Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Monthly Budget Breakdown ~ January 2015

In an effort to challenge my contentment meter and stay within a budget,
I have $50 per month to spend on Decor & DIY projects for around the house. 
On the first Tuesday of every month I'll show you how I spent it 

Here is the monthly breakdown for January...

Starting Balance = $185.35 (you can check out here to see what was spent in December.)
Income: January $50 + Starting Balance = $235.35 left to spend

How did January already come and go??? Crazy! If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a new addition that we made to the kitchen this past month. I'll admit that when we first moved into this house I immediately started dreaming about remodeling the kitchen. That was bound to happen to the girl who grew up watching "This Old House" with her dad and whose favorite tv network is HGTV. 

Alas, when I looked at our bank account there was no money designated for "remodeling the kitchen." We contemplated taking out a loan to create the kitchen of our dreams now but then we had some major heart changes. A few years also went by of living in our home and we remodeled one of our bathrooms. During that process I realized that with the state of my heart before I would have never found contentment in having a newly remodeled kitchen. 


Because there would always be the "next" project that we could do. I can picture it now. The kitchen is done...it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, and then my next question is...

Honey, can we re-do our upstairs bathroom now? 

I'll be so much happier THEN.


Not going to happen!

So why break the bank trying?

We still see remodeling the kitchen as a great investment down the road but unless a major catastrophe happens in our kitchen and forces us to remodel early we are all kinds of happy about making memories in this one. 

Up until now one major factor in wanting to remodel was our limited counter space. I've definitely knocked more than a few things off of our portable dishwasher/mini island while trying to cook for our family of seven.  

Then one day in January I was walking through Target and spotted a nice clearance end cap find. (Those end caps are like magnets, right?!?) I stood there taking pictures and sending texts back and forth to Sam. Will this fit? Do you think this would be a good solution for the lack of counter space issue? I definitely wasn't going to try lifting that heavy box home unless I was 90% sure that it was going to work. 

He replied that it was definitely worth a try. 

Of course one of the best parts was that in not doing many decor/organizing projects over the past few months my monthly budget had added up quite nicely. Pair that with a $50 Target gift card that I had and I only paid $124.98 cash for more than DOUBLE the counter space than I previously had.

Three hours of screwing things together later and...


target kitchen island counter top

I have considered trimming down the counter so that it is even with the dishwasher but that would also mean losing some of my newly gained counter space. So for now I'm keeping it as is. I've also thought of sanding down the top and staining it to match the dishwasher but for right now I'm simply happy with the present condition and how useful it is.

target clearance kitchen island find

I did have a friend ask if I was going to get a couple of stools to put under the counter. My first thought was NO WAY...they would just be one more thing for the kids to argue over.

I like to pick my battles wisely. 

Although a stool or two might be nice for when the kids are taking turns helping me cook...which at this point consists of them helping to beat the scrambled eggs or stir the Mac & Cheese. I don't want you to get the impression that I do a lot of gourmet cooking with my little tornadoes...we all have our limits.  

Final Breakdown...
Beginning Balance $235.35 - $124.98 (January purchases) = $110.37


  1. We don't use the stool part of our island back home, but we have put a little wire rack under there and I have seen some people put a mini-kitchen and toys for little kids to have their own "kitchen" in the real kitchen...just some other ideas if people wondered what they might do with that extra space. I am with you, I wouldn't cut off the overhang, not when you are short on counter space to start.

    1. Keturah,

      Great ideas, thanks for sharing!


  2. It's perfect! I think, though, one stool. For you! Maybe it's just me, but I tend to hang out in the kitchen when I'm cooking, even if I'm just waiting for macaroni noodles to be cooked...and I would love a place to sit for a minute without being able to get too comfortable (too many times I've meant to "just pop in" to my desk and then hear my water boiling over, ha!

    1. Jessica,

      Ahh, that sounds wonderful. :-)


  3. I am so impressed with your ability to save up so much. It is something I need to work harder on. We currently are in a small apartment with a small kitchen. Whenever I see someone with a nice big kitchen or when they get nice little additions like yours I am so happy for them. I feel like I can really empathize with the struggle of tiny kitchens. :)

    1. Saving up has definitely not been my normal pattern in the past but I've found that keeping track of expenses and being accountable to my hubby (and online here!) have helped a TON! I know small spaces can be challenging to work in. The thrill for me comes in finding creative ways to utilize every square inch of space...or at least dream of ways to do that. :-)


  4. What a great addition! Our current kitchen really lacks counter space as well. Like you, I use my portable dishwasher which is about 1/4 of the total countertop space. I'd love to have a bigger kitchen someday, but right now it just means I can only have one kids helping me at a time...I'm not complaining about that. Speaking of scrambles eggs, I thought you might like to see this video of our (then) 3-year-old making scrambled eggs.

    1. Allyson,

      In some ways there are SO many positives to limited space and only having room for ONE helper at a time! I'm not sure I could manage all five trying to help me cook at once. :-) Great video of your daughter making breakfast!



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