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Saturday, July 24, 2010

$1,200 Is Back!

It seems as though the $1,200 Budget Challenge was the winner for what you all prefer for August so it will be back a week from tomorrow! For those of you who have no idea what this challenge was about, feel free to scroll through my June posts to learn more.

I encourage some of my readers to join in with this challenge once again to see how low you can go. $1,200 is not the magic number, it is the number I have set for myself (remember, I failed last month and went over $175). You can still take the $1,200 Challenge no matter what your low number may be. I encourage you to sit down and add up all your fixed expenses, then tack on an amount that you that you find reasonable for all the unfixed expenses (you know...food, extras, entertainment, eating out). For example, after our fixed expenses for the month I will be tacking on around $300.

This time around my school supplies will be exempt. As a homeschooling mother I will be buying all the school books and supplies in August and I could not do that with such a tight budget. As other readers pointed out, this is not something in a regular household budget each month anyway, so I shouldn't feel bad for not counting it. For you mamas wondering how you could do a challenge such as this in August with all the school costs coming up...feel free to not include those in the challenge. Just your regular monthly household spending will do nicely.

So what say you? Are you interested in joining in this challenge? You have one week to sit down and organize your spending and come up with your number for the challenge. Feel free to steal my challenge button on the right and throw it on your blog and let your readers know what you are up to. For those without a blog, or others who prefer not to blog about their progress, every Friday will be check in dates here and you can all update us on your progress. Remember, my motto is not live within your means, but rather, live beneath your means!


  1. I simply cannot understand challenging yourself to stay within a budget but then exempting an expense from that challenge. I could stay within any budget I set for myself if I told myself the school registration didn't count, supplies didn't count, or anything unexpected that comes up isn't going to go against the number I have set for myself. I do not comprehend what the point of the challenge is then? If it's to challenge yourself to live as the millions of people who are on fixed budgets, then you would understand that they don't have the luxury of picking and choosing what counts as an expense or not. They don't have the choice of saying the school supplies cost won't count...they have to somehow come up with not only that money, but registration, back to school clothing, and lunch fees, and in many cases, it will mean scrimping on their daily expenses, or even worse, a bill going unpaid. It's unrealistic and pointless to "play" at being a budgeter on a fixed income when you're going to bend it to fit the number you've given yourself, and frankly, is quite insulting to anyone who successfully lives within a strict budget regardless of what expenses come their way.

  2. Whoa, anon - get over yourself. This is a blog...and guess what? It's not *your* blog. It's also not your challenge, nor your rules.

    Elizabeth made it clear the first time around (and I believe she also stated above) that "$1,200 isn't the magic number".

    This challenge is basically just whatever YOUR fixed expenses are plus $300-500 on top of that for everything else.

    But...regardless of that, she made her point quite clearly above in her post. If it's so insulting to you, well, I suggest you move along...go on now...shoo!

    Elizabeth - Sorry for the rant. Anyway, good luck! I'm not doing this again, but I did just plan a budget through the end of the year that I'll be blogging about soon. It felt so good to accomplish it (well, the written part, anyway!).

  3. You miss the point (as clearly, the author does, too if this is a repeat performance). ANYONE can stay within ANY budget if all you are taking into consideration is fixed expenses and just tacking on a few hundred. It makes me curious what the point is, then?

  4. No no...I assure you, I'm not missing the point. You're just trying to make the challenge into something it's not.

    *You're* missing the point - $1,200 isn't a fixed number - it IS adjustable. I do understand though that with the title being "$1,200 challenge" it is a little confusing...although, it has a much nicer ring to it than "The 300-500 over your fixed expenses budget challenge".

    Anyway, regardless - the books aren't a typical monthly expense. They are an annual one. The challenge is to see if she can live a typical month within a tight budget.

    Seeing as how she doesn't typically buy schooling supplies, it doesn't really count, nor does it make a difference as to whether she can skimp in certain areas and only spend $1,200/mo on regular monthly expenses.

    And yes, this is a more than one time deal that readers "voted" to have her do again. The same readers that read the last challenge and also suggested that certain expenses be "exempt" as they weren't typical. I don't think she's trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.

    I also don't think you're thinking clearly when you say, "ANYONE can stay within ANY budget if all you are taking into consideration is fixed expenses and just tacking on a few hundred".

    Um...no. TONS of people spend more than a few hundred dollars a month on groceries alone. Or gas, even.

    If you're typically spending upwards of $600, $800, $1000+ on food, gas, medicine, clothing, toiletries, fun money, etc. etc...cutting it down to $300-$500 (which ever seems more 'do-able' depending on family size, etc) then you are challenging yourself.

    Essentially, you'd be reducing your variable expenses by 50%, more than likely.

    What's not challenging about that?

    Unless you don't know the difference between what a fixed expense and a variable one is and were assuming the $300-500 was just additional blow money??

    Now really...either move on or post under and actual name. Attacking someones challenge is petty enough as it is, but hiding behind anonymity is just plain lame.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Whoops - I sorry...double comment (stupid internet!)

  7. Thanks for explaing it perfectly, Atheist Mama. Besides, just because one posts under "Anonymous" does not mean that they are "anonymous" to the blog owner. That, of course, is why blogs have trackers!

  8. Oh Beth, give me a break. I'm fully aware you would know who posted it. I have none of the accounts under the profiles listed. (and "tracker"...you realize how obsessively ridiculous it sounds?)

    Again, I really am curious, because the question was not answered. What is the purpose of doing the challenge? When you choose to do it, how do you decide what is an applicable expense or not? What "counts" and what does not? Why wasn't it easier to just go with a $1300 or $1400 challenge (which is still considered low income, so quite a challenge) and not have to pick and choose what "counts" as an expense? Isn't it accurate to say these kind of expenses that don't "count" can come up in every month? Just because they aren't fixed like a mortgage, or the variables of utilities and overhead, does not mean they don't count towards a familiy's bottom line. And if that is not the purpose of your challenge, then by all means, please answer what is. What does living within this set budget, yet excusing some expenses from the budget, accomplish for you?

  9. I agree with anonymous. I have to stick to a strict budget and cannot choose what counts and what doesn't. and most months there is something that comes up that is not a typical monthly expense. and yet i still have to find the way to pay for it within the budget and not go into debt because of it.

  10. Leanne-
    My budget challenge is a way for me to lower my "monthly" expenses. We spend much more than $1,200 in a typical month...so by cutting our spending by over $600 in one month is a tremendous challenge.
    While I understand what you are saying (that you can't pick and choose what you have to spend your limited income on) my purpose of this challenge was to lower my MONTHLY expenses.
    It is a budget challenge, not a spending challenge. Did I spend more than $175 over the budget last month? Yes, I paid over $500 for our dog's surgery (ouch!). I was clear and upfront about that.
    It's seriously just a challenge that is fun, informative, and interesting. It was also HARD last month to stay out of stores and watch every single penny, so I learned a lot and saved a lot. And that is what the challenge is about!

  11. well that does help me understand it a bit better now. Didn't realize you were trying to save $600. That is a big challenge.

  12. I admire you Beth, and even though I am your mother and much older (a little older) I can learn from you. I especially love your recipes and hope to replicate some next month.

  13. Beth,

    Glad to see you doing this challenge again. I participated with you last time, but didn't really post many comments. Good luck!



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