Budgeting Changes: That Constant Battle

In the last post I revealed that Justin and I are especially struggling with our budget after a big purchase we thought we needed. Hindsight is 20-20. Looking back, we decided to give our budget an over haul.

Justin has been working up to biking to work, and that is exactly what he has started doing this week. The lack of rain has been nice in helping him to do that. (I imagine leaving at 6AM when it is still cool outside also helps.) We have also been looking to have Justin join Gympact. The idea is that if you work out 30 minutes a day either at a gym or using Runkeeper, you can earn money. If you skip your work out, however, your credit card or debit card will be deducted by $5 for every work out you miss. This is a great incentive if you don't like to work out or for those days when Justin isn't so sure he wants to bike in. (Too tired, feeling sick, or whatever.) The major benefit I see is that it could help us cover the costs of him biking to work. As crazy as it sounds, Justin and I are finding the upkeep of a bike is different then the upkeep of a car yet it can still get expensive. Luckily, you don't have to put gas in it once a week!

I mentioned yesterday that Justin and I are actually buying meat with the intention of freezing it to be used in meals. Over the weekend, we also decided that it might help to have some meals already frozen and ready to heat up. Using mostly supplies we already had, Justin threw together some baked ziti last night that he was able to freeze. That along with some sort of Mexican casserole we got at Costco the other day means we have a variety of food stored away for a rainy day (or until we decide to eat it). Having this food put away and frozen, we are hoping, will deter us from eating out when we are limited on time or too tired to cook. Plus, it will be nice to pair the frozen dishes with fresh vegetables making meals much simpler to make and hopefully more cost effective.

Justin and I finally opened up a joint checking account over the weekend! We had received a coupon from Chase Bank to receive $200 when you open a Total Checking Account with them. The account will not be our primary account, and as such we had to move a good bit of money from savings to the checking account. In essence, we will be treating the account like a CD in which we will receive approximately 6% APR. We can't touch the money for 6 months, but it seemed like a good financial move to make. One of the downsides is that for the next few months I will be looking at my savings account freaking out: what happened to my money!?!? AHHHH!!! :)

The good news is that all of our financial changes encouraged us to look at our budget again. (This seems to happen once every 4 months or so.) Since December/January, we have added things to our budget and taken things away. It is constantly being restructured. This month Justin decided to start putting some money away into a savings account for Christmas which reduces our "everything else" budget by 66%. It's actually a really scary number considering the number of things that fall into the "everything else" category, but we are hoping that budget cuts in other areas (like food and gas) will help to make up for the fact. Further more, the way our budget currently works, we always have the money I make to fall back on.

Not only are we going to try and make budget cuts, I think we are finally going to go through all of the stuff we have cleaned out of the house (that is now in my parent's basement). Hopefully I will be able to make some money back on the purchase of my camera by taking some awesome pictures of clothing and various other items to sell on ebay. It seems crazy to me that a year after we started sifting through our belongings we would now be organized and prepared enough for me to take on the whole new task of selling things. Hopefully it will work out.

So what do you think? Have you completely forgotten about your budgeting resolutions? Do you have any crazy schemes to make money? Are you a crazy planner who writes out dates of perspective money gains and losses for the next 12 months before deciding how to budget your money? Or am I the only one?

Share your budgeting secrets! Obviously I don't know what I'm doing, but I'd love to hear your suggestions!

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