Summer Budget, Week 2

There were three big purchases this week: (1) I renewed our membership to the Discovery Museum because we always go way more than enough times to make it worth our while (it’s $50 for our whole family!) (2) I had to get new tires on the bike riding on them. (3) I went grocery shopping at Costco.

The bike tires were more expensive than I was anticipating and they have brought the bike project a bit over my hoped-for budget. They were definitely necessary though–it was not safe to ride with both kids on the old tires. Because they cost so much I’m no longer going to try to get a double kickstand to steady the bike when the kids get on. It would definitely be nice but I’ve managed fine leaning the bike against a wall and steadying it with my legs while I get them in, so I can continue to do that without a kickstand.

{Bike update: I’ve ridden a couple time with both kids now, and on our first ride all together I got us all up two considerable hills. The guys at the bike shop were very impressed. I still feel a little shaky on it when I’m stopping and starting, but it’s getting easier every time we ride. I try to take them out at least once a day so we can all get used to it. Next we’ll be commuting to my daughter’s camp on it two times a day.}

I also got two last things for the bike–a small lock for the helmets (that doesn’t work great and was a waste of money; I should have researched this betteR) and a set of bungee cords to tie backs on to the back, because there are times when we need to take things with us (like my daughter’s backpack with her lunch and change of clothes). I’m also in need of a pump to fill the tires–I have a Craigslist alert up for that and I hope to get a hit soon (it’s not looking good, most people sell them only as part of a package deal with their bike). I’m not sure how I’m going to figure this one out, I may just bike over to my sister’s place every once in a while and borrow hers.

The grocery bill at Costco was massive but I’m not yet trying to bring those costs down, I’m more becoming aware of them. I did take a few items off the belt at the last minute because I realized they cost too much and we didn’t really NEED them. (I don’t know if I would have made that choice if I weren’t posting my purchases for you all to see.) I’m sure I could have shaved more off my final purchase, but again, I’m not trying to stay within a specific food budget–at least not yet–I’m just being mindful of where my food/grocery money is going every month.

Oh and on the groceries note–pouches. I bought a lot of pouches this week, because they were on sale in two places and we go through them fast. I know they are not a financially responsible way to spend food-money, but my son is so picky and it’s SO HARD to have food for him when we go out. I bring pouches in an attempt to avoid having to get him something wherever we are, because that always ends up happening when he won’t touch the food I brought for him. I’m starting to experiment with bringing left overs to see how that goes, because he just won’t eat any food that’s easy to take along (ahem, sandwiches!). I know I spent a lot on pouches, but it should last me through the summer.

As for the Discovery Museum membership, that also falls (as far as I’m concerned) into the “okay” area of my ban. Again, I don’t have a budget for this category of “wants” but I am going to have to determine if I can really afford to do all the fun things I do with my kids. Right now I’m just going to see how much I’m spending on this stuff and then make an informed decision after the summer.

Oh, and I also totally shit the bed and bought my son a soccer ball. This totally goes against my ban! My husband sent me out and told me he needed a regulation sized ball since he freaks out when he sees them at the park and is not distracted by our “toy” balls. We literally have to leave if he can’t participate in the ball game, he becomes so fixated. I happily set out to the store with my son in the stroller, and it wasn’t until I was a block away from our neighborhood shit-you-don’t-need market when I realized the ball was ABSOLUTELY not allowed under my “only non-consumables spending freeze.” I tried to take it back but the place does not do returns (it’s a super shady store that specializes in all things knock-off). So yeah, I really messed that one up, and on something so dumb. I’m chalking it up to a brain fart, it’s definitely not something I really wanted, but told myself I couldn’t have, and then bought anyway (there have been things I’ve wanted to buy that aren’t allowed, but that deserves its own post). Still. Totally lame. I’m disappointed in myself for sure.

So, without further (because that was plenty) ado, my spending for week two:

6/20/2015 Steamed buns for weekend $11.80
6/20/2015 Bike grease remover $5.45
6/20/2015 Band-Aids $8.64
6/20/2015 Soccer ball for son (oops!) $10.60
6/21/2015 Helmet lock for bike (this didn’t even work! Arg!) $6.53
6/21/2015 Wading pool (for mom’s house-to replace sandbox she gave me) $13.11
6/21/2015 Food for daughter’s lunch Monday $23.67
6/22/2015 Gas $50.00
6/24/2015 Two pouches for son’s snack/lunch (out that day) $3.85
6/24/2015 Renewed Discovery Museum membership (year) $150.00
6/24/2015 New tires on bike (+ labor) $161.34
6/24/2015 Milk and bananas $6.83
6/25/2015 Costco (all food!) $181.54
6/25/2015 Thank you cards for Isa’s teachers $7.56
6/26/2015 Babies R Us (pouches, snacks, night diapers) $43.95
6/26/2015 Target (pouches, groceries, art paper, bungee cords (for bike) $44.45
$729.32

18 Comments

  1. Oh the pouches. We buy our store brand organic ones which are $.90 a piece, so not awful, but still…. They each have one before naps and B has one before bed. $3.00 a day, $21 a week, $100 a month. That’s nuts. I get it, I do. They are the best snack.

    Not a terrible week, and the ball was $10. Not a biggie!

    1. I try to make sure we only eat them when we’re out, but some nights, when my son won’t eat anything I put in front of him, I’ll give him one.

      And I know the ball wasn’t much, but so stupid that I just forgot! What is that?!

  2. BRU is soo expensive! Can you get all that stuff elsewhere, like Costco or Target? And when you bought 2 pouches – where were you? Did you buy them out? Can you buy them in bulk instead of as you need them?

    I’ve got to be honest, I wouldn’t buy about 2/3 of the stuff you buy. I’ve been refraining from commenting on these posts because I don’t want to sound obnoxious – most people are not that frugal. But then I think, maybe I could be helpful? I don’t know.

    1. BRU is so expensive but they can have some REALLY good pouch sales. I went there after Costco didn’t have the ones I wanted (I needed some with more protein, and that my son would eat–he is very particular). Unfortunately they didn’t have a sale going on so I only bought a few (the night diapers were the biggest charge there and I only go them there because they were on sale). Honestly, I find Target to be as ridiculous in price on these things as Target. Luckily they were having a bit of a sale on the pouches my son eats so I got more there.

      I’m not surprised that you wouldn’t buy 2/3 of this stuff and I do want you to tell me that. Let me know what you think is extravagant (if you want to take the time, of course). It’s good for me to get new perspectives, especially if I want to make bigger changes in the future.

    2. Oh, and about the pouches I bought out, we just hadn’t made it to the store yet. That is my husband’s job and he didn’t go the week before and so I was just trying to get through until I made it again. It was a busy week. Also, those pouches kept me from having to buy him a $7 meal once we were out, so it’s better than the alternative.

  3. I don’t go to BRU often (and actually no need anymore since my youngest is 2) bc it’s a 40 min drive each way, but I found prices to be mostly reasonable and that you could get deals similar to target.

    As to pouches–we still regularly buy the gogo apple sauce blends–target or costco–prices not bad. Great travel snack. We did the more mealish ones a little with number 2 but she was kind of eh about them.

    Anyway the pouches don’t strike me as extravagant, but the eating out does. This is one area where my family is very frugal–we eat out maybe 1 to 2x per quarter. It looks like steamed buns count as eating out and food for daughter’s lunch Monday–20$ for a child lunch? Did you mean for lunch for the whole week? Not eating out really frees up a lot of money.

    Ouch on the bike tires. I finally got new tires for my 1998 hybrid bike last summer–got them on Amazon for approx 40$ (total not each) and my DH put them on. But maybe you have a top of the line bike?

    1. I would love to buy the cheaper packs of pouches like at Target but I need the “meal” ones with protein because it can end up being all my son eats when we’re out and about. Plus he is very particular and at this point will only eat five different pouches (he always inspects the front to make sure it’s a pre-approved pouch). He’s SUPER particular.

      As for the bike tires, I went to the local bike place (where I couldn’t get a deal like on Amazon) for a few reasons: (1) I wanted to get the biggest tires that I could fit on my bike and I had no idea how to determine that on my own. (2) I’m trying to be local more and from Amazon less. I used to get EVERYTHING from Amazon and I’m trying to suppose local businesses more (my husband is SUPER anti-Amazon and has been asking me to do this as well). (3) I got the best, most reinforced (to temper the immediate damage if we get a flat) tires because I’m very nervous about something happening when I have all of us on the bike. We are VERY heavy and a tire blow out could take us down and we could be in traffic, so I wanted to get the best tires I could. My dad said they’d probably be about $50 a tire, but that he wasn’t sure with as big a tires as I was getting, so I don’t think I was to terribly ripped off. Plus these guys have helped me quite a few times so far, free of charge–they gave me nuts and bolts to attach the rack seat to my bike when the ones from my old rack were too stripped to use. They spent like 30 minutes finding ones that would fit and gave them to me for free, so I wanted to do some business with them.

      1. Would it be so bad if he didn’t eat protein when you are out? When we eat out with my son he generally just eats Cheerios and fruit. He gets his protein other times. I’m not too worried about it. It’s very hard to enforce good eating habits when out because he kind of has us over a barrel. He is mostly a good eater so I let it go.

        1. Yeah, I’m trying to buy local too. I was actually thinking of doing that last summer but it was one of those things where weeks and weeks went by and I just never made it to the bike store, so finally I ordered from Amazon.

          Yes your son is very picky! I guess we’re lucky our dd never took to the meal type pouches.

        2. You know, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad. I think I’ve gotten myself into this mindset where I’m almost desperate for him to eat well during the day (and when I say “well,” I really mean “enough” because he only eats a few select foods and none of them are very “good”) because we’ve gotten into this new routine where we wakes up a ton of times during the night and the ONLY thing that will help him go back to sleep is a bottle. He’s back to drinking 32 ounces of milk a day (12 of that happening at night) after we spent a lot of time getting him down to 20oz (which I know is still too much, but the boy does NOT eat more when we give him less milk, he just wakes up in the night hungry). So I’m kind of obsessed with him getting a lot of calories during the day because I want to stop this multiple-night-wakings streak we have been on for what feels like forever.

          Both my kids are that challenging mixture of won’t eat but need to eat of they will be super grumpy and/or wake up hungry that is so hard. Everyone says, don’t force it, they will eat when they are hungry, only offer them one thing and if they don’t eat it it’s fine, but when we do that they just don’t eat and then an hour later (or in the night) the shit hits the fan. It’s hard. I don’t know what the answers are. But right now I’m obsessed with my kid getting protein at every meal, because it feels my sleep depends on it.

          1. Ok. That makes sense. I don’t think 20 oz is too much. I think my pediatrician said to aim for around 24 oz of dairy a day, including cheese, yogurt, etc.

            If he does eat protein during the day does he still wake at night?

    2. Oh, and for the eating out. The steamed buns seem like a lot but that gets us 14 buns and we eat them for 5 meals (total, not each). So really, it’s a god deal. (~$2 a meal). The food for my daughter’s lunch was not one lunch, but what I needed to make lunch the next day because we hadn’t made it to the store: bread, bananas, milk (for smoothies at breakfast), etc. That happened because my husband didn’t make it to the store in time).

  4. I am deeply impressed by the bike riding with the children that you have been doing! That really is cool. AND, by less car driving (ergo less gas purchased) you are offsetting the bike tire expense.
    I think you will start seeing patterns in your spending faster than we will. The decision to get the ball was your husband’s not yours, and you went into the store and exited without additional purchases. I think that is a win for you, as is the decision to reject at the last minute items at Costco. CELEBRATE your achievements.

  5. I know you’re not trying to reduce the grocery spending yet, but food for thought… we learned when we had a Costco membership that we were willing to buy things in bulk that we didn’t actually buy at a regular store because we were getting a “discount” so we ended up spending more money instead of less. I think you’re doing well so far, and I don’t think you can beat yourself up about pouches – we rely on them too. When you write these posts, I pull up my budget on mint.com and see how I did for the week. For unnecessary items, we spent $200 on landscaping (planned but ouch that adds up), a bottle of wine, take-out pizza, and DH ordered a book and downloaded $4 of music. We managed to cut our grocery bill a little this month, but it’s still not where I want it.

  6. Hey good job! I think the museum pass is totally worth it too. That’s all we ask for Christmas from my in-laws & love it! Go you.
    As far as the pouches, if it makes your life easier, do it. I’m not willing to compromise on little items that I know will make life in general, for everyone in my family, better. So, hey, again – go you!

  7. It’s amazing when you actually write it down how much you spend and where it goes! I know this is hard for you but no one is judging. Remember we are your support crew 🙂

  8. I love pouches! A friend of mine told me that Costco carries them, have you checked yours? Also, I don’t have the balls to put all my spring out there like you do. I’m totally impressed!

    1. Sometimes Costco has great pouches, but like all things at Costco you never know if they’ll be there. Once I went and they had three kids that my son likes. I bought so many! The last time I went they only had one kind he likes, and they aren’t the ones he loves, so I only got one box. It’s frustrating how Costco can be so hit or miss with the stuff they carry. My son got addicted to these bars and then suddenly they didn’t carry them anymore. I’ve checked for three months and nothing. So frustrating!

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