As I mentioned in my last post, we've been a little, well, indulgent of ourselves lately. Being hugely pregnant is inconvenient in a lot of small ways that add up financially. It's easy to forget that my energetic "stay at home" schedule (ironically named) allows me to save us a lot of money. It doesn't make up for my previous salary (not by a long shot) but it does let us to live reasonably on a single income.
For instance, I cook most nights (probably 5-6 nights a week) and DH cooks at least once a week. My cooking is generally more made-from-scratch and vegetable-intense, requiring more prep time. However, since I've been in my 3rd trimester, I'm usually too tired at 5:30 to be on my feet for another hour. This has led to DH cooking after he comes home from work (usually 10+ hours) and quicker meals... i.e. more expensive. While still couponing and meal planning, our grocery budget went up by ~20% last month and is on track to do that again this month. We won't discuss the eating out budget!
I expect this to change in a few weeks, when I have a little more energy or can at least devote my energy to particular activities, rather than being struck by tiredness at random times. In the mean time, I'm reading through a blog I found via a friend on Pinterest: 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget. It's always good to refresh my brain on finance topics, even when I've heard the majority of it before. 31 topics is a lot (and some I disagree with) but there are a few techniques I need to remember in the coming months. I may post more specifics about this soon.
I've also been thinking about Christmas presents after reading this Yahoo Finance article today. The first step for me is always determining how we can rearrange our money to pay for presents. Only then do I pick who we're buying for (mostly immediate family these days) and what we can afford to do in December (lots of Christmas party invites every year, not to mention travel options). I usually do our Christmas budget in September. That may seem early (and sound boring) but it lets us anticipate expenses and use October & November to save for presents and travel, rather than trying to fit it all into December's budget. I actually enjoy this task because it easily halves my stress level during the holidays when I know what we can and can't afford; plus, it's enjoyable to think about all the fun we'll have at Christmas time! I think I'll be spending one day this week catching up.
In the past few weeks, lots of my friends have mentioned money being extra tight. Are you doing anything extra these days to make ends meet? Any financial wins lately?