June was our most challenging month of budgeting so far. I had two big social events that lasted for multiple days. I had a difficult time trying to guess how much I would need to spend on these events. We also traveled a lot and went a little over in gas money, but we stayed within budget for everything else.
The month turned out better than anticipated, and here are a few of our Thrifty Wins:
1. Cashed in on credit card points, and we got a $50 Visa gift card and $50 cash in our bank account. I love these little bonuses. They were helpful in keeping us (mostly) within budget.
2. Read 7 books from the library. The idea of the library is a beautiful thing. I’ve been using the library since I was a kid, but I’m still amazed at how awesome it is that I get to check out books and movies for FREE. I don’t feel the need to own books I’m only going to read once, and if I check out a book that’s a dud, no money was wasted.
3. Used $15 rebate gift card on oil change. This rebate was from my last oil change at the auto place, and then I got another discount for signing up for the store’s credit card. Credit cards make me a little nervous, so I will probably cancel it soon.
4. Hung out around home two out of five weekends. That might not sound like a great win, but in past summers I felt like I was gone every weekend. Sticking close to home saved us money on gas, eating out and entertainment expenses. We still went places these weekends but kept our drive within 15 minutes of home and spent very little when out.
5. Used gift cards to help with gifts/bachelorette party. I found some fun gift cards in our gift card drawer! They worked really well to help pay for parts of gifts and for items needed for my friend’s bachelorette party this month.
6. Helped a friend find a good deal on a wedding cake. This wasn’t specifically a win for my finances, but it felt good to be part of helping someone else make a smart buy.
7. Earned $160 giving plasma this month. Good ol’ plasma. I’ve been donating at a rate of four times per month because it does take a slight toll on my body. I wish I could go more often, but four times per month seems to be a good balance.
8. Cut down our household expenses budget (i.e. cleaning supplies, shampoo, etc.) by half this month to compensate for spending in other areas. I really wasn’t sure about this one, but we were able to stick to it!
9. Were given free food! Rick’s boss gave us some steaks and other meats as an end of fiscal year/happy summer gift. That will cover quite a few meals for us.
10. Planning meals ahead of time, rather than eating out, on guys/girls weekends. Many of our friends are scattered around the state, so when I get together with my female friends and Rick gets together with his guy friends, they are often out of town overnight visits. This requires extra gas money and eating out/entertainment costs. Rick and I discussed with our friend groups how we are budgeting, and they have been very supportive. We often plan meals/activities ahead of time so we know how much we’ll anticipate spending. We’ve also been having more potluck-style meals at gatherings, instead of eating out, and finding free things to do to cut back on costs.