How to Write a Budget {and actually USE it!} from Our Cozy Den

How To Write a Budget {and actually USE it!}

Ah, yes… dreaded B word: Budget. People think of a budget and they cringe. Budgets are restrictive. No fun. Too hard. Well, I tend to disagree. When done properly, budgets give you an immense sense of freedom! Before we had a written budget each month, I would feel so guilty about every penny I spent that I didn’t feel was vital to the family. Every time I bought myself a book, a shirt, or lunch out with my friends… I felt plagued with feelings like “We can’t afford this.” or “I shouldn’t be spending this money.” Once we had a written plan in place, it Read More


Why I Threw My Budget Out the Window {for the summer!}

I’ve always been very diligent with my budgeting: zero-based budget, every month; track all income and spending in my spreadsheets; keep my all cash envelope system in check. I’ll admit, it can be really hard at times! It can also be exhausting to keep track of it all. In case you missed me talking about it earlier — my husband is out of town for military training for the summer. He’s been in seminary for the past few years on his quest to become an Army Chaplain, and we’ve been living on his very low Reserves income, which is usually about $600 a month. But Read More

How our family of six lives on $550 a month! ~ Our Cozy Den

Six People. $550 a month. How we do it!

Last year I wrote a post about how we live on $650 a month. I got a lot of feedback from it — both incredibly positive as well as harshly negative. I’m a sensitive person, so negative comments are really hard on me. For that reason, I was hesitant to even post today’s budget update. However, I’ve had a few readers ask if our budget has changed since that time — and it has. So here I am to share our new 2016 budget! Our new total budget is $550 a month. Here’s now it breaks down: Groceries = $175/month I’ve been blogging my weekly menus for Read More

5 Steps to Becoming a Money Saver ~ Our Cozy Den

5 Steps to Becoming a Money-Saver

  As I talked about before in my post about our financial journey, I did not start out as a money-saver. It’s a mindset that I have grown over the years. At the beginning, I was quite the opposite. I loved eating out, shopping, and spending frivolously! It’s a struggle I still have to reign in sometimes. So when I say that saving money is not always easy, I get it. I know how hard it is to pass up something that you WANT NOW in exchange for a more secure future for your family later. The right now is a tangible thing, while the Read More


My Budget

Updated March 2013 *We are currently stationed in Europe, and we live in on-post housing, so we don’t have any expenses for rent or utilities. This might seem like a sweet deal, but believe me, the exorbitant costs over here more than make up for it.  Here goes… you ready? You get to see exactly how much money we make, and exactly where it goes every month. For most of the categories, I like to err on the safe side, so the amount budgeted is not how much we spend. Any surplus at the end of the month goes in our savings account, any shortfall Read More


Living Like No One Else

Life is changing. We are moving into Lockdown Mode with our budget, facing the very real possibility that we could be unemployed in 9-18 months. I just made up the budget for 2013, and I’m very excited about it. I have to be excited, because looking at the goal is going to be the only way to do it. This is going to be hard. I showed Byron my budget, and he wasn’t so excited. I told him that our savings rate is extremely high, and he didn’t quite grasp how high until I showed him this chart: See the US rate there at the end? It’s 2.1%. In 2013, Read More