc), skip the energy drinks/cookies/coffee purchases, and you'll be good to go. Check out www.budgetbytes.com

And read this: http://www.caniretireyet.com/recurring-expenses-why-a-dollar-a-day-is-really-9000/

I wish you the best, you sound like a good guy/gal.

Annamal

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 12:01:12 PM »
It really sucks when you don't meet your goals (and I hope your friend is properly grateful)

Olivia's suggestion of home-cooked meals is a good one, I would add...make this a dry month. no alcohol for you, it doesn't do good things for your decision making process.

If you're looking for more challenges, are you able to cut down on car trips at all?

FunkyStickman

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 12:31:07 PM »
I have 4 kids, and I spend less than $800 a month on food.. and we buy a lot of expensive gluten-free foods for one of my daughters.

[/facepunch]

lifejoy

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 12:43:22 PM »
Goal ideas:

-never buy a coffee (Starbucks, etc)

-make at least three mega meals per month (i.e. make two lasagnas, put one in the freezer. make chili, put half in the freezer in mini containers. soup, daal, etc. Make it, eat half and freeze the rest.) If you do this, it'll make eating at home easier and hopefully cheaper :)

-either make this a "dry" month, or buy one box of boxed wine and DO NOT buy any more alcohol for the month. Hold a pot luck if you're feeling feisty; people often bring a bottle of something :)

-buy some cheap fast meals. Pretend you're a college student. Ramen noodles + frozen veges. Fast and cheap!

-Eat vegetarian a few times a week. Buying less meat majorly cuts down on costs.

alm0stk00l

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2014, 12:51:04 PM »
If you're looking for more challenges, are you able to cut down on car trips at all?

I already bike almost everywhere I go. My wife is not comfortable biking with our daughter without me around so she still drives if she has to go somewhere while I am at work.

As to the food related responses, thank you for the advice. It looks like my goal will be $400 for the month. We have 1 kid, but she is only 15 months old so I don't think the amount of food she eats actually contributes much to our overall expenses.

...I would add...make this a dry month. no alcohol for you, it doesn't do good things for your decision making process.

I do have a tendency to become overly generous once I have started drinking; virtue or flaw? :)

Annamal

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 01:06:56 PM »


...I would add...make this a dry month. no alcohol for you, it doesn't do good things for your decision making process.

I do have a tendency to become overly generous once I have started drinking; virtue or flaw? :)

Depends if you're making decisions that you regret when sober =)

Travis

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 01:20:03 PM »
Is this a budget program or a bank statement?  There are budgeting programs like YNAB that allow you to record your transactions on a daily basis balanced against the budget you created for those categories.  It would give you a more clear picture of where your money is going and if you're keeping up on the entries you can stop yourself mid-month before you blow your budget.

alm0stk00l

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 01:26:15 PM »
Is this a budget program or a bank statement?  There are budgeting programs like YNAB that allow you to record your transactions on a daily basis balanced against the budget you created for those categories.  It would give you a more clear picture of where your money is going and if you're keeping up on the entries you can stop yourself mid-month before you blow your budget.

This is a screen grab from mint.com

sleepyguy

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2014, 07:21:20 PM »
Food/drink seem really high, way too high... about 2-3x too high if you're striving for FIRE (unless of course you make like $200k).

We're 4 person family (although 2 kids are very young) and we average about $500-600/mth... we budget for $1000/mth.

Gifts donation amount actually doesn't really jump out to me that much... life happens.  I paid for a medical brace for my brother that cost $4500 knowing i would never get it back.  It happens.

greaper007

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2014, 09:11:39 PM »
Easy, it looks like the only ridiculous charges you have are food and donations.   Now that you know how to fix it, go for it.   Don't get too crazy though, ease into cheap food spending.    Aim for $120 a week for everything you consume.   That may even allow you a cheap meal or two on the road if you need it.   And there's still plenty of money there for a couple of drinks.

I have a couple suggestions.   Start drinking like a gentleman, 1-2 glasses of spirits a night with your meal and don't go over 3 on the weekend.   It's healthy and it's the way you should be drinking as a father (I've had to remind myself of this many times also).   

As for charitable donations, I say take the oxygen mask approach.   Take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else financially.   You can volunteer as much time as you want, but keep the financial donations to a minimum.   You'll still be doing the community a favor but it won't cause you to need financial donations in the future.

Otherwise, it looks like you're doing a great job on the budget, keep squeezing it and you'll get there.

nvmama

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2014, 06:27:46 AM »
I agree with the watching of the food.  We are a family of four, my 2 kids are 3 and 6.  We are able to keep the food budget to around $500 and that includes alcohol and an occasional ordering out.  I find it is helpful to have a couple of frozen pizzas and fast prepared food on hand for those nights when you really are not in the mood to cook from scratch.  They way I see it is buying a $5 frozen pizza and having a salad with it is much cheaper then ordering a pizza and salad, especially since we always order way more then we need.
When I do cook, I tend to cook a bit more than we need so that way my husband can take the left overs for lunch the next day.  That way he doesn't get tired of having sandwiches all the time.
Good luck.

Evie

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2014, 12:40:28 PM »
If you paid tuition and will not be paid back (doesn't sound like it was a loan but a drunken purchase) make sure you take the tuition credit on your taxes!

uppy

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2014, 01:08:03 PM »
re. Alchohol spending:

Once you've made the initial equipment investment, home-brewing beer can be really cheap (and fun!). With 2 hours of your time and $40-$50, you can make 50 bottles of beer. That's equal or less than $1 per beer. Do that once a month and you've got yourself two 6-packs per week.

Hard cider is even easier. All you need is apple cider and a packet of yeast.

Once you get the hang of it, your homebrew should be way better than the stuff you can buy at the store for that price.

If you like wine (or dare I say spirits) there are home options for those as well.

ch12

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2014, 01:49:10 PM »


...I would add...make this a dry month. no alcohol for you, it doesn't do good things for your decision making process.

I do have a tendency to become overly generous once I have started drinking; virtue or flaw? :)

Depends if you're making decisions that you regret when sober =)

It's a virtue to be generous. It's a flaw to make drunken decisions that you regret in the morning.

I also personally have a rule that I have to do whatever I do drunk when I'm sober. Being drunk is not carte blanche. If I had done what you did, I'd have to find someone else to give the same amount of tuition and cell phone bill money.

jprince7827

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2014, 02:17:59 PM »
re. Alchohol spending:

Once you've made the initial equipment investment, home-brewing beer can be really cheap (and fun!). With 2 hours of your time and $40-$50, you can make 50 bottles of beer. That's equal or less than $1 per beer. Do that once a month and you've got yourself two 6-packs per week.

Hard cider is even easier. All you need is apple cider and a packet of yeast.

Once you get the hang of it, your homebrew should be way better than the stuff you can buy at the store for that price.

If you like wine (or dare I say spirits) there are home options for those as well.

Is it possible to do in a 1BR apartment?

SwordGuy

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2014, 02:56:35 PM »
WTF? Stop drinking!

^ This.   

Dude, if you have done this before, you should know better.

And get a better class of friends.   Real friends don't take advantage of their drunk friends.

uppy

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2014, 06:08:19 AM »
re. Alchohol spending:

Once you've made the initial equipment investment, home-brewing beer can be really cheap (and fun!). With 2 hours of your time and $40-$50, you can make 50 bottles of beer. That's equal or less than $1 per beer. Do that once a month and you've got yourself two 6-packs per week.

Hard cider is even easier. All you need is apple cider and a packet of yeast.

Once you get the hang of it, your homebrew should be way better than the stuff you can buy at the store for that price.

If you like wine (or dare I say spirits) there are home options for those as well.

Is it possible to do in a 1BR apartment?

Absolutely! I live in a 1BR apt. The only storage space you need for beer is two five-gallon buckets (stacked together unless you're actively fermenting, then separate) plus about 5x2 feet of floor space to store the bottles while they carbonate. Everything else will fit inside the buckets when not in use. I reuse old beer bottles, and when they're empty I wash and put them in a milk crate. Everything fits on a shelf in my closet.

greaper007

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2014, 08:28:51 PM »
Nice, can you do all grain in a one room apt, or are you doing extract?

uppy

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2014, 06:42:23 AM »
Nice, can you do all grain in a one room apt, or are you doing extract?

I do extract brewing -- which I would highly recommend for someone just starting out. I have helped out for all-grain brews and have thought about going into it, but at that level it becomes "serious hobby" and the equipment expenses skyrocket. Haven't been able to justify it yet.

And yes, that would take a good bit more storage space. You would need to store 2-3 football-team-style gatorade coolers or the like, plus a rack for them, plus a giant propane burner, wort chiller, grain crusher, and various other equipment -- none of which is necessary for extract brewing. Also because of the learning curve your results may not be much (or any) better than extract brewing. What you get is a more hands-on experience and more control. I would say, invest in it only if you're very serious about brewing + experienced.

The one piece of equipment I forgot to mention is a brew kettle -- 3 gallon or so -- but that doesn't count as extra since you can use it for soups & stews, home canning, etc., and it should fit under the cupboards with your other pots and pans.

zarfus

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2014, 10:49:23 AM »
Nice, can you do all grain in a one room apt, or are you doing extract?

I do extract brewing -- which I would highly recommend for someone just starting out. I have helped out for all-grain brews and have thought about going into it, but at that level it becomes "serious hobby" and the equipment expenses skyrocket. Haven't been able to justify it yet.

And yes, that would take a good bit more storage space. You would need to store 2-3 football-team-style gatorade coolers or the like, plus a rack for them, plus a giant propane burner, wort chiller, grain crusher, and various other equipment -- none of which is necessary for extract brewing. Also because of the learning curve your results may not be much (or any) better than extract brewing. What you get is a more hands-on experience and more control. I would say, invest in it only if you're very serious about brewing + experienced.

The one piece of equipment I forgot to mention is a brew kettle -- 3 gallon or so -- but that doesn't count as extra since you can use it for soups & stews, home canning, etc., and it should fit under the cupboards with your other pots and pans.

This is getting way off topic I think, but I just couldn't help myself.  I do all-grain on the stovetop by doing a 'brew in a bag'.  Here's an awesome tutorial:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy-stovetop-all-grain-brewing-pics-90132/

I use an 8-gallon aluminum steamer pot for less than $30:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/IMUSA-Tamale-and-Seafood-32-Quart-Steamer/13370045
(also found at target)

All grain batches have tasted infinitely better for me than extract, but YMMV.  Cheers!
(now i'm kegging, this is the anti-mustachian thing to do, but I LOVE IT)

jprince7827

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2014, 04:25:44 PM »
Maybe I'll look into starting that. I dohave a storage container in the basement of my building just for my use, and it is big enough to store those things. Nice and cool and dark.

uppy

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Re: Punch me in the face
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2014, 05:39:32 PM »
I should edit and say "I do partial-mash brewing," which may be why my beers taste great compared to many all-extract homebrews. As a non-expert in all-grain, though, I would say mashing in a bag probably reduces the efficiency of the grains quite a bit by not allowing water to circulate as much/the grains to absorb evenly. But who am I to say.

All that aside, I think the OP should focus on spending LESS and not going out to buy a bunch of cool equipment with the goal of saving money -- esp for beer!