Budget Input and Advice

>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This is another one of those posts where I'm looking for some input. Please? Pretty please?

I started this blog about six months ago with the primary goal of seeing if I could "be a responsible consumer and still stay within my budget." The secondary goal, if I succeeded with the first, was to disprove the myth, "I can't afford to go green." I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job with my primary goal. There have been some ups and downs, and there are still many ways I could be "greener," but overall I feel like I've proved to myself that I can go green on my budget.

But see, that's the problem, as far as the second goal goes. It's my budget, and since many people feel uncomfortable talking specifics about their spending habits, I don't have a clue how it compares to anyone else.

Do people come to my blog and say, "Well of course she can go green. Her food budget is twice as much as ours. And why on earth is she spending so much on gas?"

If you don't feel comfortable giving specific numbers on the Internet, that's totally understandable, but can you all give me a clue how my budget compares to your family's?
And if you spend less than me in any category, I welcome any and all advice! Please, please share!

So for comparison's sake, here's about how much I've been spending on my family of two adults and three kids under five:

  • Grocery (this includes anything you can get at a grocery store, so food, health, beauty, cleaning, etc): $600-700
  • Transportation: (gas and parking) $150-250
  • Electricity: $75-100
  • Water/Sewer: $20
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous (movies, eating out, magazine subscriptions, cold medicine, home improvement products, etc, etc, etc): There's been some big fluctuation here. I have it budgeted at $300, but I think I'm being optimistic.
  • Clothing: varies widely, but on average it's been about $50 a month
  • Total = $1195-$1420
I should add that we pay for cable television, and we have subscriptions to Netflix and eMusic. I don't include these things in the entertainment section, though they obviously are, because they are fixed expenses and wouldn't fluctuate based on my green spending.


Maren Hansen February 19, 2009 at 12:02 PM  

Erin, you're doing WAY better than me and I have 1.5 more kids than you. Even taking in the higher cost of living here and other differences, any family would be proud to be doing as well as you are, AND being more green. Might I also add that many families don't even HAVE a budget, so keep up the good work if only to encourage others to be more responsible with their monetary stewardship and the earth. You go girl!
PS Thanks again for the time and effort you put in this blog. I know I get excited when you put up a new post! :)

Anonymous,  February 19, 2009 at 5:55 PM  


I think your bills are enviable. I wish I could do half as well. I'd like to learn how to do better and I'm learning a lot from reading your blog.

Frank Ladd

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 20, 2009 at 8:31 AM  

Maren and Frank, Thanks for the input! This is very helpful!

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