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Being on a very tight budget, we are always looking at ways to save money on stuff. We also review our budget at least once a month to make sure we are on track. And sometimes when we pull up the ol’ budget on Mint.com, I find that we are in the red in some categories (shocker, I know). It’s always a bummer when you blow the budget, but I use failure as a learning experience, and use what I learn to change our budget moving forward. But sometimes I need to go to even more extreme measures to make sure I pay attention to our budget to stop ourselves from giving in to those daily financial temptations.
Step 1: Identify Trouble Area
This is the easy part. First, look at your food budget….
And that’s it. First trouble area spotted. If you happen to be one of those freaks that only spends $300 per month for your family of 6, and you NEVER go over budget, then just close this webpage and go about your blissful existence. But for those of us in the real world who may or may not sometimes just BARELY go over our food budget, this is a great place to start.
Step 2: Find Out Why You Are Overspending
This one was easy for us, because we use Mint.com to categorize all our transactions. All we had to do was jump over to our “Food & Dining” budget and see the breakdown of where our money was going. We were just over our grocery budget, but have dropped a junk load of cash on restaurants, fast food and coffee shops. WHAAAA? And since we don’t budget much for those items, we were far in the red and really overspent this month.
So our meal planning and general grocery budget wasn’t too bad, it was just us eating out that really killed it. UGH.
Step 3: Mock Yourself Straight
Now that we figured out that eating out is killing our food budget. Figures. But now it’s time to make sure we stop wasting money on crap we don’t care about. And what better way than to completely mock ourselves for blowing the budget. So here’s a look at our new eating out category:
Now we still have a budget for this, because life gets busy. But when we blow this budget, we can accurately call ourselves lazy slobs, and realize that we need to get our crap in order and stop wasting money. Next month, we will now question our eating out decisions, especially if we’re already close to maxing out the budget. If there’s anything we’d hate to fall into, it’s laziness, and since our budget is now actively mocking us, we may be a bit more motivated to stay on target.
Other Ways to Mock Yourself and Save Hundreds
Now that we’ve knocked out the food budget, here are some other great ways to mock yourself and save hundreds per month:
You’re Not That Attractive. Let’s face it, we’re not that good looking. So dropping $400 a month on designer clothing and makeup isn’t going to fix that. Trust me, I would know… So just change your “shopping” budget to “You Can’t Fix Ugly.” It’s a gentle reminder to stop blowing money at the mall.
You Are Not A professional Designer. Craft projects, painting, DIY and more. So many house projects to do, especially since people can’t seem to cut the cable and all they want to watch is the DIY network and HGTV. Pinterest has turned every home into a magazine-worthy renovation project, except there’s not enough money for this crap. Yes, home improvements need to happen, but spending all your extra cash on it is ridiculous. Repeat after me, “My house will never be in a magazine.” Change your “home improvement” budget to “I Am Not Martha Stewart.” You can be a bit more frugal here and save a ton.
Fifi Is Not A Princess. Everyone loves their pets, especially their dogs. Dogs are great pets, and can bring a lot of joy to the family by just sitting and doing dog stuff. But dogs don’t need ridiculous pampering and friggin’ clothes! Srsly! So pass up on buying that diamond collar or gold-encrusted leash. Change your “pets” budget to “Seriously, It’s Just A Freaking Dog.” A loving reminder that dogs just want food, petting, and food. Not bling.
Your Car Will Never Be Famous. I get it. I love cars too. I will never buy new ones, but I understand car enthusiasm and wanting to have a dope ride. Heck, I used to have one back when I had a TON of money. And I know you just watched Fast and Furious 6, and want the most pimped out ride on the block. But putting Lambo doors on your Jetta is really not good for anyone. Or your budget. Your car isn’t going to end up in a magazine, so just tone it down for the sake of everything! Change your “Car Maintenance” budget to “I Drive A Freaking Sedan. I Will Never Be Vin Diesel.” A reminder to keep it to oil changes and other basic car maintenance, and to return the underglow kit your purchased. Please.
What Are Your Best Mocking Budget Categories?
I’ve named a few here to get you motivated to save some cash money, but what are some of your mocking budget categories? Share them with everyone so we can all make fun of ourselves and save a ton of CASH MONEY in the process.
34 thoughts on “How To Save Money: Mock Yourself”
Staying within our grocery budget has always been a struggle for us. I think that Greg should create a “donut” category where we only track how much he spends on donuts. Actually, I don’t want to know =/
Lawl! I’d love to see that number 🙂
Its certainly an mocking way of looking at finances and I guess, mocking birds to get killed 🙂
My most mocking categories, food and groceries…I always end up blowing that section of my budget, gadgets too!
a) Am not that fit, could do with some healthy frugal eating and some exercise
b) Who needs the latest iPhone to call their momma…lol
Hah! I’ll take B! Genius.
Totally agree with you Jacob, becoming aware of your bad habits and coming to terms with them will always help you turn your budget around!
I think having a true view of yourself and your finances is ALWAYS helpful. 🙂
I always like “You’re just not that important.” That can cover a wide variety of issues you might want to spend money on.
Kicking yourself off the high horse can have many long-lasting benefits 🙂
“You Can’t Fix Ugly” ha ha!!! That was a really great and funny post. I think for me it would be “you are going to age, so get over it!” I spend more than I should on good lotions and potions which probably do absolutely nothing. I also need to reexamine my food budget. It’s a constant source of spending too much.
Nice. That could definitely save some cash. Heck, while you’re at it, throwing showering out the window too. Water is expensive!
Wow, this mocking technique should work really well for me. Others are constantly giving me material about myself! 🙂
Lawl. Write it down. Keep it as motivation and prove them all wrong with stacks of cash!
Ha ha, that was a good laugh. Repeat after me.. my house will never be in a magazine lol. You know the grocery budget has always been our weak spot and probably will be for a long time to come since we hardly ever eat out. Budgets are always a work in progress so I take it day by day.
The food budget can make or break the month, especially for those on a tight budget. And yes, a budget is a journey, not a destination 🙂
OMG I love this concept! Great examples. I think I would let my husband choose another name for our “Electronics” savings. Travel is also pretty out of control for us.
How about “Gadgets that drain my life and my wallet”? For travel, you can always do “You still have to come back home….only poorer”.
Funny post. I think I need to change my restaurants category to “Just do the dishes already!” I already have an envelope with some cash called ‘Oh SH**! It’s the end of the month and I forgot…’ I’ve only have to use it a few times, but its been great for the things I forget about. between budget planning sessions. It also makes me think through everything I need to take care of in the month.
That’s an awesome envelope, lol. I think that might need to be a staple for everyone!
And yes, it’s funny how a few dirty dishes turns into “Wow, nothing to eat here. Need to buy some take-out…..and ice cream for later….and a chocolate bar…”
Maybe that’s just us…?
Oh, I love the idea of telling one’s self that spending hundreds of dollars on designer clothes will not make me super attractive and I am just totally wasting a whole lot of money.
Yup. It’s true. Trust me, I would know 😉
Haha, this is a pretty funny tip. Personally I like to go the other way, which is simply making sure the things we really care about are handled and not to get to up or down about spending in the other areas. But if you’ve got a recurring issue, this could definitely be a motivational way to handle it.
It’s all about motivation man. People need something to push them into smart spending. For some, they just need a slap in the face, and self-deprecation is the antidote!
I’ve been monitoring my spending for the last couple of months – I overspend to fulfill family obligations – presents, parties etc.
And then – probably the worst of all – I spend to make myself feel better.
I’m sooooooooo shallow
Think of it this way, you are spending on people that are most important to you, which is commendable. You just need to spend LESS on those people, because they are important to you, and blowing money isn’t as caring as being frugal and STILL loving them with your money.
I am not sure how I feel about this idea. Although hilarious, I would probably choose more positive labels. Maybe, “Living debt free is more attractive then that outfit” for the shopping budget. Just a thought
I think there’s always a little room for laughing at oneself. For sure, if you are depressed about your situation, don’t beat yourself up more, but get some positive motivation. This is for those of us who need a swift kick to get our frugal muscles jump started again 🙂
Yikes. I might save money in the short term by calling myself ugly, but will have to pay more long-term for the therapy 🙂
Also, I don’t need to mock myself; I blog so that my readers can mock me 🙂
I support the theory of whatever works for you! I place priority on savings and make everything else fit to my goal.
Savings before expenses and savings after expenses is the best approach, that’s for sure.
Brilliant idea! How about:
For a new SUV – I don’t know smart people think SUV drivers are dumb
For gadgets – I’m so dumb I believed the advertisement
Childrens expensive activities – I don’t play with my child
Fine Dining – I think I appreciate fine food when I am really just to lazy to cook
Grooming Products – I am now a nice smelling nerd
I think I pretty much have my spending in control but my problem is my husbands ideas. We have a one income household. He stays at home with the baby. But he wants to use all of our money for home improvements including building a fence for a dog I didn’t want, painting the whole house ( we just bought it in 2011 & it was fully remodeled at the time, and many other things I see as wasteful. He already has plans for our tax return. I planned to use it as an emergency fund since we have $0 saved. When people gave us money at our baby shower he used it to but surround sound and he wants to buy a 60 inch smart tv for his man cave. We also have $10,000 of credit card debt that I tell him needs to be paid off before we buy things we don’t need but he won’t listen.