Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less: How Does She do a Budget: Q and A

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How Does She do a Budget: Q and A


Are you all recovering from Fourth of July this morning? I don't know about you, but we go all out. BBQ with the family, water gun fights (kids vs dads), the whole enchilada. We pretty much rocked Fourth of July in the "W" Household.  That being said the little redheads are recovering from a day in the sun and a late night of firework bliss. Those bright lights never get too old to those littles do they? Heck us Moms are thoroughly impressed as well:) So while we vegge out today and recover, I wanted to answer some questions that have been filling up my inbox this past weekend.

It is time for How Does She do a Budget Q and A
All of these questions are in response to 
my How Does She Live on $14,000 a year post.

Question 1:

 "Great post! I've been thinking for awhile about making my own bread (that would be my baby step 1, I suppose). How do you store your bread and how long does it last? Thanks!"
 -from Amanda

Great question! I get bread storage bags from Wal-Mart. They are sold by all the other baggies. They come with twist ties and everything. You can also get gallon size freezer bags as well. I store my bread in those also. I usually have one loaf out at a time. Any other loaves I have that are baked will go in the freezer, until we are ready to eat them. Usually bread doesn't last more than a week here. It is gobbled up way too fast. I think though I have left it out for at least 2 weeks and it was still good. After that it starts drying out and stuff, Very similar to store bought bread.

Question 2:
"Loved this post. We also make our own bread, etc. Your tips also work great on an ecological scale too! I think you might have done a post like this before, but if not can you post about how you do your monthly grocery shoppings in depth? "
- From Stevie

 Absolutely I can! I have a post on my grocery shopping. You can find it here.
and here is how I do Costco.

Question 3:
 "Thanks for this post! I really need to buckle down and set a budget. I'm generally not a big spender, but I like to splurge on things for my girls, and they're both too young to notice it. (They're both under 18 months). I also was wondering how you get the internet so cheaply. We're paying over $50/month, and it'll go up to about $75/month when our first year runs out, which I think is outrageous. Any tips there? Thanks!" 
-From Sharon

Good Question....
Let me think. Hubby is usually the one who takes care of the internet. I know that we get the Internet through our local cable provider. Our cable company offers a few different Internet choices, when it comes to the speed of the Internet. I would call your cable company and ask what type of internet you are signed up for. You may be singed up for something more expensive and not even know it. Other than that the $35 was just what we were signed up for when we moved and hooked up the internet in our current house.

Question 4:
 "This is so awesome! thanks so much for sharing! i always luv to read how people budget, live within their means, etc. i know some people say - just do it, but it's so much harder than that! any ideas how to get your spouse on board with helping make the budget?"
-From Michelle

This is a hard one. I actually have  a friend who is going through something similar. He has big ideas for them to save money, but his wife does not want to do it. She is all for it in her words, but not in her actions. I can tell you I was very similar when I started on this journey with my hubby. I was raised in a family where I literally got what I wanted. I was privileged. I didn't want for anything. Both of my parents made very good money and were able to splurge on things for my brother and I. I had no clue what bills and hard times were before I got married. It took my hubby literally showing me where every dollar was going in the month. He showed me what we were paying on fast food, groceries, bills,clothes, etc. He asked me what my goal was for us financially and what my goals were for the future. Then we talked about weather my spending habits would support our ultimate goal. It wouldn't have. I needed to change. Hubby was only asking me to watch my spending and stick to a budget. Once I got that done, then I started in with the monthly meal planning, homemade everything and such. I took baby steps. Once I had the basics down it become fun trying to think of ways to save money. It still is!Talk with your spouse and be honest, but firm. Say that it is important for you to make a change and you want to make it together. I hope this helps. If any one else has some tips for Michelle please comment below. This is a tricky question.

Question 5:
(more of a comment but needed to be addressed)

"I think that you have some good ideas but most are not manageable! My husband and I both work and have to drive to work. Only living on one tank of gas a month is not realistic where we live! "
 - Anonymous 

First of all I wish I could personally e-mail Mr/Mrs Anonymous. If you have not linked up your e-mail please do so. I love to write everyone back, but need your e-mail to do so. Now Mr/Mrs Anonymous I understand why you may feel the way you do, but there is no need to get frustrated. Having two people going to work is totally different. My hubby only goes to school and I am a stay at home Mom. Obviously me filling up once a month works for me, but wouldn't work for you.What I would say is try other ways to save money. Don't pick out what wouldn't work, but look at my tips and see what could work. What little change could you make. Those little changes will add up overt time and make a big difference. I know they will:) Also I live in Nevada. Gas prices are different everywhere. Again just take my advice as suggestions. I am just sharing what has worked for my family. Also the once a month filling the gas tank is for both Hubby and I. 
I Wanted to make sure everyone knew that. 

 Question 6:

"Wow, I'll have to come back to this post - definitely want to invite you to join in on my Wednesday homemaking link up. :) We lived on 12,000 a year, but had help from family and did NOT own our own home. I'm curious as how you own a home... Shared with Pinterest - wishing you lots of great traffic and admirers".

This was a popular question. First off remember we planned for buying a house and paying cash. We saved the whole 5 years my hubby was in the military. He served 2 deployments to Iraq, where he received something called "war pay". We got  a little extra each month. We put that extra towards paying off our car and saving for a down payment on a house.  We also live in Nevada. If you pay attention to the news, than you will know Nevada is one of the top ten states for unemployment. Unemployment means lots of foreclosures. People have lost their homes like crazy here. It is now a buyers market and not a seller's. This is sad, but it did work in our favor. We were living in an apartment and knew that with Hubby's next semester in school we would not be able to afford the rent without dipping into the $32,000 we had saved for a house. That being said we hated thinking of spending that hard earned money on rent in an apartment. That is when Hubby decided we should buy a foreclosure. He started looking up homes. We ended up buying a manufactured home for $30,000. We used the rest of our money for moving and fixing up the house. You can see here everything we did to fix up the house. So that is how we bought our house and paid cash. We knew we only had $32,000 to spend on a house. We only looked at homes within our budget and we stayed within that budget. That was the key to making it work. I didn't need a big house. I just wanted a place for my family and that is exactly what we have and we are happy. I think people get too caught up in wanting bigger and better. We just wanted something we could afford and we could be together. That is what was important. We were looking ahead and I am so glad we did.

Also I wanted to include some of the tips you all gave. 
They are awesome and need to be shared. 

Here we go:

" is an awesome website to help with learning to budget. It shows exactly where you are spending your money and will spell it all out in graphs so you get the visual. "

"You guys are absolutely amazing!! I am so inspired by you right now. We have always struggled with budgeting and have spent the last 2 years getting ourselves back in line. It has been SO hard to only have one car, move in with our inlaws and all the other sacrifices we made...but the day we could shout from the rooftops that we were debt free made it all worth it. The thing that helped us most? Definitely the cash envelope system. I am a very visual person so actually seeing when I was out of money worked wonders for me :) I loved this post and LOVE this series!"
-From Toni

"Great advice. I have a budget and stick to it. Paying in cash is the biggie for me. Thanks so much for sharing at the All Star Block Party."
- From Holly

"What a great post, thank you for sharing. My husband and I are currently following the Dave Ramsey method. We use cash for groceries and we have a budget spreadsheet that we follow. Everything is laid out on the spreadsheet every penny is accounted for. Since we started using cash and following a strict budget we have been able to pay off our cars and have started to pay off other debt too. I really need to check out thrift stores I would love to find a bread maker and make my own bread at home."
-From Shirley

"AMAZING post girl!!!
We also BUDGET down to the very last penny! And I will second that a BUDGET IS KEY!! We do our own version of the Dave Ramsey envelope system. It was very hard at first for me. I fought it hard. BUT once I saw where all our money went-vs-where it could go I was on board. Now I can't see life any other way!!! And I will second also paying CASH is a must. It seems to hurt a little more than using a debit/credit card!"

-From Tasha  

"This is a really interesting post with good ideas. There is a TV show called "Til Debt Do Us Part" and she says pretty much the same. She gets talking to couples really in debt and gives them tasks to get out of debt. I don't know if it is available in the USA because it is Canadian but it is worth checking out. However, I would NEVER be able to pay cash for a 200,000$ house, because this is what houses cost over here. Nevertheless, I enjoyed your post. I am already very thrifty and, aside from my house, I am debt free and intend on staying that way. I think everyone should buy only what they NEED instead of what they desire. It takes a lot of restraint at first but, if you are creative, it becomes a game and a lot of fun ! "

So there we have it...the burning questions answered. I hope this all helps and I look forward to doing more in the How Does She series. All your comments and e-mails inspire me and keep me wanting to create and write. Thank you always for your kindness and for taking some time out of your day to come here to my piece of blog land.

Want to find out more ways to save money?
Check out some of my other posts:

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
Freezing Your Milk
Living on $14,000 a year
How Does She Q and A
Breakfast and Lunch: Meal Planning and Saving Tips 
Fresh Produce All Month Long 
 Save Money at Costco
Menu Planning: Pantry Staples List
Weekly Menu Plans + Printable Shopping Lists
I also love these books for great money saving inspiration

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