Saturday, January 5, 2019

My 2018 Budget _ How Did I do (MY Successes & Failures)

Every new year I like to sit down and look at a few things I would like to accomplish in the new year and create a budget so I can reach my goals.

I took a look at last years budget and decided to be really honest and see how I did.  What was a "HIT" and what did I "MISS" on.  It was really eye opening.

I've done this same budget for the last few years and I am beginning to refine it.  I don't want to be so thrifty we don't have fun, but I don't want to waste money either.  So these budgets keep me accountable.

I thought I would share it here with you for fun.  Maybe you are having some of the same issues.

Now here's where the "fun" and the "challenge" comes in.  I took a good look at my bank account over several months and tracked where my money goes.  I've always thought I was reasonably thrifty - not cheap - but thrifty.  It is amazing how $5 here and $20 there adds up.  

When I took a good look at how I spend money, I found out that anything $20 or under and I thought of it as petty cash and non-consequential.  I was amazed that those little buys and spends could add up to $200 real fast.

Here are a few things I discovered were eating up a ton of money.

1. Groceries -  I need to keep it at around $100 a week. - MISS

 I usually do one big shop each week and only go back if I run out of something, but I don't plan out meals and I don't really watch the grocery budget. I like for the pantry and the fridge/freezer to be fully stocked with everything, so then whatever I want to cook, all the ingredients are on hand.   I do read the ads, make a list and use the coupons that really apply to what we like to eat.  It wastes money to use a coupon and buy something you really don't like.  We eat really well at our house, but I can trim a little here I think.  For just the two of us I definitely think a budget of $100 week is more than ample, so I am going to stick to that. (I somehow just kept going over.  So I think I actually averaged around $125 a week. )

2.  Personal care - 

  I am going to curb some of those trips to the Beauty Salon.   Coloring my own hair instead of spending hours in the salon, and I really can go a month between pedicures and just re-polish at home.  I do it all the time when "time" is a crunch anyway.  Now this should save quite a bit more by itself.  Hair color at the salon is around $75 and you can buy everything at Sally's for under $10.  Skipping one pedi also saves about $30.  HIT
(I cut back to every 3 weeks for a Pedi, colored my hair at home with professional products from Sally's and even trimmed my own hair a couple of times.)

3.  Give myself an allowance of $100 month for crafts and home decor. MISS

(This is where I spend the most - I spend double this and sometimes more -  I have to get this under control) ( I think I missed my goal here.  I went over some months and some a little under, but I am sure it was more than just the $100 budget.)

4. Eat out only twice a month. HIT

Even if we don't go anywhere fancy it is $60 to $75 to eat out. This needs to be a treat and enjoy Pizza or Chinese a couple of times a month instead of going out. (We enjoyed the pool and BBQ this summer, so we actually only ate out about once a month most months. )

5. If I put cash in my wallet and only use it, not the debit card, it is amazing how you think twice about all those misc. things. MISS

 This should curb a ton of those little $5 and $20 spends.  (Seems like I put money in my purse, then it went for groceries and everything under the sun and then I would be out and use the debit card.  This didn't work at all for me. )

These few things will save an average of $500 a month in addition to our regular savings. MISS
(Some months were a hit and some a miss.  All in all I averaged around $350 a month extra.)

This was a fun exercise and one that I will try and improve on for next year.  One thing I did add to my list is consistently adding to my "Gift Drawer".  I like to keep a few things on hand for Birthdays or any other occasion.  I especially like to buy ahead for Christmas, so that isn't such a blow to the budget all at once. 

  How about you, do you keep a budget?

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  1. Thanks for this rundown. For the first time (2018), and probably the last, I kept a spreadsheet detailing spending categories to get an idea of what we spend as in a couple years we will be retiring. I did fixed expenses and also gas in the vehicles and groceries. I did not do discretionary expenses. Maybe, I don't want to know! Haha! My point actually was to see what we truly "have" to have to live. This year I want to get a better handle on meals out and also trim the grocery budget as some months I spent a lot more than I think I should.

  2. Marty - you are an inspiration. Man -- how I can identify with your budget successes and challenges. I find that I too can get stupid with the petty cash when it comes to DIY, materials, d├ęcor, etc. I am going to follow your lead!; Penny

  3. I love this! I'm very budget minded but lose track sometimes. I am going to give your way a try! Have a great one!