Well, for our first month on a strict budget, we are actually $34.01 under budget!!
I’m pretty happy with this, especially as there were a lot of extra expenses in September that I hadn’t planned for. For example, my best friend got married in another city. This meant we needed to travel on the ferry to attend (we live on an island), stay overnight in a motel, get my hair done as a bridesmaid, and of course buy a gift for the lucky couple. In addition, another friend of mine had a baby at the beginning of September, and so I needed to get her a baby shower gift. Also, Mr. DG turned 28 this month and so we splurged for a new haircut for him, plus I got him a small birthday gift (a new case that he’s been wanting for his cell phone).
Where we saved money:
- Cell phone: I had a $50 mail-in rebate from when I signed my contract and it finally went through
- Electricity: Our bill was about $40 less than expected, as it was a relatively warm month and so we didn’t end up needing to use our electric heating much.
- Gas: This September, Mr. DG started teaching at a high school that happens to be much closer than the one he worked at last year. This means less money spent on gas, plus way less time commuting! I’m happy about the savings on fuel, and he’s happy about 15 extra minutes to snooze. 🙂
- Groceries: Firstly, each week, I tried to ‘shop’ our pantry for ingredients to make meals with. We used to this plan out meals for the week, and then would make a shopping list of any extra ingredients we’d need. Once we made the list, I scoured grocery store flyers and clipped coupons to look for the best deals. Then–and this is important–we actually stuck to our grocery list (we often have the bad habit of making shopping lists, but still tossing random things into the cart like chocolate milk or prepackaged foods!). On top of our planning, we were incredibly lucky with grocery gift cards this month. Firstly, I participated in a research study at my university (this involved being interviewed about my med school experiences for less than 30 minutes) and was given a $100 grocery store gift card for my time. Secondly. my husband was given another $100 gift card from his parents as part of his birthday gift. And we still have some money on left on the gift card, meaning we should save money next month too! Wahoo!
Reflecting on the month, I think one thing that this month taught me was to start planning for things like birthdays, baby showers, and weddings well in advance. Hopefully this will allow us to put some money aside for these events over time. Also, we could hopefully purchase gifts when they happen to be on sale, or maybe be more creative and make some gifts ourselves.
Overall, I think the month went well, and I hope that we can keep this up in October. Please feel free to share your tips for cutting costs, as we are certainly new to this!