Author Topic: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!  (Read 9852 times)

recklesslysober

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 490
  • Age: 31
  • Location: BC, Canada
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #50 on: April 03, 2017, 11:08:46 AM »
Actually on track so far this week! I've spent $48.61 (groceries) and have $11.39 left until Saturday. Budget is $60/week or $240 for the month. I know it's early but I have a good feeling about April.

lemonverbena

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #51 on: April 03, 2017, 01:51:07 PM »
Last month ended a little messy, with my kids on spring break and my husband now down to only one job, we had time to kill but bad weather and ended up going out to eat once and did a little shopping (for houseplants... it's been a long winter.). This month I want to focus on groceries. I don't usually bother separating out food costs from toiletries/paper products/etc., but thought it might be illuminating. So far in April, I've spent at the grocery store...
$67 on food to last 4 people 5 days
$33 on 9 LED light bulbs, potting soil, basic toiletries


starjay

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 59
  • Location: SE USA
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #52 on: April 03, 2017, 02:32:08 PM »
Two main goals for April:
  • Reduce my spending on restaurant food by 30%
  • Increase my payment toward my CC payoff with that saved $$

Restaurant eating is a huge weakness for me, and low-hanging fruit for being smarter with my money. I'm dating/living with a chef. I have zero reason have frequent lunches out with all the delicious leftovers in the fridge. (Yet I've been doing just that recently. D'oh!)

Of course, I forgot that I'd be starting the month with a dear friend who was having a huge birthday party for a significant birthday milestone. My gifts to her were modest and meaningful, but her event took us to spendy locations, and I didn't reign myself in as well as I ought to have. So! The rest of the month I'll be making up for my opening excess.

I'm constantly reminded that changing old/bad spending habits is more challenging than I anticipated. Sheesh.

Road42

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2017, 08:27:22 AM »
Ok, I'm back from our vacation, and I'm back in frugal mode. Although our vacation was pretty frugal in and of itself, aside from the airplane tickets: we stayed with family and ate in-house mostly. Before that, frugal March went very well, so I'm super on board for frugal April.

What's been going well:
- We have basically stopped eating out entirely. And I miss it zero! Amazing. I literally have no desire to go out to eat, which is crazy because that used to be my number one treat yo-self activity.

- Added to this is my goal to have as close to zero food waste as possible. I cook what's there, don't throw away the less awesome parts of our CSA box, and generally just make do. So far, so good. Yesterday this meant I tried out a roasted cabbage wedge & garlic recipe that turned out awesome.

- I really dug in to curbing my cell phone data usage and just downgraded our plan to a lower one, saving $25/month. Now I have to talk DH into giving up his old phone in favor of the one work pays for (he uses that one 90% of the time for work and personal stuff, but can't pull the trigger to give up the other phone for some reason), which would save another $35/month.

- The nice weather will help in two ways: 1) I can ride my bike, which I can't do in ache-inducing cold weather, and 2) walking around outside is a huge mood booster, which keeps the treat-yo-self attitude at bay.

Anticipated expenses:
- The children just will not stop growing out of their clothes. I mean, come on, kids, what's with all this eating and being healthy and stuff? So, some clothes and shoes for them will need to happen. Also, a trip to the dentist, which is always a bunch of $.

- Food will be a bit more this month bc of Passover and guests coming over to have dinner.

But all in all, I think we have a good thing going, and I'm going to try to keep up the frugality!

TealBlue

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
  • Age: 39
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2017, 09:42:40 AM »
Road42-  We haven't been eating out at all either and I hate to say it but I do miss it.  Our weakness wasn't really going out to dinners, although we did do some of that, but instead sitting outside and having a glass of wine and an app while the kids did homework after school one day or having a leisurely lunch on a restaurant deck during the summer.  Now that the weather is changing I am having to fight the urge to do that!  Especially since we had a very brutal winter this year.

Road42

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2017, 12:55:13 PM »
Road42-  We haven't been eating out at all either and I hate to say it but I do miss it.  Our weakness wasn't really going out to dinners, although we did do some of that, but instead sitting outside and having a glass of wine and an app while the kids did homework after school one day or having a leisurely lunch on a restaurant deck during the summer.  Now that the weather is changing I am having to fight the urge to do that!  Especially since we had a very brutal winter this year.

I hear you - I love, LOVE, eating outside. We've been doing pretty well packing semi-picnics to bring with us on walks around the city so that we don't feel deprived. Also, and maybe this isn't the best solution, I've been doing a lot of baking (cookies, sweet quick breads, etc.) so that it never feels like we don't have any treats around. I think finding other ways to feel treated has really been the key to not feeling pinched and uncomfortable in our new frugality. I don't do well with privation, so simply cutting something out without finding something else to fill that hole wouldn't work for me.

TealBlue

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
  • Age: 39
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2017, 01:09:32 PM »
I have been baking more than usual too :)  Yesterday I made the kiddos orange rolls and last week I made a chocolate banana bread.  It is nice to feel like you have a "treat" when you're being frugal.  I love to cook, it's a passion of mine and another thing that's helped me is finding a few go-to vegetarian dishes that my whole family will eat and really enjoy but don't break the bank.  It helps free up some money for splurging on other things sometimes.

Mongoose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2479
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #57 on: April 05, 2017, 07:56:53 AM »
Back from our trip....which I'm not sure was frugal. We ate out 4 times and did picnic snacks the rest of the time...or food included at the hotels. So, I guess that's good. None of the places we ate at we're super pricey (a fish and chips shop, pizza, etc). We bought the kids some souvenir toys but were limited by the carry-on bag size. Easy to turn stuff down based on "but honey, there's no room in the bag to take it home." The transportation (rental cars) and hotels were the big expenses but we didn't go wild and got some great deals.

We didn't spend as much as expected on tourist activities because of the kids. They loved Wales so much that they opted to stay for an extra day, which meant we could see the historical sites on our previously purchased Explorer pass...kept us from spending money elsewhere. Plus, when we went to Stonehenge they opted to skip the 50 pound entry (which was good because of being late due to getting stuck behind an army convoy so we would've been out that money anyway) and walk in. And they decided to skip a castle tour in Spain in favor of playing and wandering at a local park. Saved another 20 that way.

April grocery spending (not including trip-bought groceries) is currently at $42.10. I was so good. I stopped last night as we were driving back home and got groceries and cooked dinner (plus made enough for leftovers for today). I really wanted to get take-out but didn't want to post here that I added more restaurant spending because I was too tired to be bothered. :-)

Edited to add: we are currently under planned restaurant utilization goal by two meals. We will almost certainly eat out this Thursday (unless I bring a picnic dinner which I am now considering). I'm going to revise my goal down to 5 meals out...so excited to maybe get in under even that... (It seems seriously weird that I'm ridiculously excited about this possibility.)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 08:01:49 AM by Mongoose »

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #58 on: April 05, 2017, 08:50:22 AM »
Things have been going well so far.

The only spend so far has been a 25.00 top up so my business cell minutes roll over and don't expire. You have to use them in year or thy expire, I set it up last year around this time, turns out it was to the day yesterday, and if I hadn't had to log in and take a look because I forgot my number, I would have lost 75.00 in credit. One may argue why I even have one if I use it so little. Valid point. Last year I didn't but I'm shifting my business focus to local this year so do need an actual local number.

The exciting news is BIL has purchased a house! This means we get our basement back and can start fixing things and making our house a home. This will add significantly to our quality of life and provide some much-needed room to work on and expand various side hustles and space for bigger projects and making.

How is everyone doing? What has been your challenges and wins?


TealBlue

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
  • Age: 39
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #59 on: April 05, 2017, 10:00:59 AM »
Mongoose - I hope to take a page out of your book for frugality on my upcoming vacation!  We are not staying anywhere where we can cook our own meals, however we've decided to set a daily budget for food/drink that should allow us a little flexibility I'm hoping.  If we choose to grab a few tacos for $5 for lunch and eat some fruit from the local market for breakfast, then maybe for dinner we can go to a bit nicer sit down place or go out for drinks later that night.  Frugality on vacation is tough because on the one hand you think of the reasons you are being frugal and on the other you have the whole YOLO attitude.  I'm hoping that by setting a daily budget it will allow us enough flexibility that we won't feel like we're restricting ourselves too much but will allow us to still enjoy some local food!

LindseyC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Ontario
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #60 on: April 05, 2017, 10:40:23 AM »
I'm impressed with all the bakers. I'm a good cook but a terrible baker, I just never really got into it. My April is going ok, I did spend a bit on a few extras but nothing extreme. Mine ends on the 23rd of each month, so I am half over!

I got my sample source box today and it was huge. I now have a weeks worth of snacks, some great toiletries and a fistful of coupons for free full size items, pasta, crackers, dove shampoo and cat treats. I also received some other items like laudry soap and Keurig cups, which I will give to my neighbour. This helps the budget a bit, I love fee stuff!!!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 10:44:17 AM by LindseyC »

Juslookin

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #61 on: April 05, 2017, 12:36:10 PM »
So I'm in for April.  I was with you in spirit for March, but was just too busy to post.

So I am trying a new approach to budgeting these days  I sit down with DH before the start of each month and we outline our required spending for the month.  Than I create that month's budget.  We are saving A LOT, out of necessity right now, college costs coming down the pike for two kids. 

So the goal really is to just stick to the budget.  DH came to me yesterday and said he needed to buy new light fixtures for the basement.  The same light fixtures that he has been complaining about for months because the bulbs aren't lasting.  I stood firm and told him I could schedule it for May, but April budget was put to bed.  He doesn't do the money so he didn't think about it.  He got it once I pointed it out to him, but its a new mind set. 

Our other area is miscellaneous spending.....fees for this or that.....oil changes....dog grooming......gosh I really have to get a handle on this.  And our food budget.  I will say that over the past 6 months I have massively slashed our food spending.  I was a stocker upper and I'm not doing that anymore.  We are eating whats on sale.  Now I will say butter at Aldi this week is $1.99 a pound, I know shocking right!!! So I'm buying 12 pounds and putting them in the freezer, thats just too good of a price. 

VeggieTable

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 143
  • Location: GA
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #62 on: April 05, 2017, 01:22:50 PM »
Thanks for doing this thread again! I lurked the Jan & Feb threads and I did great both months. Last month got away from me a little...though it did include some extra (expected) expenses. I'm all in for April, hoping to reset from March!

Mongoose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2479
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #63 on: April 06, 2017, 07:03:46 AM »
Grocery restock yesterday since we had very little left from before our trip. April grocery spending up to $234.80. I'm shooting for under $400 this month (due to the trip shortening our time at home). Just over 2 weeks to go since our month ends on the 24th and $165.20 left. We should be able to swing that. I am going to check Aldi's for butter prices though. Ran out of time yesterday. And we still need eggs (there seems to be an egg supply problem at our regular store).

We're set to repair the deer damage to my car. Expenses so far is $298.20. Insurance estimated $4000 but we're DIY replacing the damaged panel. It probably won't look perfect but it should restore full functionality and is a whole lot cheaper. It's not a show piece anyway.

I also need to rework my budget because our tax and insurance portion of the mortgage is set to rise by $55 per month. Just ugh! I'm nervous about how that will affect other spending categories and savings. :-(

westtoeast

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
  • Location: East Coast City
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #64 on: April 07, 2017, 05:04:33 AM »
Oooh, there is some good frugal vacation inspiration here! Mongoose, glad to hear you were able to make picnic meals work in UK. I'm headed there in a week and hoping to pull off the same.

April has kicked off OK, but I've definitely been hit with some of the "hidden costs" of travel. I spent $45 at CVS just stocking up on essential items that I had been putting off. I think everything I bought was needed and pretty impossible to get used (bandaids, earplugs, hand lotion, travel sized shampoo and soap containers, hair ties, etc). I also ended up spending $60 on travel snacks. I am gluten intolerant so I wanted to make sure I have lots of snacks with me. I am hoping this spend will greatly reduce the amount I spend once I am there. I am planning on maybe 4-5 meals out (affordable, pub type meals). I ended up taking the CVS money out of my designated travel fund so I'm not including it in my monthly spend.

Expenses so far:
April 1: 10 (Netflix); 60 (Groceries); 5 (Amazon Video-- rented for a group of friends); 15 (my share of replacing a cooking pan); 20 (thank you gifts for some coworkers); 800 (rent/utilities); 55 (Bus Pass)
April 3: 15 (Uber-- slept through my alarm clock for the first time in 10 years); 60 (food for travel-- counts as my grocery budget that week)
April 7: $60 (Groceries)
Total: 1100/1150

I will make my budget if I don't spend until I travel AND I only spend $50 on everything including groceries the last week of April! I'll be checking in here for motivation to make this happen.


LindseyC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Ontario
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #65 on: April 07, 2017, 11:39:40 AM »
Well I am officially half way through my month (start on the 23rd) and I am over budget. I actually don't feel too bad about it though, I have had some unexpected expenses: Car maintenance was $135, some heftier prescriptions $20, bought some extra groceries to meal prep and freeze $50, did some home repairs $30.

A part of me is disappointed but I have come to realize this whole detailed budgeting thing this year for me is all about figuring out what exactly I spend in an average year and also about being more aware on a daily basis every time I consider spending money. In that regard I am rocking it.

I have detailed every dollar and I know without a doubt I have spent far less already then the same months last year (even without having a record to look back on) I am way more conscientious about spending. Despite still being sick and missing the odd unpaid day at work, I am still paying down debt and saving for a new emergency fund. I was not able to say that last year!

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #66 on: April 07, 2017, 11:55:46 AM »

A part of me is disappointed but I have come to realize this whole detailed budgeting thing this year for me is all about figuring out what exactly I spend in an average year and also about being more aware on a daily basis every time I consider spending money. In that regard I am rocking it.

I have detailed every dollar and I know without a doubt I have spent far less already then the same months last year (even without having a record to look back on) I am way more conscientious about spending. Despite still being sick and missing the odd unpaid day at work, I am still paying down debt and saving for a new emergency fund. I was not able to say that last year!

This is the important stuff and you should be proud of yourself! It isn't about making cuts and artificially lowering your spending that you'll have to make up later. It is about creating new habits and mindsets and ways of being that will get you closer to your goals and stick long term. It is super hard when you don't have a baseline to go from, and creating that baseline and making sure it is realistic is the best first step. It's a journey, not a sprint. You are doing great!

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #67 on: April 07, 2017, 12:01:33 PM »
Yesterday I just about caved. Was feeling super sick and spent the evening laying down, dragged myself up and it's 6:00. Drat. Have to get dinner cooked. Hubby suggests going out for dinner or picking something up. Was super tempted but knew it would not make me feel better AND it breaks our not spending money on outside food streak.

Luckily I did have a plan for supper and we carried it out, made super tasty food (all from the freezer, pantry, yay!) and it was all good. I think if I didn't at least know what I was going to make, I would have caved, sometimes the thinking about what to have is the hardest part. Handy to realize that is my main stumbling block.

Inaya

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #68 on: April 07, 2017, 01:21:42 PM »
April spending so far:
Groceries: $19
Fast food: $2
Work food: $2

Some great sales in the local grocery stores recently. 88 cent/lb vine ripened tomatoes, 88 cent mushroom pints, 59 cent/lb chicken thighs, 88 cent/lb apples. Hardest part is not over-buying and having to throw out rotted food.

Caved for a coffee and hot chocolate packet at the work snackbar (usually I brew tea at my desk). Also caved for a $1.88 Wake Up Wrap from Dunkin.

Probably will stop at CVS on my way home to get some allergy medicine and other necessities with a 30% coupon. Will update if so.

Way under budget so far, but probably not sustainable since I took advantage of sales and what was already in my pantry.

westtoeast

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
  • Location: East Coast City
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #69 on: April 07, 2017, 02:24:42 PM »
April spending so far:
Groceries: $19
Fast food: $2
Work food: $2

Some great sales in the local grocery stores recently. 88 cent/lb vine ripened tomatoes, 88 cent mushroom pints, 59 cent/lb chicken thighs, 88 cent/lb apples. Hardest part is not over-buying and having to throw out rotted food.

Wow, amazing grocery spend! I'd love to know what meals you put together for that price. Nice work.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Inaya

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #70 on: April 07, 2017, 03:06:51 PM »
April spending so far:
Groceries: $19
Fast food: $2
Work food: $2

Some great sales in the local grocery stores recently. 88 cent/lb vine ripened tomatoes, 88 cent mushroom pints, 59 cent/lb chicken thighs, 88 cent/lb apples. Hardest part is not over-buying and having to throw out rotted food.

Wow, amazing grocery spend! I'd love to know what meals you put together for that price. Nice work.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It helped to have lots of pantry staples from last month. Breakfasts have been simple oatmeal with home-cultured kefir and/or almond milk. This week's lunches were the remains of last week's huge pot asparagus soup (asparagus last week was 88 cents/lb  so I made a ton). Dinners were the remains of a bag of frozen shrimp (4.99/lb last week), the cheap tomatoes, and some cheap rice noodles I always keep on hand. Carrots, apples, bananas, or popcorn for snacks. This weekend's food will be oatmeal, a veg chili from the cheap mushrooms, tomatoes, a $1 can of pinto beans, beef bone broth I made last month and froze, and an onion (and cheap pantry spices from Aldi or the ethnic market).

I don't expect this low spending to last, between the impossibly good sales on fresh meat/produce and stuff I had on hand from last month. However, there are some good meat sales this week, so I can probably take care of my meat needs for the rest of the month and then some. Budgetbytes.com is my go-to for recipes, and it never lets me down.

Then again, I still have lots of staples and some frozen meat, so I can probably go another week buying just milk and veggies. It will be interesting to see what my weekly cost will become without lots of staples to fall back on.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 03:08:36 PM by Inaya »

Mongoose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2479
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #71 on: April 07, 2017, 03:45:09 PM »
Oooh, there is some good frugal vacation inspiration here! Mongoose, glad to hear you were able to make picnic meals work in UK. I'm headed there in a week and hoping to pull off the same.

April has kicked off OK, but I've definitely been hit with some of the "hidden costs" of travel. I spent $45 at CVS just stocking up on essential items that I had been putting off. I think everything I bought was needed and pretty impossible to get used (bandaids, earplugs, hand lotion, travel sized shampoo and soap containers, hair ties, etc). I also ended up spending $60 on travel snacks. I am gluten intolerant so I wanted to make sure I have lots of snacks with me. I am hoping this spend will greatly reduce the amount I spend once I am there. I am planning on maybe 4-5 meals out (affordable, pub type meals). I ended up taking the CVS money out of my designated travel fund so I'm not including it in my monthly spend.

Gluten free in the UK was dead easy. Lots of places have some stuff. Prepackaged gf sandwiches at M&S were relatively inexpensive and good. They had shops at motorway rest areas, train stations and the airports. I don't count that as eating out because the cost was essentially the same as purchasing the ingredients and making it yourself. Schar rustic bread with jelly or butter. Lots of fruits and salad. So, so much easier than where we are in the states. Sainsbury had the biggest selection of the grocery stores we tried. They have a free-from line... Grocery stores are just easier for me to navigate to find gluten free kid-acceptable food. Eating out was easier than the US even though we didn't do it much. Did pick up some gluten free fish and chips in Bristol and ate at Pizza Express in London. The hotels were very helpful at recommendations for places with gf offerings. We even stayed at a B&B that made my kids a full gf breakfast! Found several pubs we could've eaten at easily. It was hands down the easiest trip I've ever taken in terms of locating safe food for my celiac kid. Airlines also allowed us to request special gluten free meals at no extra cost. They were way better than the regular airline food. Such a nice change from constantly searching for safe food!


Our Aldi had the butter sale. $19.84 spent on butter and the box of gluten free cookies for the kiddos to try. Also spent $16.24 on eggs (DH can only eat local, pasture eggs without getting migraines... weird) and a small bit of fancy flour as a treat for Passover. We did picnic for lunch and dinner yesterday so no eating out. Although we did splurge on drinks and popcorn at the play we attended. The kids were hungry even after we'd eaten all the emergency snacks out of my purse. It was an embarrassing $22. Maybe I should count that as eating out...horrible price. :-(

We're still doing great for the month. Over $100 left and the larder is fully stocked. We may have friends over for dinner next weekend but that'll be wine and homemade pizza.

SingleMomDebt

  • Guest
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #72 on: April 07, 2017, 10:09:49 PM »
My friends asked me out tonight last minute. Which I don't usually go because it's not in the budget. But this time instead of saying "no", I went but preplanned by scoping out the menu online and pre-eating a bite at home.

Ordered a side salad w/portabella mushrooms and asparagus (was a big portion) w/1 delicious beer. $12. Then found out they were picking up the tab as I picked up a tab in the past (and told me to order more, but I was good). Free.

LindseyC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Ontario
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #73 on: April 08, 2017, 12:55:38 PM »
This is the important stuff and you should be proud of yourself! It isn't about making cuts and artificially lowering your spending that you'll have to make up later. It is about creating new habits and mindsets and ways of being that will get you closer to your goals and stick long term. It is super hard when you don't have a baseline to go from, and creating that baseline and making sure it is realistic is the best first step. It's a journey, not a sprint. You are doing great!

Thanks Swick! I really appreciate the positive reinforcement!! :)

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 709
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #74 on: April 09, 2017, 07:08:49 AM »
I'll try!  We are redoing our backyard (new garden beds, sprinkler system, sod, the whole 9 yards), so DH will probably spend a fair amount of our tax return on that.  BUT I can try to cut back in other ways!

1) Keep baby expenses to an absolute minimum - don't buy him any clothes, or cute toys, or bibs, or anything like that.  Only wipes and diapers, and only if we run out.  The child already has upward of 20 pairs of pants, he certainly doesn't need any more, no matter how adorable they are.
2) Don't use my $100 "spontaneous money" fund at all, if I can - this includes clothes, shoes, haircuts, new craft items, TCBY, etc.
3) Keep groceries under $400 - our budget right now is $450, and we're usually within that, but I'd like to cut it down if we could.  We end up with a reasonable amount of food waste, and I'd love to fix that.
4) Keep DH within/below his alcohol budget - easier said than done, but worth a try.
5) Cut down our ordering-out on super busy evenings and for DH's lunches.
6) Finally, be a voice of reason with our backyard renovations.  DH is doing it all himself, which is a huge cost saver, but man, there are just always. more. things.

Not doing excellently this month.  We spent too much money on steak last week to celebrate some friends who got married somewhat unexpectedly, and I've had more gift expenses than I'd like.  The gifts are for baby showers, though, for first time moms, so I can't really complain too much :)  I like getting people things they don't know they'll probably need, like nipple cream and the Target brand of milk storage bags.  I also bought Baby a pair of swim trunks, which were really unnecessary because our pool doesn't open until next month.  I justified it with the fact that the poor kid has zero shorts, and it was 80* yesterday, but still.

On the bright side, I found a 10% off coupon for the landscaping supply company we're using for our backyard stuff!  That could save us like $100 :)  Also, there's a Discover card offer right now that gives you 5% back on "home improvement stores", which might cover landscaping as well, and they match your first year of rewards cash dollar for dollar.  I'm looking for downsides/loopholes, but I'm probably going to apply for that this week.

Inaya

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #75 on: April 09, 2017, 11:57:05 AM »
On the bright side, I found a 10% off coupon for the landscaping supply company we're using for our backyard stuff!  That could save us like $100 :)  Also, there's a Discover card offer right now that gives you 5% back on "home improvement stores", which might cover landscaping as well, and they match your first year of rewards cash dollar for dollar.  I'm looking for downsides/loopholes, but I'm probably going to apply for that this week.
The Discover offer is legit. I did it and my husband is halfway through his first year. You get regular cash back throughout your first year, then on your anniversary they give it to you again. The only minor catch is there's a quarterly limit of $1500 for the 5% categories, so once you hit that, it'll switch to 1% for the rest of the quarter.

If you'd like, I can give you a referral link that'll give you $50 cash back on your first statement (and again after your first year).

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 709
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #76 on: April 09, 2017, 03:46:13 PM »
On the bright side, I found a 10% off coupon for the landscaping supply company we're using for our backyard stuff!  That could save us like $100 :)  Also, there's a Discover card offer right now that gives you 5% back on "home improvement stores", which might cover landscaping as well, and they match your first year of rewards cash dollar for dollar.  I'm looking for downsides/loopholes, but I'm probably going to apply for that this week.
The Discover offer is legit. I did it and my husband is halfway through his first year. You get regular cash back throughout your first year, then on your anniversary they give it to you again. The only minor catch is there's a quarterly limit of $1500 for the 5% categories, so once you hit that, it'll switch to 1% for the rest of the quarter.

If you'd like, I can give you a referral link that'll give you $50 cash back on your first statement (and again after your first year).

I would absolutely like that referral link :)

Inaya

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #77 on: April 09, 2017, 07:52:19 PM »
On the bright side, I found a 10% off coupon for the landscaping supply company we're using for our backyard stuff!  That could save us like $100 :)  Also, there's a Discover card offer right now that gives you 5% back on "home improvement stores", which might cover landscaping as well, and they match your first year of rewards cash dollar for dollar.  I'm looking for downsides/loopholes, but I'm probably going to apply for that this week.
The Discover offer is legit. I did it and my husband is halfway through his first year. You get regular cash back throughout your first year, then on your anniversary they give it to you again. The only minor catch is there's a quarterly limit of $1500 for the 5% categories, so once you hit that, it'll switch to 1% for the rest of the quarter.

If you'd like, I can give you a referral link that'll give you $50 cash back on your first statement (and again after your first year).

I would absolutely like that referral link :)
Here you go! https://refer.discover.com/s/gv3ma

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 709
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #78 on: April 10, 2017, 06:04:54 AM »
Thanks Inaya!


I totally had a dream last night that I bought myself a new pair of hiking boots and a new coat, because it started raining while I was at the store, and all I could think in my dream was "well, there goes uber frugal anything!".  Really, though, I was just cold because DH left some windows open overnight.  Whew!
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 06:10:37 AM by chaskavitch »

Duchess of Stratosphear

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #79 on: April 10, 2017, 07:10:38 AM »
I'm sucking at frugal April so far, although it's not all my fault. I couldn't help that the fridge died this month, but I could have salvaged more of the food, and I ate out a couple of times last week since it was hard to prepare meals to bring to work. However, this week, I already have three lunches planned out, and I am going to suggest a walk or picnic to my friend that I usually eat out with once every week or so. I had planned to not do any alcohol this month, but I'm stressed out so I bought a box o' wine. Oh well. There's always May.

westtoeast

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
  • Location: East Coast City
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #80 on: April 12, 2017, 05:12:09 AM »
Oooh, there is some good frugal vacation inspiration here! Mongoose, glad to hear you were able to make picnic meals work in UK. I'm headed there in a week and hoping to pull off the same.

April has kicked off OK, but I've definitely been hit with some of the "hidden costs" of travel. I spent $45 at CVS just stocking up on essential items that I had been putting off. I think everything I bought was needed and pretty impossible to get used (bandaids, earplugs, hand lotion, travel sized shampoo and soap containers, hair ties, etc). I also ended up spending $60 on travel snacks. I am gluten intolerant so I wanted to make sure I have lots of snacks with me. I am hoping this spend will greatly reduce the amount I spend once I am there. I am planning on maybe 4-5 meals out (affordable, pub type meals). I ended up taking the CVS money out of my designated travel fund so I'm not including it in my monthly spend.

Gluten free in the UK was dead easy. Lots of places have some stuff. Prepackaged gf sandwiches at M&S were relatively inexpensive and good. They had shops at motorway rest areas, train stations and the airports. I don't count that as eating out because the cost was essentially the same as purchasing the ingredients and making it yourself. Schar rustic bread with jelly or butter. Lots of fruits and salad. So, so much easier than where we are in the states. Sainsbury had the biggest selection of the grocery stores we tried. They have a free-from line... Grocery stores are just easier for me to navigate to find gluten free kid-acceptable food. Eating out was easier than the US even though we didn't do it much. Did pick up some gluten free fish and chips in Bristol and ate at Pizza Express in London. The hotels were very helpful at recommendations for places with gf offerings. We even stayed at a B&B that made my kids a full gf breakfast! Found several pubs we could've eaten at easily. It was hands down the easiest trip I've ever taken in terms of locating safe food for my celiac kid. Airlines also allowed us to request special gluten free meals at no extra cost. They were way better than the regular airline food. Such a nice change from constantly searching for safe food!


Our Aldi had the butter sale. $19.84 spent on butter and the box of gluten free cookies for the kiddos to try. Also spent $16.24 on eggs (DH can only eat local, pasture eggs without getting migraines... weird) and a small bit of fancy flour as a treat for Passover. We did picnic for lunch and dinner yesterday so no eating out. Although we did splurge on drinks and popcorn at the play we attended. The kids were hungry even after we'd eaten all the emergency snacks out of my purse. It was an embarrassing $22. Maybe I should count that as eating out...horrible price. :-(

We're still doing great for the month. Over $100 left and the larder is fully stocked. We may have friends over for dinner next weekend but that'll be wine and homemade pizza.

Thanks for this-- feeling a lot less nervous about it now! I wouldn't mind those fish and chips, yum.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Mongoose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2479
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #81 on: April 12, 2017, 11:30:02 AM »
Another $151.93 for groceries....up to $422.81. A bit over my stretch goal of $400 but we decided to invite some friends over for dinner (bought supplies to make gluten free unleavened pizza for everyone plus wine and sparkling grape juice). We are also maintaining full stocks so this number does not include eating down the pantry...this is what we actually are consuming. I don't want this to end up being savings via deferred spending. We easily have a month of food on hand and could do a no grocery spend if we needed.

My original stretch goal neglected to calculate in our spring traditions so I'm revising it to $500...still $200 under the usual budgeted amount. May isn't so celebration heavy so we will probably vote for joining another uber frugal challenge and dialing it back down.

MsSindy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 535
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Philly Burbs
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #82 on: April 12, 2017, 12:32:32 PM »
........

My grocery shopping should look like this each week (2 people):
  • Bananas
    Carrots
    Fresh berries / grapes
    Kind Bars (unless I get motivated to make mine own...I have all the ingredients and recipes)
    Celery
    Salad Stuff
    Every 2 weeks: Bread, Apples, Tangelos, Almond Milk

So, I'm hoping for no more than $50 per week, which is very generous.  I am doing 2 backpack trips, hubby's birthday, and we have some helpers for 2 days who I also feed.  I'm hoping that $200 will cover everything and clean out my pantry/freezers.

All other spending is on auto and in-check.  It just seems to be that damn grocery/eating out bill!

Well, I'm def not going to stay in the $200 range... I've spent $155 so far, but bought some things that were BOGO to have in the freezer.  I've also spent $40 on eating out which is more than we typically do.  Still, overall, not bad, and I think I can reign it in for the rest of the month.

LindseyC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Ontario
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #83 on: April 12, 2017, 06:32:38 PM »
Small success today I have been trying to lower my hydro bill each month since January when Ontario jacked the prices. This month compared to January, I have gone from $98 to $67. I had budgeted $80 so it's only a $13 savings but I will take it. My natural gas bill is also down from $120 to $90 and will remain that low to August, so that's an additional $30 a month in savings. I have 10 days left in my month and I am over my budget as I mentioned previously in this thread (for good reasons) I have also made a little extra money this month so it kinda evens out a bit.

I am already working on May goals. I hope to pay off a CC in May that has a 0% interest period expiring in June. I am 99% sure it will be paid without issue, barring any massive unexpected expense and I am SUPER excited about that. To be smart, I also have a backup plan to extend my 0% interest period, it makes me less stressed as I refuse to pay interest. 

I'm feeling all round less stressed about money right now because I am getting my health back, hardly missing any work and I feel like I am getting a handle on sticking to my budget. Always room for improvement but I have definitely already improved!!!

westtoeast

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
  • Location: East Coast City
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #84 on: April 14, 2017, 03:03:05 PM »
Small success today I have been trying to lower my hydro bill each month since January when Ontario jacked the prices. This month compared to January, I have gone from $98 to $67. I had budgeted $80 so it's only a $13 savings but I will take it. My natural gas bill is also down from $120 to $90 and will remain that low to August, so that's an additional $30 a month in savings. I have 10 days left in my month and I am over my budget as I mentioned previously in this thread (for good reasons) I have also made a little extra money this month so it kinda evens out a bit.

I am already working on May goals. I hope to pay off a CC in May that has a 0% interest period expiring in June. I am 99% sure it will be paid without issue, barring any massive unexpected expense and I am SUPER excited about that. To be smart, I also have a backup plan to extend my 0% interest period, it makes me less stressed as I refuse to pay interest. 

I'm feeling all round less stressed about money right now because I am getting my health back, hardly missing any work and I feel like I am getting a handle on sticking to my budget. Always room for improvement but I have definitely already improved!!!

Nice job! Impressed by those utilities, I find that one of the toughest areas.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Inaya

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #85 on: April 14, 2017, 11:55:15 PM »
Still doing well this week, if not quite as well as last week. Groceries could have been $7 lower, but I caved and bought some convenience items. (Although strictly speaking, I could deduct $10 because AmEx was paying me to use AndroidPay with their card.)

This week
Groceries: $26
Office food: $3
Eating out: $9

April total:
Groceries: $45
Office food: $5
Eating out: $11

The really good sales continue. Got more of the 77 cent/pint mushrooms, an 8 lb chicken at 96 cents/lb, 5 lb of mandarin oranges for $3, 10lb of potatoes for 99 cents. Also brought home 3 lb of free cooked brown rice from a catered lunch at work. Lunches all week have been a really good chicken/mushroom/rice soup, and dinners have been chicken chili over a baked potato. Enough left of both to get me through the weekend. Breakfast is oats (w/ kefir, almond milk, and chia seeds), as always.

Mongoose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2479
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #86 on: April 15, 2017, 12:39:52 PM »
Another $151.93 for groceries....up to $422.81.

$87.39 more....should be the last April spending with just over a week to go. Spent a bit extra since we're hosting a gf party this evening. Total = $510.20. Close enough to $500 for me to feel good about this month. We're still fully stocked still too.

YoungGranny

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 695
  • Age: 29
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #87 on: April 20, 2017, 02:29:57 PM »
Went grocery shopping for the week yesterday, spent $65 and have meals for the week plus I made cookies for the week to keep my sweet tooth satisfied. Biked to work today which will help keep gas consumption down (haven't driven my car yet this month lol). This is my first official Uber Frugal Month (although my hubby and I have always done our own no-spend September) so I'm excited to be held accountable and see how it all goes!

So far we're still holding on strong. Spent $233 on groceries so far this month and for being 2/3 of the way through the month we're sitll on track to come in at $400 or less. We kept our budget at $400 since we're trying to focus on eating at home instead of going out to eat but we're still eating super well and some high cost items.Bought some delicious gorgonzola cheese at the farmers market last weekend, if we were truly being uber frugal we could get our groceries down much more but not going out to eat is saving us so much money it seems like splurging on a few at-home indulgences is worth it.

I've also only put 150 miles on my car so far this month, super happy with that number since last year I averaged 800 miles a month. Small victories lead to big gains :)

LindseyC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Ontario
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #88 on: April 20, 2017, 03:13:34 PM »
So my month ends on the 22nd (I follow my CC cycle) and I am officially $700 over budget. Yep I tanked this month totally. Of the $700, $450 was pretty much over spending that I could have easily avoided had I been a bit more vigilant. That's a huge blow to my year, as I was doing so good.

I will be officially having an extremely frugal May and June because I want to fix this problem!

The silver lining, spending way over budget got me thinking about ways that I fight myself when I should be thinking of clever ways to work with myself to improve my life. From there my mind made a leap to other areas of my life where I struggle, seemingly against myself, the flow, or nature etc... Hard to explain.

I have a huge project to undergo this year fixing up my front porch, front yard and two sides of my house. I have some major limitations I am working against, the size of the yard, garbage people constantly throw in my yard (I'm a corner lot) constantly fighting the weeds and tree keys from a giant Manitoba Maple tree, a lack of sunshine, lack of water because of the tree and my porch over hang, high theft in my neighbourhood so I can't "decorate" with anything that is even slightly moveable, having pretty much no budget for this project etc...

For years I have been fighting this area of my house and I honestly just hate the whole front of my house. It really, really gets to me.

I realized I am always trying to make things grow, battle the impossible weeds, picking garbage out of my garden, just basically fighting against the nature of the area. It suddenly just struck me that I completely need to change my approach to this problem because the nature of the problem is not going to change. So I have to be the flexible variable in this equation.

I know this sounds crazy that I got this from over spending my budget but I swear my mind just made this leap to how much I sometimes fight myself. It was a real lightbulb moment. So I am redesigning the whole front of my house to work with the limitations and to just make my life 100% easier in this regard. I will write more about this later when I work out my plans and I will take a ton of before and after pictures.

It is amazing to me how much keeping a budget and truly thinking about every dollar is changing my life. I know I messed up this month, but maybe it was worth it to learn a few lightbulb lessons.

Inaya

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #89 on: April 21, 2017, 03:46:56 PM »
Getting progressively worse in the grocery. But still pretty good.

This week
Groceries: $37
Office food: $3
Starbucks: $10
Eating out/snacks: $5
Supplies: $5
Other: $39

April totals
Groceries: $82/200
Office food: $8/25
Starbucks: $10/10
Eating out/snacks: $15/30
Supplies: $5/30
Other: $39/55

Overall: $159/350

The higher grocery bill was mostly due to 1) the really good sales mostly going away and 2) stocking up on meat that was still on sale. I saw the $5/lb shrimp and couldn't resist. I won't need meat the rest of the month, so I'll only be buying produce, staples, and milk for the most part.

Already know that Starbucks will probably be over budget this month. Stupid Unicorn Frappuccino.

Dollar Slice

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5145
  • Age: 42
  • Location: New York City
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #90 on: April 27, 2017, 09:56:14 AM »
Never officially joined this thread because I had so much uncertainty about my $$ situation this month, but I was aiming low because I knew I would be getting paid much less than usual (they switched us to being paid in biweekly in arrears instead of semi-monthly/current at the same time they gave us access to a 401(k), so I will end up with a huge dip in take-home income). I honestly didn't think I could do it, but I challenged myself to have a positive savings rate in my take-home even with the shortfall. (By which I mean - my take-home should be more than my spending, not counting the money I put in my 401(k) pre-tax. Counting 401(k) savings I will definitely have a positive rate.)

I am currently 30% under my average monthly food budget. And more than 50% under my usual concert ticket budget even though I bought some advance tickets for May and June. My "misc" budget, which includes a ton of stuff (everything that's not a fixed monthly bill, utility, food or concert tickets) is 33% under. In addition to that, I hustled a little to get extra income outside of my day job, and I ended up with about $350 cash (pre-tax, so not as good as it sounds) as well as nearly $100 in credit card cash back/rewards.

I am not exactly sure what my paycheck will be tomorrow due to all the changes, but I *think* I will be able to eke it out if I don't spend much this weekend and if a side hustle direct deposit comes in as scheduled.

horsepoor

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3245
  • Location: At the Barn
  • Horses: for sanity & poverty!
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #91 on: April 28, 2017, 07:46:57 AM »
I haven't opened this thread all month for shame.  If it wasn't for horses, it would have been a frugal month but.  No.  I bought a new horse, and she is a bit smaller than my other two, and needed her own appropriately sized blankets, halters etc.  The only points where I can say I ended up being more frugal:  1)  did not buy the out of state horse that was 50% more and would have cost $1K or so to get shipped here, 2) borrowing bits (expensive) from my friend's collection to find the one that works best and 3) purchased her blanket wardrobe on deep discount since they clearance those things this time of year rather than waiting and paying full price in the fall, 4) she fits my existing saddles, thank dog.

Also had a couple days of going out to lunch due to crazy work schedule exacerbated by new horse situation.

On the upside, we haven't gone out to dinner at all, and I've been doing pretty well on eating up pantry staples, so the grocery bill has been reasonable.  Haven't bought any stuff for me, just the princess pony.

Inaya

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #92 on: April 30, 2017, 01:45:11 PM »
This week
Groceries: $11
Office food: $2
Starbucks: $10
Eating out/snacks: $11
Other: $83

Great week, minus that "Other" category.

April totals
Groceries: $93/200
Office food: $10/25
Starbucks: $20/10
Eating out/snacks: $26/30
Supplies: $5/30
Other: $122/55

Overall: $276/350

Came in almost $80 under budget, which is pretty good. Obviously there are some budget allocation issues. Groceries came over $100 under budget--I don't think $100 for the month is sustainable, however. Farmers markets open up next month, which will drive my costs up.

The high "Other" category was driven mainly by a day at C2E2. $39 ticket, $25 on random buttons and stickers and whatnot, $17 on fancy tea, etc. I did think ahead and brought food and a water bottle, so at least remained somewhat Mustachian. I also grabbed the hotel shuttle, since I live nearby, which saved bus fare.

Starbucks is my my study hall. Sometimes I just can't get homework done at home--especially if I've working at home for my job. I worked at home a lot, which means doing homework at Starbucks a lot. I usually get a cheapo Earl Grey tea and lots of hot water refills--but the Unicorn Frap called to me!

Goals for next month:
Groceries: $150
Office food: $25
Starbucks: $10
Eating out/snacks: $30
Supplies: $20
Other: $110

Reallocated some groceries and supplies money into the "Other" category.

SquashingDebt

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 264
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #93 on: April 30, 2017, 03:49:02 PM »
April wasn't exactly uber frugal, since I spent the first 9 days on vacation, but I'm pretty happy that I still managed to hit my $2000 budget, despite spending almost $400 on travel and $205 on car repairs.  Looking forward to keeping things going in May.

westtoeast

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
  • Location: East Coast City
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #94 on: May 01, 2017, 02:14:19 PM »
Frugal April was not successful for me, mainly due to under-budgeting for travel, but I want to say thanks to everyone who participated here-- I do think I was much more frugal everywhere other than travel and pre-travel expenses due to the peer support of these threads! Here I go giving Cheap Ass May a try...

TealBlue

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
  • Age: 39
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #95 on: May 02, 2017, 03:18:08 PM »
Well, I almost hit my budget for my non-travel food/drink/eating out budget of $525 with a grand total of $544.  Not too bad.  Unfortunately I went over budget during my travel with food, which was mostly due to airport meals/drinks!  Even though we brought granola bars with us, it was easy to just want to eat or get a drink during long flights and our snacks we brought were all gone by the overnight trip home :(  Here's to a better May!

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 709
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #96 on: May 02, 2017, 04:43:36 PM »
I'll try!  We are redoing our backyard (new garden beds, sprinkler system, sod, the whole 9 yards), so DH will probably spend a fair amount of our tax return on that.  BUT I can try to cut back in other ways!

1) Keep baby expenses to an absolute minimum - don't buy him any clothes, or cute toys, or bibs, or anything like that.  Only wipes and diapers, and only if we run out.  The child already has upward of 20 pairs of pants, he certainly doesn't need any more, no matter how adorable they are.
2) Don't use my $100 "spontaneous money" fund at all, if I can - this includes clothes, shoes, haircuts, new craft items, TCBY, etc.
3) Keep groceries under $400 - our budget right now is $450, and we're usually within that, but I'd like to cut it down if we could.  We end up with a reasonable amount of food waste, and I'd love to fix that.
4) Keep DH within/below his alcohol budget - easier said than done, but worth a try.
5) Cut down our ordering-out on super busy evenings and for DH's lunches.
6) Finally, be a voice of reason with our backyard renovations.  DH is doing it all himself, which is a huge cost saver, but man, there are just always. more. things.

Not doing excellently this month.  We spent too much money on steak last week to celebrate some friends who got married somewhat unexpectedly, and I've had more gift expenses than I'd like.  The gifts are for baby showers, though, for first time moms, so I can't really complain too much :)  I like getting people things they don't know they'll probably need, like nipple cream and the Target brand of milk storage bags.  I also bought Baby a pair of swim trunks, which were really unnecessary because our pool doesn't open until next month.  I justified it with the fact that the poor kid has zero shorts, and it was 80* yesterday, but still.

On the bright side, I found a 10% off coupon for the landscaping supply company we're using for our backyard stuff!  That could save us like $100 :)  Also, there's a Discover card offer right now that gives you 5% back on "home improvement stores", which might cover landscaping as well, and they match your first year of rewards cash dollar for dollar.  I'm looking for downsides/loopholes, but I'm probably going to apply for that this week.

Epic fail. 

1) Bought baby shorts outfits and MORE swim trunks, and some t-shirts because DH thinks they're super cute now that baby doesn't need to wear onesies all the time (walking = shirts don't ride up while crawling.)

2) Spent my spontaneous money on a night out with friends, a sweater, shorts, a dress, and more clothes for baby.

3) Groceries right at $450.  At least we didn't go over?

4) DH was $10 under his $50 alcohol budget, yay!

5) Cut back on night-time ordering of fast food, but not DH lunches.

6) Paid someone to put in sprinklers for us, because we don't have a trencher or a square shovel and DH was sick of digging.  We did, however, picked up and laid all of the sod ourselves, so we didn't have to pay a delivery fee.  Also, we used both our coupon and my spiffy new Discover card to pay for the last items on our backyard list - paving stones and gravel for all of our walkways.  Between the two of them, we should save/get cash back to the tune of over $300.  Yay!