Real Talk: The Cost of Living

Photo by  rawpixel.com  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

I hate money. More specifically, I hate the lack of money my family has and how that effects us. Here's a bit of insight into our financial situation: we both work, full-time, with my job having benefits and his not having any; we both do side work for money when we can (LVBookDesign.com); we rent a 2 bedroom/1 bath house in the suburbs because it is cheaper; we have one vehicle, and we are still paying it off; we have one child in full-time daycare; we have a small amount of credit card debt from buying appliances and some furniture when we moved into this house; I am still paying off one student loan; and we have a very small savings that worries me constantly.

I'm the one who manages our money, for the most part, and I always feel like we are living hand-to-mouth. Here's the thing though – we aren't. Mr. LL and I sat down one Sunday, not that long ago, while Lazy Baby was taking a nap, and we really went through our spending, expenses and income. Even with allotting some income for us to have to spend on whatever we wanted each week, we saw that we could still put almost $100 in savings a month. More if we do side work. 

But, I still feel like we could cut costs to make our standard of living better. I've tried to cut our grocery budget to $100 a week, but I don't think this is realistic until Lazy Baby is out of diapers and no longer drinking formula. I include toiletries, diapers, dog + cat food, cat litter, etc. in my grocery budget and I loathe blogs/articles that talk about "$30/week for a family of 8!" and they aren't including that other stuff. Why in hell would not include those items in my "grocery" budget when I buy them when I buy groceries? Uh uh. That's dumb (to me, if it works fo you, great!). 

We don't go out, however, on the weekends we do fall into a bit of a fast food black hole, but that's a post for another day. We're going to cancel our TV cable that we got for my mom when she watching LB, but now that she's in daycare, we could save that $20/month.

We have a few big purchases we want to get in the not-so-distant future, the first being getting Mr. LL a vehicle that he can put a carseat in. Then, we'd like to save up a decent down payment on a house. The housing market in our area is dumb and I hate it. But we aren't even close to being ready to tackle that beast yet.

I'd also like to have the whole "6-months of income" saved up as an emergency fund. I keep trying to tell Mr. LL we need to focus on that FIRST, then save for the other things, but he's a bit more "we have it, let's get this!" at times. He agrees we need the emergency fund, but he's also really tired of not having a car (I take our one vehicle to work and he gets rides from co-workers). I get that – plus I'm tired of him not having a car, too. 

Oof, this is a bit of a rambling post. Anyway, I'm working on budgeting our finances again and if this is something you would be interested in (our system, how's it working out, etc.) then let me know in the comments.

2016 Goals - Review

I haven't really been checking in with my goal list for the year, so I thought I'd wrap up 2016 by looking back at it and seeing how I did.

2016 Goals

  1. Get my first LV Book Design Client — I got my first client and then some! And almost all of my clients returned for more work from me!

  2. See my mom get married — Check this one off the list! (here's a few pics from the wedding)

  3. Go to Colorado/Take a "real" vacation — We ended up just going to our favorite cabin in New Roads, LA. However, we had an amazing time and we got to stay longer.

  4. Become a Budget Boss — Not so much. But with baby on the way, I'll be buckling down on this one in 2017.

  5. Live a healthier lifestyle — Getting pregnant made this one happen, lol.

  6. Try out turquoise hair — Still on my to-do.

  7. Get a grill — Sadly, this still hasn't happened.

  8. Save for Xmas all year long — We actually just ended up having extra income come in for Xmas, but we really need to make saving for it a practice.

  9. Create more personal art — I did more freelance illustration work this year, which I love doing but I still never worked on personal visual art. I did start writing, however. So, that counts, right?

  10. Try Whole 30 — Nope and probably won't anytime soon.

  11. Use Instagram at least once a week — I need to start doing the challenges again. I had fun doing them and it helped me get better at Instagram.

  12. Try to do Project 365 again — FAIL.

Goal Getter /// January 2016

JANUARY 2016

FAMILY (0%)

  • Be the photographer at my Mom’s wedding (0%)
  • Plan a weekend to go see Mr. LL’s family in February (0%)

NOTES: 

 SOCIAL LIFE (50%)

  • Plan a D&D night with my friends (0%)
  • Go out for my Birthday with Mr. LL (100%)

NOTES: Since my mom is getting married on my actual birthday, we went to Comic Con this weekend and out to eat for my birthday a week early. :)

 HEALTH (8%)

  • Meal plan every week (25%)
  • Stick to said meal plan every week (0%)
  • Walk Bigby at least once a week (0%)

NOTES: We kinda wobbled off our meal plan this week, but we still did alright in the food department IMO.

 FINANCIAL (0%)

  • Build a budget with Mr. LL (0%)

NOTES: Ugh. This is just such a hard topic to deal with, that I've been avoiding it a little.

CLEANLINESS  (50%)

  • Get a handle on the laundry (100%)
  • Get back in control over our dishes (100%)
  • Pack away Yule decorations (0%)
  • Take tree out (0%)

NOTES: We totally missed the tree pick up day in our neighborhood. :(

 BLOGGING/FREELANCE  (60%)

  • Clean out my affiliates (100%)
  • Get posts ready for the month (50%)
  • Write some posts for LV Book Design (50%)
  • Get a newsletter for Lazy Lady (100%)
  • Photo day (0%)

NOTES: