I may not win any awards for neatness and orderliness in either of those spaces, but they are pretty well packed.
I don’t like going over budget. But it can be so easy to do. Today I was shopping at Aldi and they had a bunch of Christmas stuff marked way down. It is the middle of birthday season here at our house. So finding cake mixes at $0.49 / box is a big help.
I also found some little plants. I love having plants in my house. Usually they run $7-12.00 per plant. In some cases more, I bought these little darlings for $1.99 each.
The bottom line remains that I went over budget. I found some great deals and I was able to stock up on a few things, but I sill went over budget.
Many people may feel that it isn’t a huge problem but if you go over budget by just $20/ month for 6 months you have managed to spend $120 outside of your budget. Within a year that adds up to $240. Now that is a good bit of money for someone that is in our position. I don’t want to waste the resources that God has given me to steward.
That being said, is there room for mistakes. Yes. We NEED to give ourselves grace. It is self defeating if you begin working on your finances and you have a month or more of going over budget it isn’t the end of the world. It needs to be taken seriously and each time you shop take steps to avoid going over budget but we need to give ourselves room to learn and grow. That means making mistakes.
A few ways I have learned to avoid going over budget:
- Carry a calculator in your hand. Add up the price of EVERYTHING that goes into your cart. Don’t try and keep a tally in your head. If you are a mom of little ones like I am it is nearly impossible to keep anything in your head for more than two minutes. Keep a calculator.
- Budget your Grocery money. For Example: You are allotted $300 for two weeks for household expenses. You already know you will need both diapers and wipes before the next paycheck, and maybe they are purchased at a different store. Take out the $300 in cash and divide the money into categories. $70.00 for diapers and wipes hidden in one part of your wallet separate from the general category. $25. 00 for the pet food that is also needed. $40.00 for forgotten last minute items. [I always forget something in my shopping. So I plan for things I forget and stick some money in my wallet hidden away from the general fund for that milk I forgot or the toilet paper I didn’t know we needed.] Now you are left with $165.00 for your generally shopping.
- Use a Budgeting app on your phone. There are several out there. I am using the app Spending Tracker for Android. It can be found on Google Play for free. I like this one because it is very simple. I add my allotted grocery budget for that two weeks, and as I spend money I record the receipt into the app. This is just used for my groceries. My husband has a different tool for our household budget.
This shopping trip, I allowed myself to linger, looking at all their sale items. [I didn’t have the kids with me so it was a luxury trip]. I did not carry my calculator with me and I tried to keep a general tally in my head. Before i was halfway through the trip I had lost track of where my spending was and I was too distracted to even care about that. It cost me.
Just like over eating, or grabbing a fast food meal blows your diet, so careless shopping can blow your budget.
If you are keeping a tally of total shopping so far: I have spent $316.49.
General: $ 87.31 **This is diapers, wipes, household
Eating Out: $ 23.53
Our main food budget for these two weeks: $215.42
We are expecting a small paycheck this next week. I am planning on a small grocery budget. I will need to plan meals carefully and use what is already in the house. Check back soon to see how things are going.