August

Well, it’s October 1st, so I figured I’d finally post my August budget?

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting regularly for the last couple of months.  That’s because *drumroll*…I finally found gainful employment!

I’m still struggling to balance my life so I can still have fun with this blog and do all of the other things I need to do, but it’s been tough so far.  My goal for October is to do better!

Starting with this…finally posting our August budget!  Click below to see how we did!

Frugal Mermaid August Budget

Breakdown:

-We went over our grocery budget again.  I think I’m finally going to bite the bullet and raise that to $250.  While I think it’s possible for us to spend $150 or $200, spending that extra amount to make really yummy meals is worth it to me.  By spending $50-$100 more in groceries, we are saving at least that in fast food/restaurant meals and getting more meals out of it.  If we eat rice and pasta every day, I will be far more tempted to go out to eat to get a good meal.  So by spending more to make good meals at home, we don’t eat out as much.

My internet bill and cell phone bill are great examples of the money you can save by not being lazy.  Cox promised us that they would wave half of our install fee (about $35) back in May.  After 6 phone calls and 2 months later, we finally got the credit to our account.

While I wanted to give up many times because, hello, I don’t want to spend hours on the phone with customer service, I realized that that is so stupid.  They already promised us that money.  It’s already our money, we just need to do some work to get it back (which is ridiculous, but just how crappy internet provider customer service works).  I wonder how many people would have decided it wasn’t worth $35 to make 6 ten minute phone calls?

I got an automatic pay email from my cell phone provider and noticed they had charged me $3 more than usual.  After 10 minutes of combing my bill, I noticed that they had tacked on a $3 charge for something I had never ordered/agreed to.  I quickly called them to reverse the charge, expecting a similar process as the Cox debacle.  But after 30 seconds, they quickly reversed the charge and took that order off my account.

If I wasn’t so crazy about tracking every single dollar, I never would have noticed that they started charging me just a little more.  I would have spent an extra $3 for months, maybe even years.  Sure, it’s only $3.  But it adds up!  Again, I wonder how many people would even notice they had been charged an extra $3?  And how many would call to get the charge reversed?

Ok, I’m going back on what I said in July.  I am going to increase our eating out budget.  My husband had a very polite you-need-to-calm-the-freak-down conversation with me about our budget.  We decided that we should be able to have a nice night out more than once a month without feeling guilty.

While I do still want to keep this within reason, I’m going to increase our budget amount in this category.  I think $40 is much more reasonable.  That way we can have one “nice” meal and a couple of fast food runs.

– I did make a little extra money in August by cashing out my balances for Ibotta, an app that gives me $0.25-$0.50 back every time I go to the grocery store, and for AppLike, an app that gives me credit for downloading games or watching videos.

I highly recommend that everyone downloads Ibotta.  Twenty-five cents may not seem like a lot, but it added up to $20 in just a few months!  And if you shop real brands instead of generic, you will earn even more!

I don’t love AppLike, but I did find a Candy Crush copycat game that I love (Cookie Jam, for those interested), so all of my credits were from playing that during my restless hours of insomnia.

And I also sold a 15-year-old iPod.  Hey, people will buy anything!

-I forgot to mention bank interest in June and July.  I use the GS Bank online savings account, which is currently earning me 1.20% interest.  I’m not including an increase in my stock accounts because those aren’t really “increases” until I sell them off.

*We bought our trip for Christmas at my mother-in-law’s house, so that’s why my Travel account balance is back down to $0.  And because we didn’t have enough for the tickets in that account at the time that I bought the tickets, I had to include the remainder as an expense for August.

We had a similar problem with Home Supplies.  We bought $31 worth of home goods, but only had $20 in the account, so we had to add the remaining $11 as an expense.

*We also used some money from the Gift account and the Guests account.  But because we had enough in those accounts, we just pulled from those built-up savings and didn’t have to include it as an expense this month.  This is how all of these “savings for future expenses” accounts will hopefully work by next year.  They will be built up enough in the next few months so as to be able to pull from them whenever we need, without tipping our monthly expenses over the desired amount.

Well, let’s hope I can get the September budget out before it’s a full month late! September was a busy, busy month.  Check back later this month to see if we completely blew our budget, or spent less than usual!

Like my budget template?  Download your own here.

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