Random Ramblings: Are You Spending Within Your Budget?

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Today’s payday at our house. Know what that means?  Time to budget for the next two weeks!  While we follow Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Program for the most part, we do not use cash for every single purchase. Here are the items that we do try to use cash for:

 

  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Miscellaneous Expenses (i.e. birthday party gifts, teacher gifts, field trips, etc.)

 

The rest of our money stays budgeted on a very detailed spreadsheet.  (Can you tell my hubby’s an engineer?) This helps us plan for future expenses as well as manage our monthly budget.

 

 

That all sounds really good, right? (And maybe like we even know what we’re doing . . . ?)  However, these last few weeks of school have been a little crazy (with teacher’s gifts and school parties and way too much moo-lah spent on hot dogs at the ball park!)  Which means . . . . I’ve done a poor job of keeping track of our expenses.  While I think I’ve spent only about $50 beyond my budgeted expenses on my debit card, I can see how my lack of discipline has led me to slowly just hand over the debit card for purchases that aren’t necessary.  (Arghhhhhhh!)

 

So, since it’s a new day at our house, I’m hoping to get back on track, especially as summer is here and it’s very easy to overspend!  If you’re new to couponing (or budgeting!), this is a great time to determine where you want your money to be spent in your home. For our family, it’s not just about penny pinching, it’s about choosing how we want to spend our money.  (We’d rather enjoy a family vacation than spend too much on groceries!)

 

 

How does your family’s budget look right now?  Are you staying on track and within budget, or feeling overwhelmed with all of it right now?  (Free free to comment anonymously if you’d like!) Wherever you’re at in your finances, please be encouraged that everyone starts somewhere, and after years of steady penny pinching I promise that it really does pay off. . . so determine your goals and know that you can reach them!

 

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19


Read more ideas for planning your grocery budget over HERE.


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Comments

  1. Cassie says:

    I love the “Can you tell my husband’s an engineer.” I’ve been looking into Financial Peace for me and my husband. I’d really like to start living within our means….we’re not over our heads, but I’d like to do more than just tread water. Thank you for this information and all that you do!

    • Laurie says:

      I so understand Cassie! I think it’s only been over the last few years (probably since using coupons!) that we’ve really come to a place where we have “financial peace.” Like you, we weren’t strapped before, but we weren’t getting ahead, and that feels so stinkin’ good! It also motivates me to reign things in when I realize I’m overspending – because whether things are tight or not, I always want to be a good steward of what God has entrusted us with. Whether you take the class, or read the book, or even just make a budget, it really does help to plan ahead of time where your money is going. Good luck!

  2. Kendra says:

    Wow, this just really convicted me. While we follow a plan, I am the spender. My husband is the nerd. Since I make most of the household purchases it falls to me to be grown up and not spend too much. My how I have been letting my family down :( This reminds me to focus again and realize that I need to constantly have our goals in mind and not always do what is easiest. Thanks Laurie!

    • Laurie says:

      Kendra – we all feel that way – I went to Target last week and knew I was in trouble! I just want to keep my long term goals in mind, so that the short term stuff doesn’t get away from me. And if I really want something new (like the very cute patio furniture cushions that I BOUGHT while at Target), then I need to be extra careful on my groceries that week! That’s why saving money on groceries makes me so happy – I do want to (within reason) enjoy some of the more “fun” things too! Hang in there Kendra!!! :)

  3. Pam says:

    We have been doing Financial Peace for a year now and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. We use cash for everything! We have managed to stay on track until the tornados hit and we used our emergency fund!

    Out of curiosity, what do you allocate for food every month for your budget? If you don’t mind me asking….I keep wondering if I am using “too much”!

    • Laurie says:

      I almost posted that Pam – I try to stick to $60 a week for our family of five for groceries (and usually spend less.) One thing that we do is usually lump all that money together – so if I overspend on eating out, I have less to use on groceries. This paycheck I’m going to try to separate it so that I’m SURE that I’m spending that for groceries.

      Any “extra” money that’s left over is my fun money to play with (which definitely keeps watching how much we spend at the grocery store and eating out!) It also helps if we want to have a date night to have a little extra fun money to use (not that we ever seem to actually DO that these days!) :)

      Great job on doing Financial Peace, and what a blessing to not be stressed during the storms (thank goodness you had your emergency fund!) I really am so thankful to have some money put away so that when those crises arise our stomach isn’t covered up in anxiety (that’s just the worst feeling ever!) Thanks so much for sharing that it’s working for you!

  4. Tonda says:

    We were fortunate enough to pay off our mortgage last year. This enabled my husband to take a job with a lower salary (working from home, so we save on gas), and me to quit working and go to school full time (online, so we’re still saving on gas).
    Dave Ramsey is GREAT, and I’m glad that he has such a widespread audience and is able to help so many people!
    I actually only got into couponing within the last few months and my husband and I are amazed at how much it helps. We have lowered our grocery budget from what it was, and I am pretty sure that I’m coming in under budget this month. Woohoo! Spending less on groceries (and having so many coupons around) enables us to actually have a “Donations” category in our budget (in addition to “Tithes”). So, we actually set aside money to buy items to donate, and I look for sales/specials/coupons to make the most of it!
    We saved 50% on grocery shopping this month; my husband actually told me yesterday to quit buying food, because our pantry is full. lol We just can”t believe how much coupons have helped and we wonder how much more money we would have saved up if we had started couponing before now.
    Thanks for hosting your page, and helping everyone with budgets, coupons, etc! :D

    • Laurie says:

      Your comment made me smile Tonda – what a blessing! While we’ve always been frugal, our budget has become so much less tight through coupons as well (isn’t it amazing?) I love that you’re able to donate AND save – and my family keeps telling me to stop buying food as well. :) So happy for you!!!

  5. Dawn says:

    My budget has taken such a huge hit lately! With the tornadoes, wedding planning and being the end of the school year I’m not sure where my money went! I think my biggest mistake was not taking out the separate checking account for the wedding! I have told my family that once the honeymoon is over life is going to be very different around here!! (Wedding is in 22 days!)

    • Laurie says:

      That is a HUGE amount of stress on your budget, Dawn! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding . . . I bet the next 3 weeks will be nuts for you; if you coupon at all you’ll be doing fabulous! ;)

  6. Angela says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing. I’m also glad Pam asked you what your weekly budget was and so glad you answered. We started couponing last week and so far I’ve actually spent more than my budgeted amount due to having fun buying all these great deals. I learned my lesson and I’m definitely going to be more careful next week and beyond.

    That being said, here’s the part I can’t figure out and could really use some help – from what I’ve found online it appears that most families who are couponing budget about $150 to $300 a month on groceries and I’m assuming that includes things like deoderant, toilet paper etc. I can’t for the life of me figure out how everyone is spending so little and getting a full month’s groceries. We spend almost our mortgage in groceries and I’m struggling to figure out how to lower it… any suggestions or any links to sites that have a month’s worth of weekly menus that stay $300 or less????

    All feedback is greatly appreciated!!!!
    Struggling to make grocery ends meet,
    Angela

    • Laurie says:

      Hi Angela! There’s a lot that goes into it – we are able to stick to our budget for several reasons. . . I try to get toiletries close to free (rarely pay more than $.50 for deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.), and also try to be pretty creative with our meal planning. We eat lots of cheap chicken and sometimes pork (not so much beef), and I’m a little obsessed with how to do things as cheaply as possible. As far as menu planning, you can check my menus out over here, but we also probably cook 2-3 meals early in the week, and then do leftovers or sandwiches during the rest of the week (which saves quite a bit!) Here are a few posts you may want to check out – What’s a Good Price and How to Really Change Your Grocery Budget.

      One more thing – it definitely depends on where you shop! While this is pretty easy to accomplish with my local Publix, I’m not sure that it would be as easy at other grocery stores. So, set a realistic goal for your family and even if you just save $100 over the course of a month, that’s TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS in a year! Let me know if you have any other questions! :)

  7. lolly says:

    For me it’s about staying within reason, but still getting the things we want. There are several things that we like to buy organic, and without all your helpful advice and teachings, we could not afford to pay regular prices AND have the organics. Now I save so much on everything except for the milk, and fresh produce, (we don’t eat a lot of meats) that we can have those things in our budget with no problem. Before, I struggled with giant grocery bills, and now we get everything we want, within a very practical budget. I owe you a lot for all your help!

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