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Old 09-25-2013, 03:00 PM   #1
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Need to be more mindful of spending

I feel like I am a fairly thrifty person but I think I have myself fooled. We make more than what has to go out, but the extra spending kills us. We have some in savings but I still feel like we live paycheck to paycheck because our spending money is gone and we have to pull some from savings a couple days before each payday. Not sure if this is just a vent or asking for advice but anything is welcome. I have all of our bills, groceries, gas,etc budgeted for but the other categories is where I fail. If someone would be willing to look at our budget and help me figure out good amounts for those other areas I would so much appreciate it.
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

You need to know what you are spending it on or you cannot 1. correct the spending behavior or 2. adjust your budget to accurately reflect your needs.

I think often we strive to stick to a strict budget but when we know there is more to spend it can be easy to just pick up a thing here or there which might be needed, but not immediately kwim? I also think sometimes people pick a number they "feel" or "think" is reasonable when in actuality they are spending more consistently because their chosen number is unrealistic.

If you don't know what you are spending it on then track it - but if i understand your correctly you are spending all of your paychecks plus pulling out of savings..... which means eventually there will be no savings so something has to change
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:21 PM   #3
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

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You need to know what you are spending it on or you cannot 1. correct the spending behavior or 2. adjust your budget to accurately reflect your needs.

I think often we strive to stick to a strict budget but when we know there is more to spend it can be easy to just pick up a thing here or there which might be needed, but not immediately kwim? I also think sometimes people pick a number they "feel" or "think" is reasonable when in actuality they are spending more consistently because their chosen number is unrealistic.

If you don't know what you are spending it on then track it - but if i understand your correctly you are spending all of your paychecks plus pulling out of savings..... which means eventually there will be no savings so something has to change
Yes to all of the above. We do have to pull from savings but we put more in than we pull out if that makes sense. We save $100 per paycheck and then will pull $20-$30 out before the next payday which still leaves more than we started but not as much as intended or needs to be there. We seem to do so well for months and then I think we get to lax and we will have months of tight budgets like we are now. It is sometimes hard for me to see the big picture and to budget for the year as unexpected/seasonal things arise.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:57 PM   #4
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

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We seem to do so well for months and then I think we get to lax and we will have months of tight budgets like we are now. It is sometimes hard for me to see the big picture and to budget for the year as unexpected/seasonal things arise.
This is very typical of how our budget works. I feel like we have a couple of really good months with lots of savings and then a couple months were we don't do so hot.

What has helped us is I sat down and really looked at what we spent our money on and then I started planning for those expenses. So, for instance, the holiday months (November and December) and then January when credit came due typically were awful. So, I set up a game plan to help keep it more realistic. I save money the entire year (separate savings acct. money is automatically moved) so that way we never feel "pinched" during that time. I also discovered that fall and spring tends to be when I do a lot of clothes shopping, so I set up a fund for that as well Basically, dh and I have a bunch of savings accts set up with our bank (they are free) just for that purpose. Like I said, it isn't perfect, but it really helps take some of the stress and angst away. Plus, it helps me focus on the dollar amount I have to spend.

For me, the budget didn't get blown because I stopped at starbucks on occasion or brought home take out for dinner. I found it was more about timing. Some parts of the year just takes more money than other parts.

I hope this helps!
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:14 PM   #5
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

So if you are spending it on stuff you need (eg no milk and eggs so you run to pick it up) then you need to just adjust your budgeting to reflect your true needs - so save $75 per paycheck so that you have $50 more at the end of the month than you previously did, and you aren't dipping into savings either.

If you are spending on slurpees and cute clearance clothes for the kids that aren't NEEDED but super duper cute so you indulged then decide if you are OK with saving less for those things or stop doing it so you can save the full amount.

I think either decision is FINE.... truly. I think sometimes i get into the mindset to save save save, thrift thrift thrift that when i run out of apples because the boys decided to eat 3 (one each) for a snack instead of the other planned snack i had and that means i have to go spend an extra $10 on produce that it is NOT okay - when really, its fine. As long as you are living withing your means and saving for a rainy day and meeting your other financial goals its OK to sometimes lessen that thrifty grip
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:24 PM   #6
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

What is your biggest weakness? Eating out, clothes, toys for kids, snacks at convenience stores?
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:24 PM   #7
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Whats your budget like? i like doing it by oercentages
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:58 AM   #8
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

I'm in a similar boat. We are putting in 1k+ in savings a month and the potential to do even more comfortably, but we end up spending it on "stuff" but have nothing to show for it. I know what I need to do, but it's hard to make that step.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:40 AM   #9
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

Do you have a realistic budget set?

Have you tried using envelopes of cash for your variable spending?
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

I'm learning a lot in the Dave Ramsey thread on how to get more specific with a budget. In the past I have tracked my spending daily for a month to see where the money went. THis gave some good perspective. I know others who have done this and realized they were spending over $60/month on coffee so got a coffeemaker instead. It may help to track it. When I sit down to do my budget in the mext month I am going to try to create categories and use an envelope-like system. I know I spend about $25 per person for b-days in my family. So, with 10 nieces and nephews that's $250/yr. Divide that by 52 weeks and that's $4.80 per paycheck for me or $20.80 each month to set aside. I like the idea of having that set aside so I don't feel like I'm taking from everyday $ for gifts.
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