Thursday, January 03, 2008

Getting my shit together - pay period #1

Today was my first paycheck of the new year. Therefore, it was also my first opportunity to visit my handy budget page, painstakingly created with the assistance of Google Spreadsheets, and plug in my income and take an inventory of what I was planning to pay out in bills and other expenses this pay. It was looking good. Considering my bills, my gas costs, and my grocery costs, along with the money I pay to bowl each week, I was looking at having about $50 left over this pay for incidentals. And if I can stick strictly to my budget, that's $50 I will be able to throw in my savings' account to go toward my New Lens Fund (which I will use to buy a longer lens for my new camera). Not too shabby...

Then I made the mistake of looking ahead the next several pays. And I started to have a little anxiety when I realized that my budget, for the most part, is about $200 more than my general take-home pay. Looks like somebody is going to be picking up some overtime. Thank goodness I have a job that gives me that option...

I headed out to do some grocery shopping today, and I actually planned it out so that I would go to two different grocery stores. The first was the Wal-Mart Supercenter that is on the way from my parents' house to my house. Let me start off by saying that I generally hate shopping at this Wal-Mart. First of all, it is enormous. It is totally unlike my beloved Wegman's, but the price is right. At Wal-Mart, you can get individual yogurts for $0.38 each. That is a seriously low price, my friends. You can get rice and sauce and noodle and sauce packets for less than $0.75 each. And because I am someone who has no brand loyalty whatsoever, Wal-Mart is a great place for me to shop. I followed up that trip to Wal-Mart with a quick stop at the beloved Wegman's. If I were rich, I would do all my grocery shopping there. It is such a pleasant shopping experience, with organized aisles, a clean store, short lines at the checkout (although I do like Wal-Mart's self-checkout option, and I didn't have to wait in a line there today), and wonderful, wonderful products. I went there specifically for lunch meat, American cheese, bread, and cheese to serve with crackers tonight when my in-laws come for dinner. I left there with all those things, along with the latest issue of People magazine. Hey, I didn't say I was perfect. But I did do a good job with my budget today.

I have budgeted $150 for two weeks of groceries, and I should be able to stick to that without much of a problem. I spent a little over $104 today between the two stores, and next week, I should only have to replenish my lunch meat, American cheese, and milk supply. The rest of the groceries should last until I get paid again. We do have Collin and Connor, along with their two siblings, staying with us this weekend because their mom is going out of town, so that could hit the food kind of hard. However, I am hoping that the fact that they will be out of the house all day on Saturday at a variety of basketball practices and games will mean that they will not be eating too much at our house. If not, I do have a little wiggle room to buy some more supplies for Bill and me for next week. But all in all, I would call today a success.

And now, I am going to go read my magazine...


Gunngirl said...

Good for you and your budget. I have decided to stop worrying about my loan, well, I stopped over a year ago. I decided to focus on credit cards first and then said loan.

I am getting rid of my Chase credit cards. I am starting to hate Chase, those lying bastards. ugh.

Here's to me finding a much, MUCH better job in 2008 which will afford me to get rid of my bills much faster. Here's to us Mary! *clinks glass of water* Hey, we should be drinking more water, right? lol

Oh, and I'm working on losing weight too. *cringe*

NME said...

WOW! That seems like a really small food budget to me. Amazing if you can do that. I'd say we spend about $200 a week - of course that also includes what Noah eats (but not much for Ray since he predominately nurses.) But grocery shopping just kills me since Noah started eating table food - since I try to buy mostly fresh foods and very few things that are processed, packaged or frozen the bills have just skyrocketed. Why is the most natural, less processed food less expensive? It just sucks. I can't skimp on healthy food for my family. Okay - off that soapbox.
We're doing more budgeting this year too. Ho hum. Hate analyzing every dime. I wish you luck.
Happy New Year!