Squeeeeeeek! That’s our budget. After a few months of comfortable expenses within the budget, we find ourselves up against budget numbers. The age-old struggle, as they say.
Aside from paying for the siding, and the paint, and the mudjacking (all of which were budgeted and covered comfortably), we’re finding it a challenge to keep within the other set budgets. We have four more days of month and we’re past our limits in some areas. Not by much, of course, but $10 here, $20 there.
How did this happen? Oh, I know exactly how! We were under budget in so many areas for a few months, we got a little too confident in our spending. My big spending was with the groceries and paper products, and that’s mostly what I do buy. It’s a case of falling prey to marketing, but it’s all on me.
At the beginning of the month, I started hitting those “savings” blogs again. You know the ones, that list every deal at the big box store, with links to coupon matchups and stacks. Every. Single. Deal! And I got sucked in. I thought I was okay, and got things that I knew we needed for the month in the way of groceries and non-groceries. I used the coupons, got the gift cards, and used them for the next purchase.
But here’s where I failed: I got caught up in doing “deals” throughout this month rather than staying focused on controlling purchases. I have to remember that when I stick with the process that has worked (for staying on budget), I stay the course and meet my goals. But when I “spend more to save more” I go over budget and don’t meet my goals. The stockpiling, that lifestyle, worked when my boys were younger, when life was busier, and when we didn’t really stick to a budget. And the lifestyle certainly works for many people — I’m certainly not knocking it generally.
Things are just different for us now. My stockpile is much smaller and is getting used. I have one less person (with an appetite of two) to feed. It’s amazing how one less household member affects dynamics. And, perhaps most impactful, I’m on a mission to really save, not spend. Save by saving, not save by spending.
While this commitment to stay within the budget is fresh for us, we are mature enough to realize there is a huge learning curve. This month’s budget is a little in the red, but overall for the year we’re doing very, very well. The picture for the coming months looks beautiful.
As long as we can squeek by this month, we will do better next month. The budget rules!