Today was a busy day so far! Busy, but productive. Spent most of the morning trying to keep five kids from torturing each other -- they are stir-crazy from the long school break and the cold weather! I love my kiddos but am definitely ready for school to start back up again. At least the weather was nicer today and they were able to play outside and burn off some of that energy.
I did get to begin my morning by walking my first half-mile of the new year -- and three of the kids came along. It's nice to take a walk through the neighborhood together! My walking goal last year was 100 miles. I decided to take whatever number I reached beyond that and increase it by 10 miles for this year -- I walked just under 106 miles last year, so this year I've upped the ante and my new goal for 2011 is 116 miles! This shouldn't be too bad but I will have to step it up a little and make sure I don't shirk when it's "too cold" or I'm "too tired"!
The majority of the day was spent balancing the budget. While I was employed outside the home, there just wasn't enough time to get organized, figure out what we were making versus what we were spending (and spending on what!), and our bank accounts suffered for it. We constantly struggled to make ends meet. So one of the first things I did when I lost my job was to sit down and set up a family budget. (Based on our results, I hope to never stray away from a budget again!)
By having me at home, we managed to seriously pare down the money we spent on eating out or ordering in. Once we sat down and reviewed the numbers, we figure that we probably were spending at least what I was making on last-minute dinners while we were busy rushing around getting kids to activities or trying to tackle homework. So our expenses negated all that work I was doing! In December, I'm proud (and shocked!) to say that we spent just $91 on eating out! For a family of seven, that is pretty awesome. I've been able to plan meals better, and we are eating at home more. We're also eating healthier this way too -- my husband went out and got one of his favorites from a restaurant, and was so sick afterwards. He said it just tasted like grease!
The flip side is that we spent more on groceries than I thought we would -- by over $150! I think some of that had to do with all the kids being home from school for 2 1/2 weeks, and not having the benefit of school breakfasts and lunches. Part of that is fallout from buying more food to cook at home, too. I think (and hope!) that the grocery bill will be lower in January. Otherwise almost everything cost us a little less out of pocket overall than we planned, and hubby actually earned more than we planned for! I have small amounts tucked away towards future expenses, too -- unheard of a couple of months ago! So it was a ton of work to do all the figuring, but well worth the effort and I'm happy with the results.
Because I spent so much time on the budget, I didn't get in my hour of study time for today. I'm re-learning pre-algebra and algebra in preparation for going back to college. Because of the timing of my job loss, I was too late to get in to the classes I need for the Spring semester, but the Summer session is fast approaching! I'll probably take some time with the kids after dinner, then try to hit the books awhile.