Spoiler alert, y’all, it was not a good month in the Hooper household, budget-wise. I was having trouble keeping track of our expenses via Mint because my Target card hadn’t synced for over a month (it was an issue for all Target REDcard users on Mint). When everything finally synced up, we were about halfway through the month, and we had already gone over budget in one expense category. I think I just felt completely hopeless so I stopped paying attention to our spending in this category for the remainder of the month. Obviously this is not the way to go, so I knew this month’s budget review was going to be painful. When you struggle with any issue in your life, it can be really disheartening to not see progress. Some days are good, some are bad, some days you wonder why you try so hard, only to end up failing. When you get to this point, you have to step back and take a hard look at your behavior. Are you setting yourself up for failure? Do you truly believe you can accomplish your goals? Are you putting the right systems, resources, and influences in place? These are all things I started to think about before I even took a look at my budget for the month. In 99.9% of situations, if you do not meet a goal, you have yourself and yourself only to blame. I’m about to go into my 29th year of life on this Earth; by now I should be aware that I should always have a plan B, plan C, plan D, and so on. I can’t just throw my hands up in the air and say “I’ll do better later”. There is no later. There is NOW and that’s what I should be focused on improving.
January 2016 Budget Review
Essentials (53% of budgetted 45%)
Our essential expenses were high this month for multiple reasons. The biggest culprit was our grocery bill maxing out at almost $1000. Last month we spent $400 less. I could go into all the reasons why our grocery bill was so high, but at the end of the day, I was not being responsible with our money. There was a lot of waste and a lot of overeating. There was $100 spent on meal replacement powder because of a sale. It all adds up to an expense category that was much higher than it should have been. We also spent a bit more than usual on gasoline as there were 2 tanks of gas bought for the Jeep at the beginning of the month to get us back from Missouri. Utilities were higher than usual due to heating costs. 13 packs of diapers, 12 packs of baby wipes, 3 diaper pail liners, and 2 crib railing covers rounded out our kid costs for the month.
Lifestyle (22% of budgetted 10%)
Lifestyle expenses were also way out of control this month. We had to replace the windshield on my husband’s truck so that was a big chunk of change. Dining out costs were high, too, thanks to a lot of laziness on my part. We had take out 8x this month because I wasn’t in the mood to cook dinner. I also spent $167 on various skincare and cosmetic items.
Goals (25% of budgetted 45%)
Not making our financial goals was the most disappointing part of this month. I look at our dedicated home downpayment savings account, and we are so far away from our goal.
February 2016 Budget Projections
With my shopping ban in place, I am confident this will help us meet our financial goals for February. We have some catching up to do in the savings department, and there is no better time than now to do it. I’ve also recognized that grocery expenses are really becoming my biggest struggle. And failing to implement the necessary planning is the cause of this struggle. With the time I should save over the next 90 days because I won’t be online window shopping or reading product reviews, I will be doing a lot more meal prepping. A couple frozen crockpot meals and homemade pizzas should help save the day (and my budget) when the kitchen is too dirty to cook in.
In regards to my shopping ban, some expected purchases this month include conditioner (if I run out this month) and supplies to make laundry & dishwasher detergent. I have a couple experience expenses coming up as well – movie night, birthday lunch, a night out with the mom group, and a fitness class. While some would include these expenses as shopping, adding experiences (in moderation) helps to improve my quality of life in a way that a new blouse or skincare product cannot. I welcome these experience costs, but I will always limit them to fit into our budget for the month.
I hope the 1st month of your 2016 was successful. Thanks for reading!