An Update of Sorts


Johnny’s been out of town for work, so Sally, the cat, and I have been holding down the fort in the OFB household. For various reasons, we’re all counting down the hours until his return. I’m ready to have a husband and to co-parent again, Sally’s ready to have the fun parent back, and our cat’s ready to be reunited with her number one cuddle partner.

In the meantime, it’s mid-August, and summer is on its way out. Vacation-wise, the summer hasn’t exactly shaped up the way we’d planned. We swore we’d take a nice, long, beachy vacation somewhere, but that didn’t happen. Instead, we’ve taken short trips to NY and DC, and we’ve had weekend getaways in Arches National Park and Vegas. So although the long vacation has eluded us, we can’t complain too much. Johnny’s busy with work, but we’re hoping things will slow down a bit in the fall and allow for some sand and sun somewhere.

We’ve written some more light-hearted articles over at DailyFinance recently, which I wanted to share:

We also did a really fun radio interview a couple weeks ago, which I shared on Facebook but not on here. The guy who interviewed us kept things very entertaining. If you care to listen, it starts at about 11 minutes in:

Here’s a scary confession. I’m already out of grocery money for the month of August! As of yesterday, I spent the last bit of it at Costco. I couldn’t resist the salmon and now I’m kind of regretting it! We have a decent stock of food, but probably not two week’s worth. Hopefully Sally and Johnny won’t mind a few meals of eggs and toast! It feels really great to be tracking every cent, though, even if it means we have to eat one too many pb&j’s for lunch (and possibly dinner). So food-wise, the rest of the month should be… interesting.

So that’s what’s up with us as of late. Johnny and I are trying to hustle some extra side income this month, and if we make it past a certain point, we can spend the rest on clothes. So far, our plan is failing, but we still have 12 more days to go so there is hope! And hopefully your August has been more eventful than our own. With those of you with kids starting back school, how do you handle all the back-to-school shopping madness?

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  • Reply Brandy@bustedbudget August 19, 2014 at 7:37 am

    You sound like me – I tend to run out of grocery money before I run out of month! I’m sure we’ll be eating a few creative meals right along with you 🙂

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks to my lack of grocery funds, we had homemade meatballs for the first time last week! They were actually pretty good!

  • Reply Retired by 40 August 19, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Ugh! I’m out of grocery money too! These last couple of months have been killer, and the crazy thing is I have not idea why! Definitely for September I’m committing to not overspending! By the way, great Dave Ramsey article for daily finance! I didn’t get a chance to read the others but I really enjoyed that one!

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Agreed… September is the month the grocery no longer kicks my butt! And thanks… it was a super fun article to write!

  • Reply Sarah August 19, 2014 at 9:22 am

    It must be an August thing, because I’m out of food money as well! Booo!!

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      What’s going on?! We’re all out of food money!!

  • Reply Halsy August 19, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I have spent all our money in the grocery budget but will only need bread and produce rest of month-which I’m ok buying because our health is more important than hitting the budget. We have a few budget areas to discuss to see if we need to adjust our numbers.

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Good call… those are relatively inexpensive and good staples to have around!

  • Reply Mrs. Frugalwoods August 19, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I’m a new reader and I just wanted to say Hi! I really like your blog and your baby is adorable! I can totally identify with the unusual meals–we’re on this mission to not waste any food, so we’re constantly using up dying foods in, ahem, interesting combinations. I also love Costco’s salmon and it’s a much better deal than anywhere else! It’s actually the only meat we buy. Hope you have a great rest of the month!

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks for the note! Glad to have ya!!

  • Reply kelsey August 19, 2014 at 10:43 am

    We had to start dividing up our food money by weeks instead of months, or we would spend it too quickly! It’s been working for us so far…

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Great idea! Maybe we’ll try that in September!

  • Reply Kassandra @ More Than Just Money August 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Parenting by oneself is a tough challenge so I am sure you’re all anxious for Johnny to come home 🙂 As for the back to school madness we are fortunate that my step-son’s mom is in charge of that!

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      When he’s gone, I try to focus on being productive so I don’t miss him so much! It only works some of the time!

  • Reply Miranda August 19, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    My favorite thing to do when I run out of groceries is to eat what I call a ‘snack plate’. Just a random assortment of all of the things in the fridge/pantry that can’t be put into a specific meal, but are still good on their own, like lunch meat/ pickles/ a dollop of peanut butter/ popcorn/olives/sliced cheese. I know it sounds crazy but it’s really good and filling, too.

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Now that is a very good idea! We currently have a lot of foods that fit the bill, so a snack plate it is!

  • Reply Amanda August 19, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I need to learn your side income hustling ways. The unexpected expenses seem ceaseless lately (I keep breaking things in our kitchen!) and our income just doesn’t have enough flexibility to cover stuff like that. I remain duly impressed that you’ve been able to replace so much of your lost income after quitting.

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks, Amanda! Some months it’s more than others, and almost none of it has been editing-based. I swear when it comes to unexpected expenses, it’s a “when it rains, it pours” kind of scenario. I hate it, but it’s gotta stop at some point, right??

  • Reply Michelle August 19, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    I love the side hustle. You two have got this! Keep us posted on what you end up doing.

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! This is our last week, so we’ll see how it goes!

  • Reply Rob August 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Joanna! Gee, it was great to finally hear what you and Johnny sound like (when I listened to your interview with Matt Townsend). Most entertaining.

    Now then, down to business! 🙂

    When our kids were young every year we tried to start the “back to school madness” shopping as early in the summer as we could afford to and spread out the pain over several weeks, rather than wait until the last few weeks before school started. It was just easier to budget that way.

    Relating to your grocery situation these days (where your August food budget has been used up), here’s something that we’ve always done (and this all started back in the crazy days of Y2K – the turn of the century – when people’s IT doomer imaginations were running wild). People talk about setting up an Financial Emergency Fund. Well back in 2000 we took it a step further – gradually over months, as our budget allowed, we also set up an Emergency Food Stash – food that could be easily stored over several months – canned goods, pasta, rice, stuff along those lines. As it turned out the Y2K drama quickly dissolved but our regularly maintained level of Emergency Food Stash has at times proven most useful, especially during times when our regular monthly food budget runs short before monthend. It’s just another angle on long-term budgeting.

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      We’ve been meaning to get a few months of food storage, canned foods, peanut butter, etc., like you mentioned. That’s a great idea. I think we’re both waiting to see if we buy a house anytime soon so we can have a designated closet or something. Our current place is kind of short on storage space!

  • Reply Debra August 20, 2014 at 2:00 am

    I like the “snack plate” idea. We do that, too, but that’s a great name for it. We also budget weekly, and if we’re short, I just roll over the deficit until we make it up another week.

    My daughter just started Kindergarten last week, so this is the first time I’ve ever had the official “Back-to-School List”. I’ve always shopped the back-to-school sales having been a teacher, and then to stock our art supplies at home. However, this year, I was on a mission to get the school supplies on my daughter’s list for the absolute, rock-bottom, cheapest prices ever. If I found something I had already gotten was cheaper at another store the next week, I would return it. A little extreme, I know, but I only paid $10.35 for all 12 of the items on her list (luckily she already had a backpack.) I even peeked ahead at the 1st grade list and got some extras on the kindergarten list for my son for next year! And I will hit the clearance sales next month when the stores are trying to get rid of their leftover stock. By spreading it out over a couple of months, I just take it out of our weekly misc. budget and it doesn’t break the bank.

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Way to go, Debra! That’s an awesome way to do it. I really like the idea of spreading it out… seems like it’s a great sanity saver!

  • Reply Anne August 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Sssh… I upped my grocery budget this month! I had to buy a lot more staples than usual for a given month- flour, olive oil, several spices, sherry, etc. That and stocking up on some cheap “I’m too tired to cook” meals (Digiornos went on sale for $4 early this month) added up to me increasing the budget by $50. Hopefully I’ll make it up in other areas, and if not I’ll try and stay lower next month to balance it out.

    • Reply Joanna August 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      We have to do that some months, too, especially when we’re all out of our Costco items!

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