As I am gearing up for the kids to return back to school and all the expenses that come with our regular/non-summer lives, I have been trying to rework our budget. (Yes, again. I am now very comfortable with the fact that our budget constantly changes). I have had a nagging feeling recently that something does not add up, but have blamed it on the irregularities in our budget that come with summer including travel and camps.
Today, I decided to take a look at our food expenses lines which currently total $1,000. $700 is budgeted for monthly groceries and $300 is allocated my husband’s ridiculous eating out lunch daily habit. I began to wonder if $700 was not enough given the amount of gluten free/vegan items we buy for my son’s diet. Using mint.com, I reviewed our grocery spending for the last six months. I was a bit surprised at what I saw:
A very different picture than what I have been thinking we have spent on groceries! Except for March (when my in-laws stayed with us for 2 weeks), our monthly groceries is less than what we have in our budget. I was super confused by these numbers. If has been the truth, why isn’t there an extra $100-$150 in a budget each month? If these numbers are true, where are the leftover funds? Numbers don’t lie. I decided to further explore this perplexing situation and look at our overall food expenses. What I discovered made me sick to my stomach. I expected to see about $300 a month on eating out based on what I thought my husband typically spends a month. Here’s what I found instead:
Are you kidding me?! WTH! These numbers make NO sense. How in the world did we spending $834 on eating out on May without me even realizing it?! That’s ridiculous! I am extremely upset and baffled that I have been lying to myself all this time. Perhaps my husband is really spending more than I thought he was. Or maybe quick trips to fast food places on the way back from school really add up! I have no idea, but I am definitely going to address this! I am super annoyed but glad I uncovered this huge leak.
So where do I go from here? First, I have decided to set a food budget of $600 since the average was $584 for the last six months. I am going to try to use cash only for July and August to really stick to this. I am also going to closely monitor my husband’s eating out as well. I am going to show him these numbers. Hopefully he will have the same disgusted reaction as I did! I am also going to continue my “fast food” fast that I did in June. It will be a little harder when the kids get back, but I am going to keep this graphic handy to remind myself of all the better ways we could be spending money. Lastly, I will use this blog to hold myself accountable. Ugh! What a mess!
On better notes, I was proud of my shopping trip today where I spent exactly $40.20. I had budgeted 40 bucks for the trip. Yes, I was $.20 over, but that was good considering I actually put 4 items back! Had I not been using cash, I probably would have spent $55-60. Also, June was pretty awesome. I am glad my husband agreed to the challenge of no fast food or buying lunches. I wish every month could look that great!
Have you ever discovered that you were doing horribly in an area of your budget when you thought you were doing great?