Finances · Food · Marriage

Budget 101 with the Creagh’s

I am excited to start a financial series with you since I haven’t blogged about this before and this is a topic that Jimmy and I care greatly about which you will learn why as you read along. AND JIMMY IS WRITING EACH POST WITH ME, so it makes this even more fun :).

But first, let me give you some background on Jimmy and myself…

Jimmy started a business in college which was lucrative for about 8 years. As this business started to taper off in 2014, he was offered another business that he bought into around the time we started dating. This business is called Ident-A-kid which is what he manages currently. He runs the security software and ID program in mostly public schools around North Carolina. He is a total entrepreneur. He is so good at making money on the side by even finding the most RANDOM thing to resell or make. I am so thankful for the way he provides diligently for our family. He has earned his money by working HARD!!

And then there’s me… I have never had a full-time/salary-paying job, but I have always worked my butt off! I started working when I was 14.5 at Chick-Fil-A to pay my phone bill so I could have a phone. In college, I worked tons of different jobs to pay for everything else besides my tuition (THANK YOU, PARENTS!). After college and as a student in grad school, I worked 30 hours a week in different jobs. After grad school and once I married Jimmy, I worked 30 hours a week at a pregnancy resource center and then at a financial advising firm.

We tell you all of that to know that Jimmy and I have worked hard for our money and we also tend to be more savers than spenders. We are also both very entrepreneurial.

But we have to let you in on something…

owning a business and being an entrepreneur is not always living the “high life.” To own a business, you have to invest and buy into the business which is not easy or cheap. Also there are HIGH taxes and LOTS of responsibility financially, not to mention there’s no health benefits or any kind of benefits.

Being a business owner is not easy financially and it’s not as glamorous as you may think. We are so thankful that God has given us the ability to own a business and have some flexibility with our time, but we also live very frugally!

This leads me into some tips we want to share with you…

How to live on one income (i.e. how to live frugally)


This may be like a “duh” point, but I want to share how there are different ways of budgeting. Jimmy and I budget a little differently because as business owners, our income fluctuates month to month. We also tend to save more than we spend to a fault.

So having a set amount in specific categories makes me feel like I can test the limits of how much I can spend on something rather than striving to spend as little as possible. For example, if I had a $50 coffee budget, I would feel like I could just keep buying coffee till I reach that limit. Instead, my mindset is to spend as little as possible on coffee because we want to save as much as possible.

Now I know this is not for everyone. I have also been through seasons of life that I had to strictly write out how much I can spend in every area of my life to make sure I didn’t spend above my means. But I want to be honest with you about what Jimmy and I do right now. We encourage everyone to budget in some form! If you tend to be more of a spender and struggle to build a savings account, I highly recommend that you budget your expenses for each month.

Here are some tools for budgeting…

  • Jimmy and I have money meetings where we sit down and write out all of our bills and set expenses to make sure we are spending significantly below our income for that month. This approach follows what Dave Ramsey shares here.
  • Mint is a great app I have used before for budgeting, and they also provide templates for budgeting line items that you check out here.
  • And there are tons of cute budgeting worksheets you can google or find on Pinterest like this one.

Cut Unnecessary expenses

Since Jimmy and I bought a new house and I am not working right now, we have cut unnecessary expenses, so we can work on building our savings.

Here are some things we have done that have helped us…

  • We cancelled cable because we are content with Netflix and we bought antennas(all local channels are free) to use on the TVs in our two sitting rooms. We have never regretted that decision! Instead, we only have an internet bill of $45/month.
  • We cancelled our gym membership and bought some weights and home work-out equipment. So far, we have spent the amount of one month’s gym membership on equipment we need to work out from home. I am so glad we did this too because it is much easier to work out and Jimmy doesn’t leave me every evening to go to the gym anymore! 🙂 And if you don’t know how to work-out, there are tons of apps, youtube videos and blogs explaining some great workout routines.
  • We do not buy alcohol. It’s a money drainer and we don’t need it! Nor Soda. Nor any drink except water. I am not saying to follow exactly what we do, but this is another example of a “luxury” or buying something that you don’t need to save money.
  • We do not eat out except our quick Chipotle meals we need about once or twice a week. I know this can be hard for a lot of people, especially for those who work but planning meals out the weekend before will save you so much $$. The crock-pot has really helped us in making large quantity for several meals. We go out on occasion for date nights, but eating out is not a regular occurrence for us, and this saves so much $ since we cook and eat at home 3 meals a day! If you want a cheap lunch, go to your local grocery store(Harris Teeter for us) and order their sub of the day which is normally $3.49.

So start cutting unnecessary expenses!

Here’s your homework…

Print out the last monthly bank statement, and cross out with a red pen all the expenses that you can cut out for the next month. Choose carefully where to splurge and treat yourself sometimes, but remember, every $ adds up!

Next post I will share some things that we do to save and make money! But for now, happy cutting! 🙂




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *