Do you have trouble sticking to a budget? I have to admit that I have failed at this lately. There are days – and even weeks or months – that I just simply do not have the stamina to put much effort into working within our budget. Working full time and running a household can be a difficult task and often times I am so weary from everything that I need to get done.
Sadly though, I have seen my family pay the price for my lack of following our budget. Here are just a few things I have learned since not sticking with our budget:
- We spend more. A LOT more!
We recently sat down to go over our budget and realized that we were overspending on groceries by almost $100 a month. That is WAY off budget! Realizing this caused some guilt on my part since I not only evaluate our monthly budget, but I also do all of the grocery shopping.
- When one category overspends another category suffers
Why is it such a big deal that we were not sticking to our budget? By spending $100 extra every month we were adding $1200 per year to our grocery budget. That extra money has to come from another category in order balance out our budgeted goals.
After learning how much we were overspending, we sat down and took a hard look at our budget and found two main reasons for the increase:
We recently started aiming towards a more healthy lifestyle. This includes eating less processed foods, adding more fruit and veggies into our diet, and cooking more from scratch. When it really came down to it, we added about $25-$30 weekly by purchasing all of our fruit and veggies.
We did not have a plan. I have not been in the coupon game recently which increased our grocery budget, but yet we did not account for this, leaving our grocery budget where it has been for the past 5 years. We also were not shopping with a plan in mind, but rather just throwing random items into our buggy and hoping we had what we needed for meals that week.
Once we identified the problem, we went to work on correcting it so that we will avoid this issue going forward. In order to follow a budget that works for us, we have outlined a new strategy to help us not overspend:
- Menu Planning
- Shopping with Cash
- Making a list and sticking to it while at the store
- Check for Printable Coupons and eCoupons prior to shopping
To be completely honest, we did add $10 per week to our grocery budget so that we can maintain our healthier lifestyle. This gives us room to breathe without busting the budget and challenges us to work on getting back into shopping the sales with coupons for items that we need.
Staying within a budget seems to be a constant struggle, but it is possible with a little time and effort — and teamwork! We are always on the look out for new ways to save money and stick to a budget because we are firm believers in telling our money where to go instead of wandering where it went!!