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It’s time for another episode of Budget Confessions, the show where I publicly acknowledge that I haven’t even been taking my own advice and display what a mess it creates. In my first budget confessions post, I talked about how we’d been blowing the food budget (like, friggin’ doubling it!), how our backyard budget was blowing up like a balloon, and how I had removed my sinking funds this year because we don’t make enough money to pay our bills. I posted an action item for each confession to get myself back on track so I stopped blowing the budget. Let’s see how I did:
Food: Welp, we signed up for eMeals (<- affiliate link) to help get us on track. We’ve been on it for about 4 months now, and looking at the budget, it seems to be helping. BUT (of course there’s a but), now that we have our grocery budget in line, we’ve started to blow money eating out too much. DOH! So, we’ve cut our grocery bill way down, but transferred the extra few hundred dollars to the local (and not-so-local) food scenes. We’ve done a bit of traveling as of late, so that does account for some of the increase for sure.
Backyard Project: We have finished purchasing materials for the project, and it seems that we’ve done pretty darn well! After the neighbors paid us their halves of the fence (about $600), we returned all the extra materials and got another $1,000 back! This put us under our goal of spending $4,000 by a decent amount, though I haven’t come up with exact totals yet! WOOHOO! We are holding off on major landscaping until next year, but we will definitely set a budget before spending a dime this time.
Savings Buckets: ….what? Oh, savings buckets…..ummmmm…..see below.
Confession: I did not implement savings buckets back in July when I said I would.
Action: Michelle and I sat down on Monday to go over our budget, because everything just felt out of whack. Part of it is that we are sharing a cell phone bill with other parts of our family, and I just had not done the calculations to figure out how much people owe us. It was a bit complicated but we figured that out. But the most unnerving thing was not having our savings buckets in place. We removed them because we didn’t have any room in the monthly budget for them, but we realized we were spending the money anyway without a set limit, which caused us to overspend. Here are the categories we re-implemented:
- Our Bdays/Vday/Anniversary
- Beauty (quarterly hair and beauty budget for Michelle)
- Clothing for the little guy (he grows so fast!)
We felt much, much better after putting these on paper, knowing we would spending the money anyway. Sure, it makes our budget look bad as for as monthly expenses go, but we feel better knowing these categories are accounted for and there’s a set limit to them
Confession: We’re going on vacation, even though I don’t even make enough money to cover the bills.
Action: Well, we’re not cancelling it, but we are being VERY frugal about it. We might not have done this vacation, but it’s for a family wedding, so we just had to figure out how to do it EXTREMELY cheap. But then we tacked on a 4 day cruise to the end of it! Lol. So, here’s the breakdown:
Flight: FREE (Rewards miles and family standby flight, WOOHOO!!)
Hotel for first 2 days: $25 a night = $50
Cruise: $600, includes all meals and drinks (non-alcoholic)
Food for 2 days and Disneyworld: $100
Ok, so it may not be cheap by everyone’s standards, but flying across the country, staying a few days for a wedding, Disneyworld for a day and then hopping a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas…all for under $1,000, I think that’s a steal! I’ll be sure to update how everything goes.
And just to be clear, we pretty much break even at the end of the year as far as income/bills go, and we have 6 months’ savings in our ING account. Most of it is an Emergency Fund, and we have set aside $1,000 this year for vacation.
Now That Felt Good
Confession feels great, and what’s even better is doing something about it. I honestly think that confession without action is pretty worthless. Sure, it feels good at the time, but without an action plan, you will keep doing the same old thing that digs you deeper into the hole you’ve gotten yourself in to. This is how budgets work. You set yourself goals and make a plan to achieve them. This may require a change in spending habits that take a while to implement, but talking about the failures and making an action plan to get back on track is the best way to deal with blowing the budget.
Comments: Ok, time to get real. What are you budget confessions as of late? What are some spending habits that you wish you could change to stop blowing money? Or, for those of you who don’t’ have a budget and don’t really care, do you have any financial goals you are working toward? Does not having a budget help you achieve those goals? Just wondering….?