Officially, we’ve gone over our $750 budget. Way over.
It’s been a combination of things, but the blame squarely lays on my shoulders. Meal planning has been tough with all the other obligations I have lately, and we don’t have a lot of pantry stock to draw on.
Most people have a kitchen cupboard or pantry full of food they tried and didn’t like, and can spend a good few weeks eating from their pantry. Our kitchen has no pantry and is not set up in a way to allow a ton of storage.
Learn more: Save $1,000s With Meal Planning
There are also 2 categories that aren’t included in our no spend budget. Birthday spending, and our vet bills. They are paid for with our budget busters savings. Our budget busters account is linked directly to our checking account for easy access. It is savings that is saved for several weeks, and usually spent within a month or two. I use it for things like vet bills, birthdays, car repairs, etc. I’m trying to maintain $500 in that account, but after 2 months have been unsuccessful. We seem to always have something or another thing that isn’t part of our regular monthly budget!
Without further ado:
- Spending up to 7/16: $554.31
- Spending from 7/16-7/27: $543.04
- TOTAL FOR MONTH OF JULY: $1,097.35
The next 4 days will be no spend days for sure!
Learn more: How To Start A No Spend Month
Here’s the spending breakdown:
- Groceries: $249.88 (this is more than 2 weeks worth)
- Gas: $112.55 (extra gas expenses came from camping, a long trip to visit friends, and my working more)
- Haircut: $20
- Allowances: $25 (for the kids)
- Game: $10
- Eating Out: $62.17
- Birthday gifts: $35 (for the kid’s friends, my “birthday box” was empty)
- Clothing: $25.44 (bathing suits)
- Fees: $3 (ATM fee)
Where did we go wrong?
Using debit, not cash: If we had used cash it would have been easier to see what we had and I think it would have forced us to be more frugal.
Eating Out: Meal planning is the key to less grocery/eating out spending. We could have easily saved $300 here.
Budgeting for Extras: We spent more than I expected on misc. things. Birthday gifts for 2 friends, a haircut, the odd ATM fee, it all added up and FAST.
Learn more: How To Not Go Overboard On Birthday Parties
Planning Fun Activities: When frugality and penny pinching works best for us is when we have lots of stuff to do. Staying at home a ton made the kids extraordinarily cranky. I wish I had planned our week better so we would have had a good combination of playing elsewhere and being home.
Learn more: 47 Free Or Frugal Activities For Kids
I don’t consider this month a failure. No Spend Months are about learning where your hot button issues are and fixing them. I can easily see when I look at our spending for the last month that we failed the no spend month because we didn’t plan ahead. I plan to spend a few hours today planning out our meals and activities for the next 2 weeks leading up to our vacation.
We’ll try again in September. Some people do it once a year, but for us it makes more sense to try this on an ongoing basis, to keep our spending in check. While I don’t necessarily think buying lattes will make you broke, I’m all for the idea of balance. I’ll never be able to fully drop consumerism from my life, but I can be more conscious about the choices I’m making, and this month proved I’m not being as conscious as I want to be.