Over the last few days, DH & I have been slowly talking abour our budget, our plans, our goals for the upcoming year or two. After seeing where we did well (and not so well) on our 2009 budget, we're ready to make some plans!

First, the $200 bonus I received at the end of the year went straight into savings. It's a tiny bonus, but every small piece to fuel our savings adds up. This year, once our cost of living increase is finalized, I'll increase my 401k contribution to eat that up, as I've done the last few years. I see my increase year to year as spare change adding to my check - never as whole dollars. And if I didn't have before, I won'tm iss it now.

Next, time to start deliberately saving. To me, this means funneling a portion of my paycheck directly into savings - the less work you have to do in order to save, the better. I still am collecting change is a 5 gallon jug at home - I will keep tossing in change and the odd dollar bill as they come to me. The jug is tucked out-of-sight at home, so there is zero temptation to use its contents, but in case of emergency, we know its there. I haven't tapped into the jug in more than 8 years, so I'm not too worried that I'll be doing that anytime soon.

Another idea I had, our entertainment budget is fairly generous - I want to reduce that by 25%, and use the remainder to really get our savings built up. We did not use our savigns over the holidays, neither did we use credit cards, so there is no pressure to pay off anything, but I see homes in our neighborhood going into foreclosure, and when our lease comes up - I'd like to be in a position to buy one of those homes. We currently are renting a townhouse in a neighborhood we plan to stay in for the foreseeable future.

For our entertainment, we will continue our weekly date-nights, but 2 date nights a month will have a $25 budget (for food, entertainment, etc.) one will be an average date night, the other - we'll go a bit fancier. Our project savings from that: $100 a month, which will add a nice cushion to our savings. It's easier to save when you can still have some fun. All I need now is an arsenal of cheap date night ideas and I'm all set. DH always votes for a movie, but in the winter, it's hard to find other avenues of entertainment in the Midwest - does anyone have some ideas for me? I need all the help I can get, over it's all movies - all the time. I haven othing against movies, but I love lots of variety.

I'm going to work on my cake-making skills - that will be a standard offer for anyone in our circle of family/friends for their gift. We will offer them a cake - it's both practical and affordable, cake mixes are super affordable and I always have a few dozen of those on hand, anyway. For very few people will we get gifts - unless the gifts come out of our gift drawer. Over the next year, I want to see how much we can save, without it feeling like we're under the microscope.

The best bit of advice someone gave me about money - no amount saved is too small. With that in mind, I've got to see if I've got anything I can sell on Ebay, to help bloster those numbers. After that, it'll be time to pull the recipe for 30-Minute Tiramisu - click HERE to take a look.
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2 Responses
  1. Those are very do-able goals. That will make it possible to stick to it. As far as date night goes, what about trying something like a surprise dinner cooked at home and take turns with it, candles and fancy tablecloth and all. Also what about a game night and pizza in?

  2. Hmmmm...those both sound very do-able. I can trot out some of my fancier (or even experimental) recipes. And we grabbed a beautiful red tablecloth off the Target clearance rack - this will be perfect! Thank you!!

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