My budget is all out of whack this month. I just didn’t do a good job of predicting my spending categories. I’m still using (and still loving) YNAB, and when I budget for the upcoming month, in many categories, I frequently use the same budget numbers without giving real thought to what’s going on that month. In some cases this makes sense – my cable bill doesn’t change, and my cell phone bill is always right around the same amount. Additionally, I sock away a set amount for vacation and gifts to be used in the future.
I’m pretty good about guesstimating my cash use. If I’m traveling, I plan to need more cash that month. Additionally, now that the farmer’s markets are open, I’m spending more cash. (Of course, this should mean that I put less money into my grocery budget, but that doesn’t seem to be how it’s working.)
This month, I barely touched my dining out budget. I ate out once, and that was to grab something small the night that the power went out in my building. Yes, I could have still eaten at home, but seeing as there was a smoking power transformer visible from my window, I wasn’t sure how long the power would be out and therefore, didn’t want to risk opening the fridge.
Of course, the converse to that is that my grocery budget is an absolute disaster. I spent nearly $100 more than I had budgeted for. What happened to the plan of perusing ads and using coupons, you ask? Well, that plan went into effect, that’s what happened. I spent way more than I planned to, but I also have much more food in the house than I did last month. I bought a lot of things that I use regularly while they were on sale and won’t need to buy again for a few weeks. The theory is to stock up when things are on sale and ultimately save money, but I’m not really seeing that in the budget yet.
Plus it’s nice to know that during next week’s grocery trip, the only things I will really need to buy (I use the word “need” very loosely) are fresh fruits and veggies, most of which can be picked up at the farmer’s market.
I’m sure that part of the problem is that I struggled to stick to this particular grocery budget six months ago, and that was before the increase in food prices. So it’s entirely possible that my grocery budget is just a little too ambitious.
For July, I’m going to attempt to keep my spending as tight as possible. I’m not sure how well that’s going to go, seeing as I have family and friends coming to stay with me for a few days, and as they have always taken me in and made sure I had whatever I wanted to eat and drink, I feel the need to repay the favor. But I’m going to try.
Abundant Life Spending Spree Day 3 – $100
With a spare $100 to spend, I think I would take a friend or two out for dinner. It’s nice to be able to treat others from time to time.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.