I started the month of November with the goal of revisting the ol’ budget. We’d gottten a bit off track with our budget, and my husband and I wanted to address the issue.
The last time we took a good hard look at our budget was two years ago. Oh sure, we were tracking our expenses every month since then, so it wasn’t like we’d ignored our budget, but it had been a ridiculously long time since we’d really crunched ALL the numbers. Our salaries had changed. Our family’s needs had changed. The cost of living went up.
And on top of that, we suffered from budget creep. You know what I’m talking about: You start earning a little more money, so you start spending a little more money, and pretty soon you feel just as broke as you did before you started earning more, only you’re too dumb to admit why. That’s what we were (are?) suffering from.
The benefit of having tracked expenses for so long was that I could see a definite spike in our budget in certain key areas: namely eating out (my BIG weakness), and groceries. The grocery expense increase is due to two factors: my three boys are eating more than they used to and I’ve been a bit more lax about couponing. I’ll definitely be addressing eating out and my grocery spending in the new year.
I learned a few things about my budgeting system, too. After trying several wonderful (and FREE) budget systems from The Great Big List of 75 Budgeting Tools, Finance Software and iPhone Apps at Bible Money Matters, I decided I am much more of a paper and pencil kind of gal. I’d rather use an archaic budget format than one I will just ignore. I think knowing what works best for you is what matters. (For reference, I’ve been using the free budgeting worksheets at Better Budgeting.
I’m glad that my husband and I were able to sit down and talk about our budget together this month. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re headed in the right direction. We cut waaay back on eating out in November and our coupon usage went way up! We cut a lot of our monthly expenses, and were still able to enjoy some Christmas shopping.
December will be a month of fine-tuning our budget and goal setting. But not too much… we need to enjoy the holidays with our families, too!
How did November go for you? What types of things will you work on in December?