Can I Eat the Pie Chart?

By: Melanie
It's done. I have a budget. I finished it just now. I feel strangely emotional - on the verge of tears although here at the coffee shop it would be difficult to explain dissolving into a watery mess over my laptop calculator with pages scribbled with numbers scattered around me. Wait, that probably wouldn't be very difficult to explain. Especially in this economy. Well, it would be embarrassing anyway.

Along with the weepiness I feel a titch giddy, a dash excited and more than a molehill of pure, unadulterated fear. Can we really do this? Over the last few years we have gradually become better at tightening the purse strings, but this new budget is taking things to a whole new level. We're very broke. I know it's tacky to talk about finances, but isn't it also fun to pry into people's personal lives? Here it is:

I measure my financial stability in food. If I can buy groceries freely based on what recipes I've been reading without having to shop exclusively from the "Dinners for $5 or Less" articles, then I'm doing okay. This is what I've always done. It's sort of the one area of my spending that I have, up until now, been unwilling to compromise. And actually, I was surprised to learn that last month I only spent $398 on groceries. That's less than $100 a week, which is what most budgets seem to allow for groceries. I just assumed that I was through the roof in that category. Sounds like good news, right? It's not. Under our new budget, we now have $45 a week for groceries, which includes booze, cleaning supplies and dog food. So there's probably about $5 or so in there for actual sustenance, assuming wine doesn't count.

To make it more of a game, I'm going to do the whole cash jar deal, where you put the weekly amount for each category in a jar and only use cash. I think it's for the best, considering that I withdrew over $2200 from ATMs last month and have absolutely no way to account for it. Oh, maybe that's where the rest of the groceries went...


  1. (Amy here)
    You are amazing. Seriously. My role model!

  2. Thanks kid! And you and your running are mine. :)