Household Budget Feed

Organizing the Nest Survey, Part 5 ~ Family Finances & Budgeting


Good morning, my friends ... and so we continue! :)

Today I'd like to focus on household finances ... an extremely important area of family life to keep organized! So I have quite a list of questions for you this morning ...

1. Where/how do you store incoming bills?

2. Where/how do you store receipts and statements?

3. Do you have a pre-determined household budget (weekly or otherwise)? Where do you write it down? How often do you refer to it?

4. Where do you keep financial goals and/or money-saving ideas?

5. Do you and your spouse talk about finances on a regular basis?

6. Any favorite financial books/resources to recommend?


Once again (and I know I sound like a broken record!) I want to thank everyone who has been participating in this survey. I have found your comments so interesting and helpful! I've taken to printing them out so I can read them a little more closely - reading glasses on, and hi-lghter in hand!

If you'd like to revisit previous survey comments (to read through or add your own), please click on the following links:

1. to-do lists (daily and someday)

2. family food

3. calendars

4. file folders and paper management

(Remember - each time you comment your name is entered in the contest!)


Now just to clarify, I'm not doing this survey for any other reason than to encourage the sharing of ideas between like-minded friends. (That and I'm kind of nosy when it comes to these things.) I'm not collecting data for a book on organizing ... in fact, looking around my house at the moment, that would seem like a rather humorous idea. ;)

But while I have you, I would like to mention a little book I just ordered for myself after seeing an excerpt in Parents magazine. The book is called, Family Inc.: Office-Inspired Solutions to Reduce the Chaos in Your Home (And Save Your Sanity!), and though I've only just started reading, I'm really enjoying it so far! The book revolves around a couple who found themselves quite disorganized and stressed out until they started meeting weekly to talk about family needs and responsibilities. They were both working outside the home at the time, and employed some of the strategies they used to keep on top of things professionally, in their household. I will report in again on this book once I've read the whole thing! :)

Well, until next time my friends, thanks so much for stopping by. Enjoy your day, and I will see you all again sometime soon!


Money $ Monday: Marriage Matters

Good morning, my friends! I hope your week's off to a good start!

So my "money question" for you this week is this:

How does money figure into your marriage? Is one of you better with finances than the other? Are you on the same page when it comes to spending and saving? Has this changed over time?



I'd guess a lot of us start out one way and then through the years gravitate towards the middle. For example, I was never a frugal person (and I'd daresay I'm still not) but over time, I've become more mindful about spending. Bill is decidedly the thriftier spouse, but he's loosened up through the years. And as for handling the monies - this might sound awfully old-fashioned, but I leave most of that up to him. It's just what works for us.

So Bill earns the family income, and he handles the investing and saving. Though we do discuss things, especially big decisions (like, should we refinance or not). Meanwhile I do my best to manage the household budget. 

(And let me just add in the disclaimer here that I was the English major, while Bill studied economics and today works in finance. So clearly we play to our strengths in this department.)


So if you have a moment, please chime in and let me know how money matters in your marriage. I'm especially interested to know what your "spending personality" is like. :)

Thanks so much and have a great day ...

See you here again very soon!

Money $ Monday: Handling the Holidays

In the midst of much busy-ness here, but I wanted to get this week's M$M post up before the day got away from me! 

So here we are nearing mid-September, and though it seems far away, the holiday season will be here in the blink of an eye. This is a busy time of year for most of us, so it's easy to get distracted and then head into the holidays unprepared - meaning, without a plan. And I know when I don't have a plan, I always end up spending more money!

Of course, the holidays - Chistmas, Hannukah, Solstice, etc. - by their very nature, have nothing to do with money. But as we decorate and celebrate and cook and clean and give and get, of course money comes into play. It's up to us to make choices that work for our families, both financially and spiritually ...

Keeping our holidays simple benefits not only our hearts but our budgets!

So my question for you all today is this: 

How do you plan for holiday spending? And how do you keep your holiday budget in line?


If you have a moment or two, I'd love to hear your thougts on this subject. I'm planning several posts on holiday planning for later this month, so I hope you'll check in when you can.

Have a great day, my friends!

Money $ Monday: Of Price Books & Pantries

Good morning, everyone!


My topic this week is two-fold, because I think these two subjects go hand in hand. (And thanks to Chrissy for the pantry-building suggestion!) Having a well-stocked pantry is a boon to meal planning and scratch cooking, and when you buy things at their best price you save all the more. If something you use regularly is on "special," (whether by sale, coupon or both) how much better to purchase it while it's at its best price?

So, say you routinely buy toilet paper (and I'd hazard a guess most of us do) and your preferred brand is being offered at a reduced price ... if you keep track of prices you know immediately if that sale's worth the trip. 

A price book can be kept in a binder or - if my "intel" is correct (and he usually is) - nowadays it can simply be an app on your phone.

So my first question for you all today is:

Does anyone have experience with a price book, and if so, do you keep it manually or electronically?


And here's the second part of this week's topic ... 

Some of us are seasoned pantry keepers, but many of us are just starting out. Filling those cabinets and freezer shelves can be expensive!

So when you don't have a lot of wiggle room in your budget, how do you build up a versatile and valuable pantry? Please share any tips you might have!


As for me, I can tell you I do not keep a price book (other than the random facts and figures I juggle in my head) and my pantry is slowly being built week by week. I've been a bit disorganized about it though, so I feel like my shelves may be filled with good buys, but not necessarily helpful meal starters. (I mean, how many boxes of Cheerios does one family need, lol?) So this is something I'd like to focus on as we head into fall ...

Well my friends, I'm going to sign off for now - time to rally my troops - but I'll check back in here as I can. Enjoy your day, wherever it takes you, and I'll see you here again very soon.

$ My Budgeting Notes $

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

So this morning I printed out all the comments in the Money Monday post and then sat down with a hi-lighter (and my coffee) and read. Thank you to everyone who took the time to add their suggestions and experiences - there were some wonderful tips! This is one of the blessings of the internet - being able to share ideas with each other in this way. :)

So here are my own thoughts, as scattered as they are ... and let me preface this by saying I am in no way any kind of budget guru. Quite the contrary, actually - as I have miles to go when it comes to being thrifty and clever with household expenses. Hence these Money $ Monday posts - so I can pick all your lovely brains! ;)


As of now, I think the only area I've been working on diligently has been grocery shopping. Like many of you, I find menu planning and list-making enormously helpful with paring down the grocery bill. Coupon clipping - when done well - is also quite helpful as is buying in bulk/shopping sales.


I do try to regulate our air conditioning by turning down the temperature gauge and, in general, using AC as sparingly as possible. But Earlybird is very sensitive to heat so I don't hesitate to turn it on as needed. Bill keeps bringing up the subject of "central air," but I can't seem to commit to the (enormously expensive) idea. I know it probably makes much more fiscal (and environmental) sense to upgrade to a more efficient system but, good golly, it's a huge initial investment!


I must confess I have a real weakness when it comes to books. There's just something about books - new books especially! - that truly nourish me. But I try to temper my urges to buy books - they're expensive of course, but also, they take up a ton of space! (And homeschooling for 12+ years means my house is absolutely teeming with books!) So we do make great use of the library, especially the inter-library loan system. Nowadays when I hear about a new book I get myself on a waiting list at the library rather than rush out to buy it. And yet ... I still find myself at Barnes & Noble a couple of times a month ... even if it's just to browse. ;)


I have a fairly large pantry downstairs so I can stock up on when things are on sale, but I'd also like to invest in a full freezer. (Chest or upright - opinions?) I love the idea of having a freezer stocked with seasonal produce, well-priced meats and homemade "convenience foods" ready to go. To date, however, I have not been very successful at freezing things, so I'll have to read up on that concept ... any suggestions?


I do a lot of scratch cooking, and I'm working on reducing the amount of convenience food I use (prepared foods and packaged mixes, etc.). We rarely eat out - a few nice dinners on birthdays, our anniversary - but we do indulge in take-out more often than we should. That said, Bill takes a home-packed lunch to work everyday. :)


I'm hardly a clothes hound - I still wear clothes that are YEARS old. But that's mostly because I "work at home" and honestly, who cares? I'm just glad they still fit, lol! I save my clothes dollars for special occasions i.e. a wedding or a special dinner for Bill's company. Then, admittedly, I splurge on something new. As for the kids - having three boys has been great. We just save things to pass down! (And we were very fortunate to inherit A LOT of great quality clothes from cousins when Bookworm was small. They've lasted well.)


Laundry is a constant in any family's life, but I don't really save much in this area. For instance, I don't currently line-dry as many of you do. I would love to, but I'm leery of pollen. Has anyone dealt with this? If you have allergies in your household how do you keep your drying linens free of pollen?


Phyllis just left a comment and mentioned another category to consider: gifts. Great idea. Phyllis! I tend to go overboard here, but I start every holiday season with the hope and intention to make as many of our gifts as we can. Not only are handmade gifts more frugal, but, more importantly, they're more meaningful. We get a little better with this every year, but invariably I spend the last couple of weeks before Christmas in a flurry of online ordering. This is something that needs closer attention ...


Does anyone do a Christmas Club at their bank? (Do they even still do those? I remember my mum and grandmother did this.) We tend to overspend at the holidays but my aim is to each month have a little money set aside towards Christmas. I have yet to make that happen but it makes a lot of sense. Does anyone have a system for this?


Well, I think that might be all I have time for right now ... but I am looking forward to talking more about this with you all ... please continue to leave your thoughts below as you have time. I will jump back in the conversation as soon as I can!

Blessings to you all on this day!

Money Monday: Sharing $ Tips

Budget tab

Good (Tuesday) morning, my friends! I'm a day late - though hopefully not a dollar short - with this post, but this week I'd like to talk about budget saving tips. We all have tried-and-true methods for saving money where we can ... would you care to share three of yours? If you have more than three, feel free to expand, and if you have less, that's fine, too. I'll take whatever you've got. :)

Now, I know we're all familiar with the basics of a family budget, but here are the categories I'm concentrating on ... if I've left something out, let me know!









Health Care


Kids' Sports/Activities



Thanks so much for reading today, and please leave a comment if you have the time. I'll add more thoughts later today ... for now I'm going to concentrate on this delicious cup of coffee and getting my household up and running!

See you back here very soon!

More Food for Thought ....

... from NBC news: 

Avoiding the Grocery Store: A 30-Day Challenge

The author of this article is going to try to avoid the grocery store for a month. She is following a challenge called "The 30-Day No Grocery Store Challenge." Except for a $30 allowance, it's her goal to bypass the grocery store and buy things more locally:

"I’m one of the many Americans who wants to eat healthier, believes in organic food (in theory, if not in actual purchases) and loves the idea of supporting small, local businesses. But, I almost always find practicalities outweighing these ideals ...

As the mother of two, preschool-age children, I worry about the extra time commitment of this challenge. I also worry that this commitment won’t be sustainable for my budget. Will budget considerations make me consider other changes to my diet as well?"

Ms. Macario will be reporting in over the next several weeks, and I look forward to following along!

Where do you do your shopping each week? Have you changed your shopping habits at all?

KG butcher baker

Have a great Friday, my friends! I'll see you here again very soon ...

Money Monday: Grocery $ (& a Giveaway!)


Good morning, my friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend. It's a glorious morning here in my corner of the world - quite sunny, and relatively cool for this time of year. A great day for opening up the house and letting in all that lovely fresh air ...

So, Mondays used to be reserved for Masterpiece chat* ... but today I'd like to start a conversation about money. Each week I'll pose a different question/topic of discussion and we'll see what we can make of it.

But for today I'd like to follow up on this post, and ask you all this:

How much do you spend on groceries each week, and how many mouths (human or otherwise) do you feed? If you're not comfortable revealing a dollar amount, would you say you spend more than you'd like?


I have a very hard time keeping our grocery costs down, what with three growing boys, some special diet needs, a desire to shop "organic" as often as possible - not to mention, a couple of cats! And it's been all over the news lately that grocery prices will be rising over the next year ...

Still, it's one area of our family budget where I can make a difference, so I'm constantly trying to do my best. When I'm rushed and disorganized, I end up spending way more than I mean to. But when I find time to make up a dinner plan and a thoughtful grocery list and check the flyers and clip the coupons - I spend a much more managable amount.

So I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. :) And to "sweeten the deal" I'm going to offer a giveaway this morning ... my copy of Playful Learning, which is a terrific book, but a little young for my boys these days ... so on Wednesday morning I'll draw a name from the comments and announce a winner! (Please let me know if you're not interested in the book, and I'll keep you out of the giveaway.)

And if you have suggestions for future "money" posts, please leave those, too!

Have a great Monday, everyone!

P.s. *Downton returns January 6th - so mark your calendars! "Masterpiece Mondays" will resume early next year. :)


To Market, to Market ...

But first we must organize the coupons!


Yes, I finally went through my coupon stash and weeded out ones that had expired. (I can see just when it was I gave up on couponing - it was right between Thanksgiving and Christmas. All the expiration dates were in December!)

So once I trashed the useless coupons, I sorted through the ones I had left. (I have a small basket in which I toss coupons as I get them. Even though I haven't "couponed" in a couple of months I haven't stopped clipping!)

I then sorted the "good" coupons into my current coupon file:


I'm not overly fond of this plastic accordian file box, but it does the trick for now. I have such a hard time finding a coupon file (holder/organizer) I like. I may just have to make one, lol!

Hmmm ....

Once the coupons are all sorted and I've marked my shopping list with little ©'s (reminding me I have a coupon for those items), I place the file and shopping notebook in my pocketbook. 


And now I'm good to go ...


Well, have a great Saturday, my friends ... I'll see you again very soon!