One of the hardest things to accomplish in our financial journey is learning about and acknowledging the spending decisions. The key step when we seriously dealt with budgeting was identifying our needs versus wants. It took quite a while for us to finally get a grip on which categories we want to be part and parcel of our budget.
I had a day off work yesterday so I took the opportunity to just sit down and close off our July budget. I thought it’s going to be so easy but going through the numbers, it proved that things can get tricky sometimes.
Food and Groceries
Most of our budget categories are fine. I had no problems at all. The biggest challenge is always the food and groceries category as this is where I know I can maximise savings when planned right.
With Meal Planning all set, I have eliminated the guessing game or figuring out everyday what to make for dinner and I know I actually have the ingredients to make the meals.
My lovely Mother-In-Law is also precooking meals some nights; it helped hugely in coming up with some progress in our July budget.
Please allow me to show some numbers so you will understand what I am talking about:
Mr. Budget Tipster and I are too excited to show to you July’s summary as per below:
Initially, we thought we are gonna go off the budget again. Mr. Budget Tipster was also very happy after he did his last shopping run for the month last weekend and found out that he still got $20 extra!
This meant victory for us!
This is only the fifth month that I seriously tracked our spending; in the previous months, I keep falling off the wagon.
I tried various figures in the past months and obviously didn’t work for so many reasons.
What have we done differently this time apart from meal planning?
Inventory of Pantry and Freezer
I start with my pantry and fridge; I write out my meals based on what’s available and fill in the gaps.
Shopping at a Cheaper Store
Aldis is a shop here that sells home/ store brands; as compared to Woolworths and Coles, they are heaps cheaper. Buying home brands instead of brand names is a saviour!
Paying for Cash
We don’t bring any more cash then we have to; Mr. Budget Tipster had learned to stick to what’s on the budget and only buy what we need.
I am proud to say that we have stuck so far to the plan. We stayed within the budget this way, and now we actually have meals in the house! Before, we only had ingredients and not any that you could put together to make a meal.
I feel happy that I am now able to finally figure out a realistic budget for our family.
I realised I can’t keep the same amount every time as length of each months vary.
Length of Days Matter
We do our shopping run on a weekly basis; every Saturday, we replenish our stocks.
Mr. Budget Tipster’s paycheck is on a weekly basis- every Wednesdays.
For this month, I failed to check three things:
- July only has 4 Saturdays, which means we will only do food shopping 4X this month.
- July has got 5 Wednesdays; therefore, Mr. Budget Tipster’s pay will be received 5X this month.
- Our Church Offerings (F1, F9, F13) also comes through on a Wednesday; hence, this will come out of our budget 5X.
It took me a while figuring out why I can’t find the balance in my budget template. Then it hit me that I failed to consider the above. I had to readjust the actual total amount of income vs actual money spent.
We are changing our mentality everyday and learning to be smarter with our budget.
Smiley faces on the days we fulfil and I can not stress enough how I love that we have began this journey. It feels right that when you know better, you do better.