Organizing Life Post-Baby: Part 2, Budgeting & Saving

Hey friends!  I’m super excited today because David comes home from a long business trip from Korea – we have missed Dad! Hats off to all the single parents out there.  Working and being the sole provider is, well, a lot of work!  Plus the guilt of leaving Nathan in daycare for longer hours than usual.  Anyway, we got through it and despite another ear infection that has been hard to clear, we’re both doing pretty well.  I’m ready for some cycling, yoga – and maybe some shopping.  Too much to ask?!

IMG_3864 Evening walks with my son who loves eating the baby carrier

Budgeting: I remember being an intern and first moving to Houston, living frugally off each paycheck and keeping a small notepad to balance my expenses.  I shared an apartment and our dinner table was a card table for that summer and our TV stand was a box.  I guess my point is that at one stage in my life I was quite frugal; but then as my income got to a sustainable level and I was saving I didn’t worry so much.  Fast forward to expensive hobbies like travel & triathlon and bam! I’m spending more than I realized.  Post-baby we have taken a hard look at finances, and while we’re doing okay, we are motivated to save more to meet our future goals.  We analyzed our budgets in mint closely (highly recommend mint!) and made some changes.  The biggest one lately was setting up “Funny Money” accounts for both myself and David.  We said that we would each have a bucket of money that we can spend on whatever we want, that can’t be questioned – hobby items, sports gear, etc.  How does it get funded?  That’s the catch – it’s funded by anything we sell, any birthday/Christmas money, any reward money from work, as well as a small % of our combined bonuses annually.   I was against the idea at first (it felt suppressing), BUT I actually love it now.  Not only does it make me question my purchases and what I really want (would I spend my funny money on this?), but it also motivates both of us to sell items we don’t need or want anymore.  I recently bought my Betty Designs team kit with my funny money and it was well worth it!  (regular clothes and beauty purchases are not funded by funny money)

g0060754 Out on the bayou in the new kit

Nix-ing Amazon Prime: I used to swear by Amazon prime, and it did make life easier in the first months of being a parent, but now that we are in more of a groove and don’t need items right now! I started to consider unsubscribing to Amazon Prime.  When the new price of $107/yr instead of $75/yr came out, I was convinced.  Amazon is still shipping orders of $49.99+ for free, and we would have to pay for expedited shipping 10+ times to breakeven with the Amazon prime membership rate.  We agreed we just need to be careful we aren’t convinced to buy un-needed items to get to $50 free shipping.  I’m also forgo-ing any delivery services and things I can really just do myself.

Removing subscriptions: It’s good to go through and understand what commitments you have monthly, annually, etc.  We don’t have a lot, but it’s a nice exercise – there are always things you can live without such as cable, magazines, additional gym memberships, etc.  I consolidated my gym/pool membership to one location, and I even found out recently I had extra yoga classes form an old 10-class purchase at a local studio – score!

Race Entries: We started categorizing our race and athletic event costs in mint and found out – wow, these suckers are expensive!  We had always thought “these are a healthy activity, so we’re not going to worry” but they really add up, especially the triathlons.  Plus there are some that we signed up early for and DNS’ed (did not start) due to vacation conflicts, etc.  Starting in 2014/2015 we have been more discerning with our races, and I think it makes them more special and a bigger focus for training.  And really – for us amateurs I see no need to use races as “training”.

Again, I had a pretty negative outlook towards budgeting and saving when we started this, which I think stemmed from spending so much on bike, ironman, etc. in the past few years.  But now I am really happy and it is making me appreciate what I have so much more!  Do I still dream of a new road bike and beach vacations?  YES!  But they are going to be so much more worth it when I work hard to get them. 

Next up, cleaning my closet and house using the KonMari method.

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