Yeah I’m already messing up and it’s only January, sigh! So my biggest hope for 2018 was to create and stick to a monthly spending plan ( cause I hate the “b” word but I’ll use it for the purpose of this post lol) but can I say ,old habits die hardddd. I overspent in some categories that weren’t planned, gotta love that Murphy. I’m including some details from the month but I will have a full January recap post next week!
So my biggest budget pain point is FOOD as you can see from this snapshot of my Mint account. I’m sure food is the biggest budget buster for a lot of people, especially for people who live in places where there aren’t too many grocery store options. And let’s face it , food is just expensive. But even with the best laid plans, it’s hard not to feel like a failure when things don’t go the way we hoped. Here’s how I am currently managing my $$ failures…
- Give yourself credit for even having a budget in the first place. We live in a heavily commercialized, spend driven society that constantly bombards us with messages to buy and consume the latest and greatest things ,as soon as possible all the time. The fact that you took the time to sit down and create a budget shows that you are willing to fight against these messages and temptations, exercise self-restraint and realize that you have bigger goals that the budget will help you reach faster. Think about what you would have spent had you not had a budget in the first place!
- Analyze what went wrong. This is definitely what I will be doing at the end of this month. Many times we have goals, write them down and even start working toward them. But oftentimes when we don’t reach the goal, we shrug our shoulders pat ourselves on the back for trying and move on to the next thing. But where is the growth in that? It’s good to really think about WHY we didn’t hit the goal. What are our triggers that lead us away from the goal? What drove the behavior to hit that fast food drive through one too many times last week? Once you identify your why, think about how to reset so that you can begin mentally shifting toward a mindset that will help you reach that goal the next time.
- Reassess your categories. Even though I am a single girl with no hubby or children yet (maybe one day soon 🙂 ) I realized that my budget may not be very realistic in certain areas , like the aforementioned food category. Some single people can live on $125 a month for food , but if you live in an expensive area like me (NY/NJ) you know food costs can sky rocket. On top of that I run , so fueling up is a must do to replace nutrients/fats that I am burning. And to be honest, I love to eat! I think it’s ok to be liberal in certain categories as long as you are meeting your overarching goals each month , like debt payoff. I’ve recently discovered Aldi, a grocery chain, and that has helped control my food spending a lot.
- Don’t give up. When we get knocked down, it’s very easy to stay down. But think about if you tripped and fell in the street. Would you lay on the sidewalk, order a pizza , call your spouse for a sleeping bag, etc….. and stay there? Sounds silly doesn’t it? So why would we do this figuratively? The best financial minds/gurus have made and still make money mistakes, so dust yourself and try again.
Well that is my two cents, I’m curious if you guys have any tips. Sound off below!