Our Stay-on-Budget Update and a Challenge for You

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September is over but our big stick-to-it budget push continues. Last month we committed to drop-kick extra spending and really follow the amounts our budget allows. Today I’ll share a little budget update on how that went and pose a challenge for us all in this new month.

Overall, September was a good month for tracking our habits, pitfalls and generally paying more attention to our budget. Also for learning to give ourselves grace when we overspend, which was often. (insert frazzled face here)

Practicing to handle money well is a process. We didn’t actually go over budget in the big scheme, but that was because one large line item was unnecessary and therefore untouched. It added ample padding that insulated the other areas with which we had trouble.

We realized that our biggest problem spots are overspending in the following:

  • Food. This family LOVES to eat. We try to meal plan according to sales, but still we repeatedly find ourselves over budget when it comes to keeping our tummies full with good, real food.
  • Books. This family loves to read. Mostly this line item represents recreational Kindle versions for Caveman, but I added a couple of books this month too.
  • Birthdays. September holds by far the highest concentration of family birthdays. We only budgeted for cards even though we ended up splurging on a couple presents besides Red’s.
  • Miscellaneous. “Impulse necessities” is also a continual mystery budget zapper. It ends up being stuff like forgetting to put batteries on the grocery list so now I’m running out to 7-11 because the camera is deaddeaddead. Or nipping out for diaper detergent and chili powder because clearly they are a match made in heaven. Ultimately our food budget suffers for oversights like these.

So looking into lovely October, we will move more into the food budget, we will adjust the card fund and maybe relabel the one “insulating” line item to Oops-I-did-it-again-Miscellaneous to help with “impulse necessities”.

Here’s my challenge to you. This month….

  1. Identify what your three biggest “repeat offenders” are for overspending the budget.
  2. Then think through if you should add more money to that item (if you are able) or identify ways to actually lessen the temptation or burden to spend.

Together, no matter what our individual budget numbers look like, let’s encourage one another to stay on track and in control of the amount of money we’ve each been given. We can do it!

Together, no matter what our individual budget numbers look like, let’s encourage one another to stay on track and in control of the amount of money with which we’ve been given.

Join the, um,… fun!?  Comment below with your top three budget “repeat offenders” and how you plan to lessen going over-budget in those areas. Oh, and happy October. 🙂




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  • Valerie Moore
    October 2, 2014

    Food. Always food. We like to eat too 🙂

    • Evelyn
      October 2, 2014

      I know! I don’t know WHY it’s so hard/ such a surprise every.single.month, haha.

  • Jayleen Zotti
    October 2, 2014

    Food, miscellaneous and gas. We pulled out food cash and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Miscellaneous will just have to be lumped in with food;0) Gas … that’s a tough one, we have to go where we have to go … I can lump errands together though and just try to stay home;0)

    • Evelyn
      October 2, 2014

      Hey Jayleen. We might need to try cash again. We did it for awhile but had trouble with it (meaning like doing a full grocery shop and then realizing we left our cash at home, etc.) I couldn’t stand that. 😉 Hahah…. but yah, however you cut it, cash and gas are hard! We generally lump misc into food too.

  • Maureen
    October 2, 2014

    Food tops our list as well! Followed by “stuff”! I did a round up of my bank statement for September and spent over $500 on stuff from Target, stuff from Home Sense, stuff from Tommy Hilfiger….you get the pattern here! Plus another $200 of cash withdraws that I have no idea where that went….I am thinking Starbucks, Timmy’s, etc. etc!
    Definitely back to doing a zero based budget!

    • Evelyn
      October 2, 2014

      Maureen, we are loving mint.com, which actually tells us where those missing dollars are going. It’s nice to have every non-cash purchase tracked and charted! 😉 Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • Jane Sasser
    October 2, 2014

    We’re old people, and it’s STILL food. 🙂 And right now the transition house is a gigantic black hole sucking money. It can’t be stopped.

    • Evelyn
      October 2, 2014

      #1: Anyone who does the Incline after only being in town for a day can not be counted as “old.”
      #2: The black hole WILL be stopped when it’s ready to move in, is a beautiful home and you’ll be able to save so much! You’ll get there. 🙂
      #3: Love you and see you soon!

  • Ellie
    October 2, 2014

    I hear you on the food thing! It’s definitely not about which store I shop at, sales, seasonal produce, etc. It’s just that we like to eat!! And entertain, frankly. Maybe that just means we need to move money from the “fun/entertainment” category into the grocery budget. Or maybe it means that the extra pounds we’re carrying are related to the extra food money we’re spending and the best diet would be to stick to the budget? 🙂

    We have been thinking through the budget a lot lately in preparation for a potential gap in employment next year… so we sold our two new cars last month! I’m SO PROUD of my husband and of us as a team. He rides his bicycle to work each day (about 5 miles) and I take the kids to school and run errands in the 12 year old subcompact car that we bought as newlyweds. Sometimes we swap and the girls and I walk to the grocery or the library. No more car payments, hooray! cheaper insurance! Family bonding in a tiny space! Greater ease of passing snacks to the back seat! More exercise for everyone! and more than $1500 back in our budget each month. 🙂

    • Evelyn
      October 3, 2014

      Haha Way to GO, Ellie! You guys are on a great track. 🙂

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