Live Well On Less Update

Two significant things happened in the month of November: I was able to stay under (if only by a few dollars!) our $375 food/household budget and start stocking up on Christmas baking supplies.

This is significant because I like to make cookie plates to give to family and friends and in the past, this has added a lot extra into our budget. But this year I’ve been using my new shopping strategies (outlined here), and stocking up before I needed to when things were on sale and using coupons. I started buying sugar and flour back in October (and that month the food bill was lower than ever!) and so far have enough of the following to start baking now (for the freezer):

  • flour
  • brown sugar
  • white sugar
  • powdered sugar
  • butter
  • walnuts
  • chocolate chips
  • cocoa
  • Christmas candies for baking

Of course I’ll need eggs and a few more things like candy canes to crush and a bar or two of white chocolate, but for the most part, the shopping is done. And I can’t believe I didn’t need extra money outside of the budget to do it!

The other significant thing that we worked on this last month was moving over to a new tracking system for our budget. We are now completely computerized with everything in one place.

This might seem like a “duh” moment, but if anyone is familiar with Dave Ramsey you might appreciate that neither me nor my husband, The Writer, are “nerds.” Meaning, each one of us had (many) other things we wanted to do instead of budgeting, and since we are both creative types, we have a hard time wrapping our heads around the numbers and how things work on a spreadsheet. A big thanks goes to my sweet sister-in-law who set us up and walked us through the steps!

Now it’s not me writing longhand on paper and The Writer separately paying bills and neither really knowing what the other was doing. It’s all in one place, we both can access it easily, and we can “name every dollar” as Dave would say. We have found it’s more inspiring and motivating to see so quickly not only where the money goes, but where it stays- and then be able to apply the “leftover” money to our garage debt.

Once that’s gone, we can call Dave and say “we are debt-free!” Other than the mortgage.

Ack…the mortgage.

That’s for another time.






  1. says

    This has been a perpetual goal of mine….to know where the money is going and be in control of it, rather than the other way around. Not at all an easy task. I think it’s great what you are doing here – it takes persistence and singlemindedness to stick to it. It isn’t fun, especially for the non-nerdy types (lol), but I think it’s such a powerful tool to have. I’m a long, long way from where you are, but hopefully I’ll be able to take a few of the tips you share here and aply them in my own daily life. :)

  2. Anonymous says

    It’s very enlightening to see where our money is going! For instance, we had gone through $600 in the past 2 days, and only had $200 worth of groceries to show for it. Turns out the other biggie was tires for one of our cars, and other stuff was just $20-30 things picked up at stores – some purchases at a health food store, a couple of power strips for a Christmas display we put up, that type of thing. It’s amazing how quickly the money flows.

    Your tip on buying in bulk when things are on sale is right on the money. We save a bundle on doing this on non-perishable items like toilet paper, napkins, household cleaners, etc.

    Good luck on your journey! It sounds like you’re getting a good handle on things and you’ll have such a richer life for it.

  3. Jenelle says

    :) It was fun to read this. I love your creativity and really wish I had some. Alas I am one of those “nerds’. I am an accountant, so I know were every penny goes. Which is a great help when trying to tighten your budget. But you should see my house. Not very homy at all. :( It’s so sad. So I’m working on that right now, while trying to stay within my budget. That’s my 2010 challange.

  4. Donna says

    Great budget for groceries. I am working on that also. Right now, I have enough main dish meal items to last us for 2 weeks (longer if we throw in a leftover night). Just this weekend, my husband (who is a nerd ~ meant lovingly) set up our finances, savings, etc on one system so that I can see everything also. We are planning on calling Dave R. in 8 or 9 years to say we are completely debt free, even the house!

  5. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Listen, I didn’t mean to imply that “nerds” (as Dave R. calls accountant-minded people) are somehow negative! I sincerely wish one of us was a nerd – I mean we’ve been married 21 years and are just getting this together- ugh.

    So embrace your inner nerd while I try to scare up some inside of me. :-) And good luck to us all!

  6. Maarja Shisler says


    Thank you for your wonderful blog! I was chuckling when you mentioned Dave Ramsey because I am listing to his broadcast as I write this and found your blog through my search to find resources for frugal living. Thanks again for all of the great advice, I live in Monmouth Oregon and its great to see that other people in Oregon are striving to live the same way! Maarja

  7. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Welcome Marrja! I have a wonderful and creative aunt who lives in the Monmoth area- it’s beautiful there. That is funny about DR and finding my blog- let’s all toast to dave!

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