I am so excited to share my August family spending report with you guys! Why? Transparency helps us all understand our own habits better. We naturally wonder whether our own spending is excessive, normal, or low. How can we know that if we don’t talk about it?
I recently posted a snapshot into some of our budget categories on Instagram to show what we really spend, and you guys really wanted to see more. There were questions about how we keep our grocery budget so low, what kind of mortgage we have, what we include in the household budget and more, so I am going to break that down for you in greater detail every month now in these spending reports!
This is a peek into our family’s real spending. I love to be transparent with you guys but I have some rules . . .
RULES for reading this spending report . . .
- Use this for perspective to understand your situation and spending better. Seeing what other families do can help you figure out what you want or need to do.
- Do not consider this a recommendation or suggestion for what you should be budgeting or spending.
- If you have any questions, just ask! I personally answer all questions.
- Do not leave this page feeling bad about yourself for your income or spending. You should leave this page thinking “that was good to know, that was interesting, I learned something, or I am inspired.”
- Don’t criticize or belittle us for our spending or income. This is very personal information that I am sharing to help you gain perspective on your own finances. I love my readers but for my own mental health, rude comments will be deleted.
- This spending report is informational and a tool. Remember that.
- Remember that we all spend our money differently, allocate differently, value different things, and that is not only completely normal it is completely 100% okay.
- When in doubt, refer to rule #1.
- We are a family of 5. Two adults, three small children. We are all average eaters, not picky, not organic, no diets, no food allergies. #basic
- We live in Texas, USA where the cost of living is ranked #18 lowest of 51 states on this study.
- We eat out a decent amount because my husband is constantly on the go for work. It can be helpful to look at our food budget as a whole (grocery + restaurants = total food budget).
- I’m a work-from-home/stay-at-home mom and don’t drive much. My husband drives about 1-2 hours a day, so our gas spending has been up recently.
- We are mostly on a single income. See more below.
- We can’t share our income!!! I am so sorry, I wish I could, but it wouldn’t be appropriate because this is a public blog and my husband is asked to keep his salary confidential by his employer. My husband makes between $100-140k gross. I know that range is vague, but I hope that helps. This does not include my income from this blog, which is currently kept separate because it is small, it fluctuates, and I am reinvesting/saving it up instead of “paying myself.”
- This is our final month with debt payments because we paid off our last debt at the end of August! So the spending on this report represents an average month for us while on our “debt free journey.”
Pin it for later!
Without further ado . . .
AUGUST SPENDING REPORT
Things that come out of our paycheck directly before we “get paid” (not part of our monthly budget)
|401k contributions||6% of income|
|Health, Dental, Eye, +Life insurance |
(supplemented by employer)
|Gym membership (starts next month)||$0|
Things we spend money on every month . . .
|Tithing||10% of income|
|Auto Insurance (Comprehensive, 2 older vehicles)||$174.32|
|Life Insurance (2 cheap, old policies)||$19.30|
|Mortgage (30 year)||$1988.63|
|City Utilities (water, garbage)||$137.78|
|Mobile Phone Bill (2 paid off phone lines, Verizon)||$121.41|
|Adobe Spark Subscription||10.81|
|Every Dollar App Subscription||10.81|
|Daughter’s Preschool Tuition||$170|
|Minimum Payment Student Loan #3||$105.20|
Spending unique to the month of August . . .
|Kids School Supplies||$144.60|
|Kids School Clothes||$42.27|
|Daughter’s Birthday (4 yo)||$57.99|
|San Antonio Trip (gas, food, etc.)||$70.16|
|Final Debt Payment (used a bonus)||$2197.62|
This was kind of an expensive month because our kids started school so we had all those supplies and clothes, and our AC broke so we had to have that repaired. But honestly, every month has something, so I’d still consider this a typical month for us while paying off debt.
Overall, I’d rate August a 10/10 as far as how happy I am with our spending, sticking to budget, and so on because even though it wasn’t a perfect month (we’ve never had a perfect month) WE BECAME DEBT FREE so what else matters?!?
Dis you like reading this spending report? Let me know in the comments! And if there’s anything else you want to see explained on these spending reports, let me know.
MOST ASKED QUESTIONS:
“What do you include in the ‘Household’ category?”
This month the $324.14 we spent on “household” items in August included Walmart trips, Amazon purchases, library late fees, several small doctors visit copays, a car wash, buying flowers for a friend, etc.
“How do you keep our grocery spending so low?”
- I meal plan religiously, always have.
- I make a grocery list every time and stick to my grocery list.
- I stock up each month on things I know we will eat and buy them in bulk (like meats, bread). Then I freeze them. I don’t coupon or even really shop sales. I buy exactly what I need and get out!
- I try to avoid club stores like Sam’s Club or Costco. Even though we do have a Sam’s Club membership, I find I go spend hundreds there plus still have to do regular shopping for the items I can’t find there. Even though I love their products, I generally think I spend less by just avoiding it most of the time.
- I do 95% of my grocery shopping through Walmart Grocery Pickup. For me it’s because of convenience. However, it’s free, and I avoid a lot of impulse spending by shopping online for only what’s on my list. If you use the link above you’ll get $10 off your first order and I’ll get $10 off a future order!
- We don’t drink alcohol or coffee at all and don’t buy soda, juice, or other beverages on a regular basis (just milk and water, usually).
- We don’t buy a lot of convenience items, snacks, candy, individually wrapped items, etc. This is healthier and also cheaper, and it’s just sort of how we naturally do it.
- We eat less expensive, simple meals and use less expensive ingredients. E.g. chicken breast is cheaper than steak. We eat a lot of chicken.
- We don’t buy organic anything. We don’t have any dietary restrictions either.
- I buy brand names when I like them better. I buy generic brands when I can’t tell a difference.
- I shop weekly, at most. Often going 8-9 days between grocery shopping trips. The more often I shop, the more I spend, period. Fewer trips, less spent. This forces us to stretch our groceries longer and waste less.
- I have a separate budget category for most household items like toilet paper and soap. I typically do a big Walmart run once a month and don’t include that trip in the grocery budget. This is just how I prefer to do it. A lot of people combine these and it skews the comparison. Sometimes I include these types of items in the grocery budget if I just buy a couple items with my trip. But if it’s a big $80-$120 Walmart household stock up trip, I put it in my household budget category.
- We do tend to eat out a fair amount during the month, so look at our food budget as a whole. This is because my husband is on the go a lot, and we aren’t willing to negotiate this convenience right now.
Need help with budgeting?
I have a full set of written instructions on how we budget, plus a super easy to follow FREE budgeting spreadsheet, and a video tutorial on how to use it. Basically it’s everything you need to get going on a budget and it’s all on one page to make it easy for you.
Plus, you always have me here to answer any questions!
Need help getting your debt paid off and under control?
Check out our Debt Snowball Calculator. Add up all your debt, determine how much you can pay toward debt now, plug in future lump sum payments to debt, and determine how soon you could be debt-free! Order your debts in whatever payoff order you choose. This tool is completely customizable to help you figure out how soon you can be debt-free based on your totally unique income and goals! Includes video tutorial.
LOVE this! Can’t wait to see the following months ahead!
Thanks Chelsea! I will be sure to post more going forward!
Thank you for sharing. Your spending is very similar to mine and it’s nice to see another family out there killing it. Although I do spend a lot more on groceries but I am working on it! I started meal planning (AGAIN!) last week so wish me luck!
I’m glad you found this helpful! Good luck in your meal planning! 🙂 I believe in you!
This is great! Thanks, Marilee! And congrats on becoming debt free! I totally relate to the eating out category. We are looking forward to being debt free in 2020!
Congratulations Chrissy, keep up the great work, can’t wait to see you reach your goals too!
This is great! Could you include your budget vs actual? This will help provide context. Thanks for sharing!
I was thinking about doing that but I didn’t want the emphasis to be on how well we stay in budget but rather just how much it costs to run our family. I am concerned about feeling of pressure to be perfect with my budget and that just isn’t a reality for me! However, if a lot of people request it, I will add that in too. Thank you for asking and giving me feedback. It helps me immensely.