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Old 09-26-2013, 01:05 PM   #11
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

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What is your biggest weakness? Eating out, clothes, toys for kids, snacks at convenience stores?
Yes.....

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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!
Yes, it sounds like this is what I need to do.

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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
I do the same thing with produce and I feel that we probably do need to up our grocery budget. We don't eat out much at all but I buy an insane amount of groceries it seems like.

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Whats your budget like? i like doing it by oercentages
We make sure the bills are all paid, groceries are bought, gas money is put up then the rest kind of just flies out the window.

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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.
We could probably put 1k in savings a month if I was completely honest with myself.

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Do you have a realistic budget set?

Have you tried using envelopes of cash for your variable spending?
I have tried but I don't think we did it long enough. Probably need to get back to this again.

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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.
I used to follow Dave Ramsey but we never stuck with it for very long. My dh was not on board and not sure if he would be now. It is very hard to do when just one is doing it alone.

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Old 09-26-2013, 07:22 PM   #12
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

Maggie - 2013 version of June Cleaver and proud of it!
I am a recovering Cherry Coke addict, have an opinion on just about everything and live in a house full of boys

I am going to totally hijack this thread to ask how you kicked your cherry coke habit. I have never been able too I don't drink coffee I no longer smoke I have no other vices (except maybe my bpal) and I NEEEEEEEED to know how you quit!!
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:46 PM   #13
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

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Maggie - 2013 version of June Cleaver and proud of it!
I am a recovering Cherry Coke addict, have an opinion on just about everything and live in a house full of boys

I am going to totally hijack this thread to ask how you kicked your cherry coke habit. I have never been able too I don't drink coffee I no longer smoke I have no other vices (except maybe my bpal) and I NEEEEEEEED to know how you quit!!
PM'd ya

And OP it sounds like you just need to track it for a month - really SEE where its going (clothing, eating out, etc) and see how much you are spending in those areas and then decide if you really WANT to spend that much. Go from there
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:04 AM   #14
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

Ok I am to track for the next month and see for sure what we are spending on what. Hopefully I can then accurately make a budget that we can follow and put a little more in savings each month.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:00 PM   #15
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

Ok, today I spent $4.64 for coffee and fruit cup at breakfast, $7.95 for salad and water for lunch and $118 for jeans for the kids. I know where my money is going.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:08 PM   #16
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I pay for everything by debit, so it is really easy to look back and see where it all went. I also look at my grocery receipt to see what the big ticket items are and if they are necessities. Re-evaluate to see if your budget is realistic and accounts for everything and adjust accordingly if not. Don't set yourself up to fail by not allowing enough. but if you increase in one area you might have to decrease in another.

It sounds like you need a little bit of fun money every month if you can afford it. Decide what is reasonable, maybe take that much out in cash and when it's gone it's gone.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:25 PM   #17
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

I made a change a couple years ago because I noticed we had lots of little amounts on our debit each month that add up to be a lot. I started getting out cash every 3 weeks for me and dh. That is all we are allowed to spend on anything that isn't bills. Then I get cash once a week for groceries only and don't ever use our cards except gas for my car. Then I know we are staying in budget. It is really hard for dh but he is trying
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:30 PM   #18
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

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I pay for everything by debit, so it is really easy to look back and see where it all went. I also look at my grocery receipt to see what the big ticket items are and if they are necessities. Re-evaluate to see if your budget is realistic and accounts for everything and adjust accordingly if not. Don't set yourself up to fail by not allowing enough. but if you increase in one area you might have to decrease in another.

It sounds like you need a little bit of fun money every month if you can afford it. Decide what is reasonable, maybe take that much out in cash and when it's gone it's gone.
Yes this is what I need to do. I am positive I need to increase our grocery budget and also to allow us some fun money and then stop when it is gone.

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I made a change a couple years ago because I noticed we had lots of little amounts on our debit each month that add up to be a lot. I started getting out cash every 3 weeks for me and dh. That is all we are allowed to spend on anything that isn't bills. Then I get cash once a week for groceries only and don't ever use our cards except gas for my car. Then I know we are staying in budget. It is really hard for dh but he is trying
I can do this better than dh. I will talk to him tonight about doing this again.

Also wanted to add that I normally do not spend that amount daily on food out. Fridays I let myself buy out lunch and usually will eat breakfast at home and take coffee from home. We are out of coffee filters and the fruit looked good when I stopped for coffee so I bought it.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:59 PM   #19
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Re: Need to be more mindful of spending

Increasing our grocery budget has helped me a lot. I would blow through the grocery budget, feel like we have no food, borrow from other envelopes, and then just decide screw it and blow the whole budget on eating out and then steal from savings because I may as well continue my spending spree. I previously had the grocery budget closer to some of the numbers I see around here, but that's far less than we "need" (definitely not a need, but you know...) to spend. It took awhile to realize I need some convenience foods to keep from eating out (as good as my intentions are, I dislike cooking a lot of things from scratch), DH is a grown man and deserves to fuel his ice cream addiction if that's what he wants to do (lol), we'll end up grabbing fast food if we don't have convenient snacks to grab and go when we're getting ready to go out for the day, and if I want DH to pack his lunch instead of buying out, we have to have easy yummy things on hand for him to take. So the number had to go up. Made a huge difference and stopped the downward spiral we had been experiencing for months.
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:27 PM   #20
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Increasing our grocery budget has helped me a lot. I would blow through the grocery budget, feel like we have no food, borrow from other envelopes, and then just decide screw it and blow the whole budget on eating out and then steal from savings because I may as well continue my spending spree. I previously had the grocery budget closer to some of the numbers I see around here, but that's far less than we "need" (definitely not a need, but you know...) to spend. It took awhile to realize I need some convenience foods to keep from eating out (as good as my intentions are, I dislike cooking a lot of things from scratch), DH is a grown man and deserves to fuel his ice cream addiction if that's what he wants to do (lol), we'll end up grabbing fast food if we don't have convenient snacks to grab and go when we're getting ready to go out for the day, and if I want DH to pack his lunch instead of buying out, we have to have easy yummy things on hand for him to take. So the number had to go up. Made a huge difference and stopped the downward spiral we had been experiencing for months.
I believe this is where we are right now.
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