Tuesday, September 23, 2008

keeping an eye on the budget

My goal for this month was to simply keep an eye on my budget. I have set aside $300 for groceries and really I have no clue why. I remember when I first started reading other peoples goals that they spent wayyy less on groceries than I did and I only have 2 people living full time in my home. My son lives here every other weekend sometimes more than that.. plus my nephews do spend some time here.. but I had my Aldi bill down to $40 one week and that covered all my basic necessities AND THAT WAS BEFORE I started couponing. Since then I've gotten things much lower, plus combine that with my stockpiling, I could spend farrr less if I needed to.

So I just checked out my balance on what I've spent so far this month and I'm sitting at $131.40 and that includes any Walgreens or CVS runs. So if I had my budget at $40 a week or $160 a month I would have $28.60 to last me until October. This Friday I have some double dip WAGS deals I want to get in on, but I don't think I'll have to spend much OOP. I still have about $12.50 left on the gift card and $4.50 RR that I can use.

I do have about 15 $1 cat litter coupons I had wanted to use that expire on the 29th however I went on coupon clippers and found that more had come out. I knew that I was missing a part of my coupons one week because I saw my brand of cat litter advertised but didn't see one coupon. I ordered the max of 10 of them, that was all they were allowing. The expire in December which is fine with me because I'll probably be running low around that time and I can cash in on those 10 in one trip instead of my 4 at a time I've been buying since I bought a big 'ol stack of them a month or so ago.

Okay so taking $15 out of my $28 left leaves me with what $13. I don't need much else. I do need cat litter powder but I can use good ol baking soda. I also need Parmesean cheese but that isn't going to cost me $10.. so I think I look good for this month coming in under that $180.

On the downside I've started counting going out to eat as entertainment. My entertainment budget was at $50. We didn't go to any movies or go bowling and I've only used my redbox free codes to rent movies.. so that $50 has gone towards eating out. I know just this week we spent $46 at Olive Garden and $15 at our favorite Hot Dog place for a quick dinner. Just this week I'm over by $11.. hmmmm

so my question is.. how did you decide on how much to budget for each catagory? How do you make sure you stay on track?

5 comments:

Jennifer said...

Well, the job itself is not the problem. We have new management in our Surgery dept and they are "making changes". My original shift was 9pm-7am 4 night a week. My daughter is diabetic & also has seizures. Since my husband has to leave at 5:30am to go to work, my mother in law was watching the kids in the mornings. Long story short, my moth in law wasn't really caring for her properly as far as her diet & insulin & so on. Plus it was really wearing on her getting up so early. So back in February my supervisor allowed me to start leaving at 5am and someone else comes in at 5am to relieve me. Well, now the new management told us that we wont be able to do that anymore. They are going to let me know in a couple of weeks what will happen. I've decided that I will quit if they take my shift away. We have a truck we are going to try & sell to pay off some stuff so I can maybe stay home. We'll see.
I'm thinking about setting my food budget to $75/week. I'm going to try it in October.

Cassie said...

When I first started making budgets (not long ago.. maybe a few months?), I first tracked every single penny that I spent (and earned) for a month. At the end of the month I added everything up and made categories and then decided what I could cut and what I could lower. Groceries was one of them and so were some others. I try to stay under $200 for groceries (our budget is $160 but sometimes we run out of everything at once like the expensive stuff - cheese, baking supplies, etc.) and that usually works out fairly well for us. Of course that is for 2 people, 2 huge dogs and 3 cats - food, toiletries, household supplies, pet food and supplies.

Queen of the Urban Jungle said...

we did what cassie did....make a super detailed list of what we spend money on. we decided the current entertainment (movies, out to dinner, take-out...anything we don't need to do but do b/c we want to) budget was too high and made it way lower, but that wasn't enough and we were stir crazy, so we met in the middle. i did a detailed post about it in june if you're interested in the exact numbers ("how we save money")

~beth

Myssie said...

I recently found your blog through Queen of the Urban Jungle, you are doing a great job with your saving!! I am jealous of some of your coupon finds!!

We have a budget and have been sticking to it for 2.5 years now. We do the envelope system. We make out the budget and then put the amount for each catagory in an envelope. We keep track by counting the money that we have left. We only have 4 envelopes that we use each month: gas, groceries, eating out and blow money.

We decided on the amounts by doing what others have said, tracking our spending to the penny for a month. You will find that in the first few months it will be really hard to stick to the budget and you will have to tweek the amounts until you find what works for you and your family.

Good luck and thank you for your blog!

Precious said...

Melissa,

I keep track of very penny we spend. Since I have been doing ti for years, I pretty much know what we spend on what categories. Eating out is in our monthly entertainment budget. We budget $150. for the month. Some months we use it all, others we don't and I just keep a rolling balance. One of the ways I make it stretch is to buy restaurant giftcards 1/2 off through one of our radio stations here. I also get Free Giftcards through My Points for looking at e-mails and shopping through their site.