Budgeting: Items to Cut From Your Budget

Today, I want to talk about something most of us do not discuss, MONEY. Specifically, your budget and how your hard earn money is being spent or saved. First and foremost, do you have a monthly budget? If your answer is yes, see a list below of items you can cut from your monthly spending. If your answer is no to not having a monthly budget, create a budget first. Not only can you see where all your money is going, but you can quickly assess what can be cut from your spending.

There are so many topics within budgeting I want to discuss, however, today we are just going to focus on the items you can cut from your budget. These items, services, etc. can easily add up making your spending much higher than it needs to be. Some items below, you might see as a ‘NEED’ but if you are really trying to cut back on spending, paying off debt and/or wanting to save more of your money, you need to make cut backs. Below I have listed out a few common things we spend money on, but you could save more money by simply cutting them out of the budget or simply doing the work yourself.

  • Paper products (napkins/paper towels/paper plates/plastic silverware, etc)

These are good for hosting a party but not everyday use. Not only does this add more cost to your grocery list, it is also piling up in landfills. Instead of paper napkins, buy cloth and wash/reuse. Instead of paper plates, plastic silverware, styrofoam goods for each meal simply wash your dishes. As for paper towels, use dish towels and wash them frequently. This should help cut back the amount you are spending if you currently buy these items regularly.

  • Subscriptions (magazines, gym memberships, streaming platforms, music)

If you are trying to save money and/or pay off debt, you need to cut back in this area. If you have all of the above, try cutting back one-by-one.  Only having one or two will be major improvement. It is not to say by budgeting or cutting cost you cannot have fun, however, you need to budget for what you can afford. Sometimes there are free gym options at your workplace or your community centers to cut that cost. Also think about using the great outdoors or a home workout routine.

  • Cable  (You can do it, cutting our cable years ago was the best move and saves so much monthly)
  • Eating out  (lunch, dinners, gas station drinks/snacks, coffee runs)

Okay, this is still a hard category for my family as well, but we budget for dining out. It adds up quickly if you are eating out for lunch or dinner and/or buying gas station drinks/snacks daily! Take leftovers or brown bag lunches to work everyday, it will save you more than you think. Also, take drinks and snacks with you in the car. Each week make a MEAL PLAN. You should be doing this for two reasons; only buy what you need from the grocery store for that weeks meals and having each meal planned out for the week will keep you on track. Stick to the plan! I could make a whole post about meals, planning, etc but I will save that for another time. Also, try cutting back on buying that cup of Joe at the coffeeshop. Make your coffee at home and save money. You can always put $5 per month in the budget so you can still grab coffee once a month with a friend or to treat yourself.

  • Pampering Services (nails, hair appointments, massages, etc.)

This is not to say grow your hair out like a caveman, but to find a cheaper haircut or spread out the time in between haircuts. Ladies, if you get your haircut and highlighted every 6 weeks, try stretching it to every 8 weeks or longer. Over the year, you will save some money. If you have an easy haircut, maybe you could have someone in your house do it for you? If you get your nails done 1-2 times per month at a nail salon, try cutting this back or cutting it out of the budget all together. Do your nails at home.

  • Entertainment (movies, events, activities)

Have a set budget monthly for entertainment. We started the 2020 year with the goal of doing one monthly activity that cost money. (museums, day trips, the movies, sport events, etc) Still wanting to do things as a family is okay, just make sure you have it in the budget. The rest of the month look for free activities for family entertainment. (parks, events, playgrounds, community movie night, local shows, board games at home, volunteering, etc.)

  • Impulse buying (travel, groceries, clothing, junk food, home decor, etc.)

These easily add up if you frequent stores or are on social media. Influencers are there to make you think you NEED the product, but do you really?  I have always loved clothing, shoes, and home decor so I used to ‘browse’ places like Home Goods, TJMaxx, the local mall, etc. To help impulse buying, I only go to the store when I have a shopping list and its on the monthly budget. Example, if you know your nieces birthday is this month, it should be in your budget and on the shopping list. Or, if you know your child has outgrown their current pair shoes, put it in the monthly budget under clothing. If you walk past a cute piece of home decor and want to buy it, ask yourself do you NEED it? The answer is more than likely going to be NO. Put it back and walk away. 🙂 As for junk food, try to keep more fruits and veggies in the house as snack food. Not only is it healthier for your family but you can also use up these items in dinner ideas. (example, carrots are a snack but you can steam them as a veggie for dinner or chop them up to put in homemade chicken and noodles) Travel is a a hard category for me to not spend all of my money. I love traveling, however, it is not practical on my budget whenever I want. So make a yearly plan of places or events you wish to travel to and BUDGET it in. Save a specific amount leading up to the travel date so that you are paying cash for all your travel expenses. (hotel, car, gas, food, entertainment, baggage, flights, taxes/resort fees, etc)

  • Insurance (auto insurance and home insurance)

Negotiate! Insurance companies want to keep your business, so contact them on what can be done to lower your bill. Do they offer discounts you may be eligible for? (your job, military, small mileage commute, university alumni, etc) Yes, I have used a few of these discounts to save me so much per month! Also, shop around! You would be amazed at what you could be saving with a different company for your needs.

  • Cell Phone and Utilities (electric, gas, water, etc.)

Most people do not know that you can put your electric, gas or water on the ‘budget’ plan. What does this mean? Instead of your bill fluctuating monthly or in colder/warmer months, you can be placed on a budget for the year and it will be the same monthly bill.  Be careful not to over use or your monthly bill will increase the next year based on your usage. Real life example: I did not have an electric bill in January and only a partial for February since our amounts paid in 2019 were over the amount we actually used so it was credited to our account. (2018 we used a little more because we had an infant) Being on the budget saves you from those unexpected high $500+ bills in the winter months.  As for cell phones, look for plans that have only what you need instead of all the bells and whistles you do not use. You can also see if splitting a family plan with others would make everyones bill cheaper.

Other areas you can cut back or do without:

  • Home Thermostat (turn it up when you are not home, no need to keep it running for the walls to be comfortable.  Do not set your heat so high, turn it down a few degrees and put on more layers when there are colder days)
  • Kids clothing (shop second hand–I do this for play clothes. I also find new items with tags still attached) Garage sales, selling sites, second hand stores.
  • Pet Grooming (like the haircut category above, space out grooming appointments further by 1-2 weeks OR start grooming your pet yourself)
  • House Cleaning Company (do it yourself OR if it is must for you, cut back to maybe once a month and you cleaning in between. You can also make chore charts for littles to help)
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Alcohol and/or smoking products
  • Grocery Bill (buy only the NEEDS to make your meals. Use coupons, store app coupons, price compare, etc)


This is not to say you should cut out every category I listed above.  Many of us use these items out of convenience rather than making a plan and doing it ourselves. Let me know what areas you plan to cut back or what you cut out totally from your budget. You can do it!! I am by no means a financial guru or expert, I too have to work at it every month. These are just common areas within most peoples budget I believe you can cut out or scale back immensely. Make that budget every MONTH. I hope to bring more budget talk your way, let me know topics you want to discuss by emailing me.


First Year Baby Gear

1st Year Baby Gear


Better late than never. This is way late as my daughter is almost two, but I have been wanting to put together the baby gear we used most during the first year and some items well beyond the first twelve months. Of course, so many other items were used beyond these, but I thought these are some of the big ticket items when preparing for baby. When I decided to put things on my registry or purchase items, I did gender neutral even though I knew we were expecting a baby girl. The reason I did this? If we choose to expand our family after baby #1 OR donate items, they are gender neutral. Just my thoughts and opinions and therefore I was not rebuying items again. Plus, I am not a big fan of a bazillion colors all over items.  Again, just my personal preference.

Diono Carseat (Radian 3rxt all-in-one convertible) The carseat we have (in each car) is by far worth every penny. It fits 5 lbs. and up, it is an all-in-one convertible carseat to grow with your child and top rated for safety. Not to mention it is slimmer to allow multiple carseats across your back seats or allow other passengers to sit more comfortable. We never did a bucket style carseat, just this one. (it is all preference) When our daughter was still a newborn, she went right from the carseat to a wearable wrap or a stroller when we were out and about. This carseat is $240, but worth it and you do not have to buy another as it grows all the way through booster seat size.

Diono Quantum Stroller  (we have it in all black) This stroller was not our original stroller. We needed a second carseat and Diono was running a deal, buy a carseat which was on sale and get this stroller for just a $100 more! This was a steal since the stroller retailed for $600 at the time. So we sold our original stroller. I like this stroller, my husband hates it. It is on the bulky side taking up space and the fold up can be a bit funky at times. Its very sturdy, a smooth ride and it can lay to be bassinet style or sit up once baby gets older. It also has a great big sun shade and big venting on the shade to keep baby cool. My daughter still enjoys riding in this stroller.

Pack-n-Play      Some people skip these but keep reading to see why it was a must for us. I am happy with the style of pack and play we chose. We started out using the raised sleeping area when my daughter was a newborn in our room instead of a bassinet. She slept in this until she was 8 weeks old and then we started transitioning to her crib in her own room. We do not have tons of space, so in terms of being practical for us, a bassinet was not since babies out grow them quickly. This pack-n-play was used in her newborn stage, it then became a play area and now it is used as her bed when we travel.

Como Tomo Bottles  These were the bottles my daughter ended up loving, but they happen to be on the pricer side. ($24 for 2) We never bought the smaller ounce Como bottles as she was a big eater pretty quickly. They hold up really well and we only had to purchase new nipple sizes as she grew. Well worth the investment if your child loves them.

Baby Breeza Bottle Warmer  You can definitely get away with a cheaper bottle warmer or get more fancy than this but we just needed the basic function of warming. The Breeza bottle warmer was very useful during the newborn stage and it warmed the bottle very quickly. We purchased it from Target with gift cards we received at our baby shower.

Ingenuity Portable Baby Swing    Again, we do not have tons of space so a more compact baby swing worked for us. The bigger/taller swings take up a lot of floor space so this definitely is more compact and works just the same. My daughter loved spending time in her swing whether playing or taking a quick nap. This swing is great if you need to save space or need something on a lower budget. I would take it on our back patio to sit outside with her since it is easy to fold up and move.

High Chair  (Ikea Antilop High Chair) $20   I am now sound like a broken record, but saving space, saving money and getting just the basics was our mindset with baby gear. When it was time for feeding my daughter solids, she only needed a basic high chair. Nothing fancy or huge so off to Ikea I went. Another way to save on baby food, make your own!! It is so easy and very budget friendly. That is another blog post in itself for another day.

Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddles/Blankets   We received these at our baby shower and we have used them from day one until now. They definitely have gotten their use and I think they are worth the $40 investment for a pack of 4. My daughter quickly realized she hated being swaddled so we have always used them as blankets. They are so soft and great to pack for travel, the diaper bag, in the car or just at home for bedtime.

Baby Monitor  (HelloBaby)   $50  This baby monitor is  pretty basic. I did not want anything fancy and we did not need it to work with our smart phones.  It is easy to move around and you can buy extra cameras if needed. The monitor is easy to carry around the house, you can see and hear baby fine, it has night vision for low light and it plays lullabies. The other function I have started using recently, the two-way talk. You can sing or speak softly to your child without going into their room. (My child wants picked up if she sees you) In the warmer months, I have put my daughter down for a nap in her room and gone out in the yard, it works just fine.

Other first year needs: Onesies and Sleepers (babies are much more comfortable and warm in these), Socks (also use like mittens in newborn stage), Diaper bag (nothing fancy), Nose Frida (some think it is gross, but it works! We still use it on my daughter and she doesn’t hate it. Score!), Diaper and wipes (Diapers in size 3 you will use most!–We love Costco brand diapers and wipes–budget friendly and work great)

I truly believe everyone has their own needs and wants for baby gear, however, I wanted to share a few items we used that work great incase you are in the market. Some of these items are budget friendly and others you might add to your baby registry as wants.  Family and friends love to gift you items you need so remember that before you start scanning everything you want make sure you have the items you need. I hope you found this helpful if you are expecting a baby or need to buy a gift for an expecting momma.




*Not sponsored and I do not receive compensation for the links. All opinions are my own. I purchased all items or they were gifted to me by family and friends.

Beckett’s 2019 Recap

Let me start by saying I cannot believe 2019 is coming to an end and a new decade starts at midnight! Miss Beckett started off 2019 being 9 months old and will end out the 2019 year at 21 months old, aka almost 2. She has grown so much, now has a full head of hair, learned a ton and hit many milestones in 2019. Her second birthday will be in March!

As for Beckett’s 2019, it was a great year. The start of 2020 and the new decade will for sure be filled with many more memories and learning points for our girl.


January: Beckett was still not walking on her own but that did not stop her. We celebrated Lilly’s 5th Birthday. Mom and Dad had a lot of time off work to play with Beckett.

February: Beckett attended her cousin Saige’s 1st Birthday party and enjoyed the cake.  MawMaw and PawPaw bought Beckett walking shoes so she could start walking on her own.

March: It was a big month for Beckett. She started walking on her own the day before her 1st Birthday. We celebrated with family and close friends for her FIRST Birthday at home with pizza and cake. Mama and Dada got her a new tricycle! She celebrated with her cousins for their PawPaws Birthday. Went to the doctor for her 12 month check up, clean bill of health and a few shots.

April-May: Celebrated Easter at MawMaw and PawPaws house. Hunted the yard for Easter eggs. Wished Mama and MawMaw a happy birthday. She also got to celebrate with PawPaw on his retirement and attend a birthday party.

June: Beckett checked out our neighborhood pool and brought plenty of snacks to sit poolside. Went to the park and playground countless times. She rode her tricycle around the neighborhood and went on walks with Lilly. Took Lilly to the Doggie Carnival to enjoy all the dog things. She hung out with her cousins, two are only 3 weeks older than her!

July: Beckett went to her cousin Preston’s 4th Birthday at the ballpark. It was her first time at an Indians baseball game. She loved all the people. Beckett also took her first road trip out of state to Chicago. She enjoyed the long weekend on the lake with good food, lots of fun, a hot trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Beckett even rode her first enclosed ferris wheel.

August: We spent time outside at parks close to home, the playground and walks around the neighborhood. Beckett attended her first Indiana State Fair. She saw the animals, ate the corn and corndogs and took a spin on the merry go round with MawMaw and PawPaw. She was not particularly a fan of the merry go round.

September-October: We took family photos which included Beckett doing one of her favorite things, ‘fly sky’. She spent an evening with MawMaw and PawPaw while Mom and Dad celebrated 6 years of marriage. Beckett made Halloween crafts and she passed out Halloween candy to all the trick-or-treaters. She was a little farmer girl. Beckett got sick with a respiratory infection but was better to attend the bonfire and hayride at MawMaw and PawPaws house.

November: Beckett had a fun daddy/daughter weekend while Mom went on a girls trip. She went to Monkey Joe’s to get out some of that energy. Beckett celebrated DaDa’s Birthday and Thanksgiving all in the same week.

December: It was a fun filled month. Beckett got to visit with all her grandparents and great-grandparents. She went to see Santa and did not like it one bit. She helped mom and dad with shopping and wrapping the gifts. Beckett got to play with her cousins during Christmas and even play at the new neighborhood playground since it was warm outside. She had a mom/daughter weekend with just Mom while Dad went on a guys trip.

So many fun memories Beckett got to experience. For 2020, we have some fun activities mapped out. We are hoping to take more weekend road trips and adventures. Cheers, Happy New Year!! Have a healthy year.