My Budget Boot Camp Day 12: All of Life’s Little Extras

This March I have dedicated to scrutinizing my budget as Mike and I get that much closer to becoming DEBT-FREE in 20 months, an ambitious goal, I know. So far this month I’ve made my way through:

Giving on a Budget


Child Care


Health Insurance

Auto/Home/Life Insurance, etc.

Cell Phone/Cable/Internet

Gas/Car Maintenance

Those past couple have been areas that we have been able to cut a lot out and save a lot more, but today’s topic- the Discretionary Spending Budget- is the big-time budget doozy in my (humble) opinion! Wanna know why? Because when it comes to the discretionary spending budget we’ve definitely left the land of necessities and entered the land of wants, and when you want to get out of $15,000 of debt within 20 months while making just around $22,000 a year, those wants better be jumping out the window faster than popping corn in a hot pan (lathered with butter… and salt… I think Mike needs to make me some popcorn…)

The Discretionary Budget

Ok, most people split this category up into several smaller categories in their budget, but we just don’t make enough to do that, so one lump sum we call “The Discretionary Budget.” It’s $25 a month and it is what we use to eat out, go to the movies, buy or replace little things for the house, buy clothing, extra travel, etc. Basically, it’s all those things we definitely don’t need, but occasionally need a little bit of cash handy to purchase.

How Do We Save Money Here?

Our rule is pretty simple: we pay cash and when it’s gone, it’s gone. That means we don’t do a whole lot that costs money! Most of the discretionary budget ends up going towards eating out with friends when they ask us out- like the other night when the worship team Mike an I are a part of at the local house of prayer decided to go out to Steak ‘n’ Shake and hang out with my dear friend Ashley, who was in town for her spring break.


  • All our movie viewing occurs in our living room, thanks to the local library.
  • When things break, we fix it,  live without it, or save up to pay cash and replace it. That means we definitely try to take good care of our stuff!
  • When we buy things, especially clothes, we go for good quality. On this journey we have definitely learned the value of having real things, things that will last. I don’t mind spending more money for quality. Honestly, if I’m going to be working so hard for each dollar, I want to know that what I’m getting is the best possible use of that dollar! No more shopping at places like Forever 21 shopping (sorry if you love shopping there… I did too… but then all my clothes fell apart.)
  • We don’t travel or go on vacation. I’m not lying- this has been the hardest part of the deal for us, especially for me. I have a close extended family, but nearly everyone is a plane ride (or substantial day’s drive) away. So far this year we’ve had to say no to a family reunion in Memphis and South Carolina. Bummer. BUT my family is pretty amazing, and when they heard we couldn’t afford the Memphis trip this year, my generous stepmom made it possible for Olivia and me to fly down for the weekend. Yay!
  • We make no excuses to each other about why we need something, and we are getting better about being honest with our friends and family when we just can’t afford something. That’s a pride stinger, for sure, but now that my budget is public knowledge, I’ve gotten over it!

How about you? What’s in your discretionary budget? How do you save money in this area? Leave a comment!

Go To: My Budget Boot Camp Day 13


5 thoughts on “My Budget Boot Camp Day 12: All of Life’s Little Extras

  1. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 13: My (Green) Trick for Saving Money While Keeping Me and My House Clean « The Debt Free Family

  2. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 13: The Grocery Bill « The Debt Free Family

  3. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 4: Budget Basics and My Outline « The Debt Free Family

  4. I clicked on your blog because I saw tortilla chips that looked great and look at all this!! I don’t have children and my wife and I have not incurred credit card debt. But we’re able to go places and do things that people with our incomes kind of shake their heads at. And you know why it’s because we do things like this. We really scrutinize every added bill. We use the library, love that you suggested that it’s so overlooked, and don’t have Netflix or Smart phones. We keep cars well past 200,000 miles. We have below basic Internet and for more than a decade we didn’t have it at home. It’s amazing the goals you can achieve, whether it’s getting out of debt, or traveling or maxing out an IRA.. when you really put your mind to it. Sorry to ramble! But great job. I’m going to poke around some more.

    • Thanks so much! I can’t wait until we are out of debt so we can start maxing out an IRA and going on fun trips. It just takes some discpline, but it’s not really that difficult to start managing money in such a way that the money starts working FOR you and not controlling you.

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