Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Budget Is Made

Now that I'm not returning to work full-time and we're a single-income family, Doug has decided that I need to present him with...
a budget.

I'm thinking that this budget isn't going to allow for...
designer handbags
a new fall wardrobe
luxury spa treatments
or a Sephora shopping spree.


Although I have to say that I no longer shop 'til I drop.  In fact, half the things I used to splurge on are now moot.
My handbags have been replaced by diaper bags.
My fall wardrobe now consists of sweats and more sweats, and anything I wear has to be machine washable.
I now consider a daily shower a luxury.
And since I no longer wear a trace of makeup I guess Sephora isn't worth my while.

Regardless, the request of a formal budget seemed, well, formal. I jokingly asked Doug if he was expecting a Power Point presentation.  He sort of half laughed.

A blog entry will have to suffice.

As we started talking about this budget nonsense the other night, I discovered that Doug thinks I spend too much on wine and chocolate chip cookies, my two vices as of late.
I think he's more concerned about the fact that these items seem to disappear soon after a trip to the grocery store rather than lasting until the next visit.
The box of gooey, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies I buy runs about $3.  But being home all day gets a little lonely so I may or may not have been caught with my hand in the cookie jar, literally, twice a day.  Ooops! Maybe THAT'S why the last 5-10 pregnancy pounds have been so stubborn!
As for the wine...
If you've read my previous posts, that's a no-brainer.

The cookies and wine discussion got me thinking that I should start my budget with a list of things that are absolutely, 100% necessary, rather than beginning by cutting the unnecessary expenses. Backwards logic, I know.  But I'm the mom, and I'm the one who had to suffer through 10 months of pregnancy (don't ever let anyone tell you that a pregnancy lasts 9 months, they're lying!)

So aside from cookies and wine... here's what's absolutely essential...

* my monthly pedicure: Why is it that men don't understand that this is one thing us women can't give up.  We recently had this debate with friends who have twins.  They spend an average of $300 at the grocery store each week.  But the wife still makes sure her nails are in tip top shape and gets them professionally groomed once a month. Granted, she has TWO jobs; she's a mom AND works at a prestigious PR firm full-time, so in that case she absolutely deserves a little pampering!
Anyway, her husband doesn't understand why she can't cut back on the pedicure to save some extra dough.  My explanation: mommies work pretty hard and we're on our feet most of the time; unless you want to feel overgrown nails and rough heels rubbing up against your legs in the middle of the night then we shouldn't have to explain, end of story.

Moving on...

* lunch with the girls: a friend of ours recently freaked out when he found out his wife and I were having lunch with the babies in Georgetown one sunny afternoon.  He was quick to point out that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are super delicious and next time we might want to eat them for lunch at one of our homes.  My explanation: mommies need to get out of the house every once in a while so that we don't go insane and end up on the news.  And while that doesn't mean that we'll be "lunching" every week at a swanky restaurant, there will be times when we need to do something outside the home that isn't considered an errand.

* my lotions and potions: while makeup application is no longer part of my daily routine, I still cake on loads and loads of moisturizer every day. And my husband has known for a long time that if I was ever stranded on a deserted island I would chose my Origins White Tea Skin Guardian, Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer, and Nivea Q-10 Body Lotion over him without thinking twice.  If I'm going to look like a crack head every morning due to lack of sleep I will at least need my pores to be fresh and dewy.  Considering I never pay more than $16 for a hair cut I think I can be afforded this one tiny victory in the personal hygiene department.

* everything else*
My initial list seemed pretty short, so I started wondering where my money actually goes.  I pulled up my latest bank statement and reviewed all of my purchases in the last month.  Rather than bore you with the financial details of my mundane life, I'll give you the abridged version.
         - diapers. diaper genie refills. diaper rash ointment. baby wipes. baby clothes. baby bottles. baby books. nursing pads. nursing tops. changing pad liners. groceries. dry cleaners. gas. car wash. e-z pass. flu shot. diaper bag (ok, it's my third one, yes I have a problem). Redskins t-shirt (can't nurse Mackenzie wearing my jersey). flowers for mom's birthday (duh, obvi). cleaning lady (who will now be replaced by yours truly). Caribou Coffee (have you ever tried one of their smoothies???). Carvel (had to splurge at the rest stop on our recent trip to NJ; bought a LARGE vanilla cup with chocolate sprinkles after hovering over a gross toilet to pee with Mackenzie strapped on my chest in the Baby Bjorn... I think I deserved the $5 ice cream).

So, maybe I need to give up a few things here and there but overall I think I'm doing a pretty good job trying to at least cut back.  Certain things will be harder to give up than others.  But at the end of the day it's a great trade off.
Here are some ways I TRY to pinch a penny.  Share your tips in the comments section below!

* buy consignment: check out 529 Kids Consign for some great kids' clothes
* don't pay retail and shop for discounts: I recently bought a JJ Cole Bundle Me  for $20 at TJMaxx; Buy Buy Baby had the same one for $40! (I'm hoping the price cut at TJMaxx isn't due to a bed bug infestation)
* cut coupons
* sign up for discount emails
* shop eBay! Just bought some cute new Carter's sleep sacks to keep Mackenzie warm this winter.  Check out Precious Baby Boutique
* join a wholesale club and stock up on non-perishable items
* never turn down a hand-me-down
* low-key your dinners several times a week and try to put those never-used cans in your pantry to use

I'll continue to look forward to my monthly pedicures, although I recently painted my own nails for the first time in forever (OPI Lincoln Park After Dark for those wondering... In my next life I'll get paid tons of money to come up with quirky names for nail polish).

I'm having lunch with the girls on Wednesday, but this time we're staying in.  Menu is TBD but something tells me we're not having PB and Js just yet.

Aside from cutting the tube open I've managed to squeeze every last ounce out of my Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer so nothing goes to waste.

And on Friday I'll be back at work for the first time as a freelance producer.  Wish me luck!


  1. Hi Dominique,
    I love your blog. It is awesome!
    A client of mine told me about these sites that she uses as a mom. Just maybe they will help you and your friends too.
    She got the information from the Parent's magazine. These are online trading places: (you can exchange goods like used strollers for services such as tutoring and vice versa. There is also a section for buying, selling, and giveaways. (perfect for giving away what you don't need or receiving what you don't have) (allows you to borrow an item-say a power drill to assemble a bookshelf-then return it when you're done or pass it forward)

  2. No more make-up???? I guess you don't need a Halloween costume huh!?