Wednesday, June 5, 2013

May Budget Fail and Resulting Thoughts.

Living with a cash budget, the end of the month can start looking a little dicey. Lance does a very good job of plotting out where our money needs to go. I do a very good job of spending our money. The problem we run into is when Lance tries to have our budget conversation with me on Sunday nights when all I want to do is watch Masterpiece Theater on PBS (I never said that I was cool folks!). This is probably why we ran into the problems we did this past month. 
While Lance does his due diligence in figuring out exactly how much money we need to allocate to savings, giving, bills, Christmas, etc. he is not good with knowing how to plan for the monthly one-off’s. Things like: a birthday gift for our niece, a birthday gift for a cousin, Mothers Day gifts, party supplies for Lu’s birthday party, etc. Those things are up to me, the one with the planner, the one with the permanent calendar etched into my brain.

Last month was a complete fail for me. While we did discuss upping our budget to allow for garden plants and garage sales, I completely forgot about two baby shower gifts, a wedding shower, paying for Lucan’s two-year-old pictures and all of those other presents. That was part was my fault. I bombed my very small part in our budget planning. With Lucan’s birthday being at the very beginning of June, I should have thought to allow for birthday party expenses. So what did we end up doing to make up the very apparent deficient?

One. We ate out of the freezer and pantry and only bought produce or fresh items that were absolutely essential. Things like whole milk for Lucan and fresh fruit. I did not allow myself to linger over pintrest finding new recipes with fun new ingredients.
Two. The produce I did buy was on sale or discounted. I like to shop at Fareway on Mondays when they discount all the close-date veggies. This is how we were able to get blueberries and cherries.
Three. I stayed out of Target and put off buying diapers until June 1. Then when I did go to Target, Lance caught me wandering through clothes and firmly scolded me. In return I sang to him “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” I guess singing “Come Thou Fount” isn’t about a gal with an insatiable shopping habit and not a valid excuse to wander through clothes when I’m supposed to be buying ONLY diapers.
Four. I did not allow myself to buy things that I knew that we had run out of but didn’t necessarily need RIGHT then. I usually keep a running grocery list of things that I’ve used that need to be replaced. In May I kept a list and didn’t replace. This can be dangerous for the following month’s budget, but hopefully we’ve planned better and have a bit more wiggle room.
Five. Of the gifts that I needed to buy still, I got lucky. I had bought a couple of them in previous months and limited overall what I did buy.
Six. I let go of some of the fun decorations I wanted for Lucan’s party. The party was still cute and nice, just in a more minimal fashion.
Seven. I made a little extra money this past month with blogging and surveys and applied the overage to the budget. This funded a good portion of Lucan’s party. Thankfully.
Eight. I think we’ve had one of the rainiest Mays in history. Our garden is only about a quarter planted and the plants we have planted have been gifted to us or are leftover from last year (case in point: onions. There’s basically a full row that we forgot to pull that are coming up very nicely!) We’ll still have this expense in June, but for now it helped the May budget.
Because of all these cuts, we only had to dip into $20 of our monthly blow money. Mid-May budget check-in looked pretty grim, but we managed to still be okay. Looking forward to June, we only have Fathers Day gifts to purchase and one other weekend that we’re traveling. Hopefully we won’t be in such dire straights at the end of June because we’re headed to Michigan for five days.

1 comment:

*carrie* said...

Thanks for sharing this honest update, Kara. Despite my constant strategizing, our May food spending was over--like the third month in a row where that was the case. Eric and I decided to up our budget slightly as I'm not sure what else I can do at this point to lower the amount we're spending in that category.

That's awesome your Fareway discounts produce. Ours is limited--and random!