Tuesday, August 3, 2010


So I've been thinking a lot lately about money.  Not so much ways to get money, but ways to save money.  (Well, maybe a little bit about how to get money too, but not so much.  I'll get to that in a minute.)  Here's a bit of what I've been thinking:

I am terrible at budgeting.  Absolutely terrible.  Don't get me wrong, I'm great at guessing how much I'm going to spend on a general category each month and then filling it in with how much I actually spent.  But I'm bad at applying that and turning it into: we have x amount of money to spend which means we can only spend x amount of money on this specific thing.  But this past Sunday Bryan and I spent at least a couple of hours figuring out how much money we'll have (from work and student loans) until he graduates and then figuring out how much money we can spend on all the different areas of our life.  Let me just tell you: it is liberating.  Well,  not so much the part where we remembered that we're students who have no money, but the part about knowing how much we can/should spend on things.  That part is nice.

We've been using a budgeting spreadsheet in Excel that some of our friends gave us.  It's really really simple and the only one I've ever used that actually makes sense to me.  Everyone has their thing and I have found one that works for me.  They've said I'm welcome to share it with others, so if you'd like a copy I'm more than happy to e-mail it to you. 

Once we took a good, honest look at how much money we can spend on things it made me want to try to find ways to spend even less.  I just spent over an hour talking to my sister in law Anna on the phone, a lot of which was about couponing.  She is the queen.  And totally in the same poor college age kids boat as me.  And, by the way, she is one of my favorite people to talk to.  About anything.  I can't wait to hang out with her all the time at Christmas.  Anyway, after talking it over with Anna, I think I've decided that I probably will never be hard core about couponing, but I'm totally interested in saving money on the stuff we buy anyway, like diapers and shampoo.  Which, according to Anna, there are some great coupons for.  Anybody have something they'd like to say about couponing?  I am a total novice.  And by novice I mean I don't know anything.  At all.

Health Insurance
One of the biggest costs we pay for is health insurance.  Which I think is worth every penny.  But it would be great if we could still get great coverage, but perhaps spend a few less pennies on it.  Anybody know of anything great?  Olivia's already covered and Bryan gets a good deal though the school, but I think in the next year or so we'll need it for all three of us.  Any great suggestions you have would be much appreciated. 

This is one area where money is concerned that I feel great about.  We have spent very little on Christmas gifts thus far and I have finished probably over half of the gifts we plan to give this year.  I still have no idea what to give the men and teenage boys in the family though, so if you have any great ideas please say so.  Because I'd love to be able to make them something great, but I just haven't thought of anything yet that I could make that they would genuinely get excited about.  Just because something can be gender neutral doesn't mean guys will like it, you know?  Anyway, if you leave a really great comment about this and it gets deleted it's probably because I'm going to do it and I don't want them to see.  Bwahaha.

Teaching a Sewing Class
I may end up asking this question again later in its own post depending on the response I get here.  I kind of would be surprised if more than one person even read this post to the end.  Anyway, I've been thinking it might be fun to teach a little sewing class once a month.  I've been doing it for the past two months now for the women in my ward and and I really enjoy it.  I haven't opened it up to others yet since it's just been for church, but would that be something that might interest any of you locals?  If I taught a sewing class with an entrance fee of $5 or $10 or something?  You'd bring your own supplies and I'd do some demonstrations and help you all make a fun little project?  Let me know what you think.

Anyway, this was probably the most boring post ever.  But it makes me so excited and peaceful to have a good grip on finances.  The end.

P.S. Thanks so much to everyone who's voted for my little project thus far!  It would be great if you wanted to go and vote again today!  :)  Oh, and I'm told it's been fixed so you can vote for 5 a day now.  Click on the button below to vote.  Thanks!


JillianBean said...

Hi Katie,
Can you send me a copy of your budgeting spreadsheet? I have been trying to get myself on a budget...so far I've not been very successful.

If I lived in your area, I'd love to come to your sewing class. I think it's a great idea, and what a great way to earn a little extra cash. :)


alee said...

I read all the way to the end!

Nick loves to talk budgeting, but so far I haven't been too great at it yet since we have had plenty of money...but soon I will quit work, have another expense, and Nick may be returning to grad school...so if you figure out how to be a pro at couponing without it taking over your life, let me know! (all the people I know that are big couponers spend way too much time on it!)

CK Morgan said...

is the spreadsheet the one that is found on the byu website? If not we would like to take a look at it.

CK Morgan said...

This is Clark, the insurance may not be that great from BYU for the whole family, but outside plans can be just as bad depending on how much coverage you want. If you are just looking for emergency use then go with a high deductible which can be cheap and reasonable, but if you want general care then byu just might be a fair deal. try doing a search on ehealthinsurance.com to give you a few options to compare some of the other options

Kathy Haynie said...

Yay for budgeting. You are right, it brings great peace of mind. Good for you!

Kathy Haynie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Stout said...

Budgeting- I have the same struggles with budgeting. We're good about spending/saving, but even though I use a budget spreadsheet, I'm not always good about inputting our expenditures into it. I'd suggest doing that!

Couponing- If you find the magic recipe for couponing, please tell me! I have friends that are couponing masters that seem to spend VERY LITTLE to get a lot.

Christmas- I'm having the same problem with my Christmas presents. I've thought of handmaking ties or wallets. Please let me know if you come up with a good idea! I understand the whole "I-can't-post-it-on-my-blog-because-the-gift-receivers-will-find-it" idea, so you can email me: sarahisateacher@gmail.com. Thanks!

Teaching a Sewing Class- You should! I would attend if I lived in the area. I've longed for a fun sewing class to attend and learn to become a better seamstress. I'm sure there will be people that attend!

P.S. Good luck with the project votes. I voted a few days in a row for yours. I love idea! That's how I found your blog.

JuliaKoponick said...

Is there any secret to being able to vote each day? I keep going back, but it shows that I have already voted, even though I have only done it once.

Ange said...

I want a copy of your budget worksheet, I also wanted to let you know I am so proud of you. I love your blog and want to talk to you more about your layout and buttons. (Do you get paid for having them on your website? How does that work?

My two tips..For me I always grab the safeway mailer and seem to get stuff on sale with additional coupons inside when I shop.. Also, sign up for babies r us. As a member you get more updates on sales and member only nights to shop the real bargains. It's great. I also am looking online to buy GF products for a bigger discount. But I would say the best deal is looking for activities to do in the community on free days, love that in the Bay area. I have also enjoyed trade sitting to save money and resident managing has saved me money as well. Although, it is no easy to work where you live. Love you cute girl and look forward to talking with you soon.

My favorite book on this subject is The Courage to Be Rich, by Suze Orman

Sarah said...

Katie friend!
I feel like Spence and I have been WAY blessed in the budgeting category. I heard at a Sunday School class once that this is the ideal formula - of your gross income, you want to aim to spend 50% on regular expenses. If you can't, you need to earn more or spend less. That way you have 10% for tithing, 20% for taxes, 10% to save and 10% to invest. Now being in school this can be trickier (you shuffle some toward living expenses), but this has given us a really good idea of what we want to shoot for. We were actually able to pull it off while I was teaching and Spencer was in school. That's one reason why we'll still have savings when we're done with grad school!
In terms of tracking expenses from there, Spencer has an AWESOME Excel spreadsheet that he updates. Recently though we've started using mint.com - an AWESOME and EASY website. You input all your bank info/credit cards, etc. (but give no other personal info like SSN or name even) and you can set budgets and it will automatically update your spending for you from those accounts. I have several accountant friends that like it and it's FREE!!! It's been great so far although we're still tweaking things.
Anyway, I have other ideas but just email me if you're interested. Being aware of your spending is empowering I think.

Courtney said...

I love your blog. You always have the best post crafts or otherwise.
I just had a pretty good idea for the teen boy gift. Have you thought of a quilt. I just made my husband a quilt with all his old sports t-shirts and h.s. stuff. Also they have tons of sports team fabric. It could be cool.
I would totally go to a sewing class. I would charge 10.