For my household, our budget is about $100/week. This includes all groceries and household expenses. I look at my expenses each month to make sure I’m within budget. I also make notations if I have made unexpected purchases that affect my budget. I may have to adjust my grocery allowance because of coupons used or deals I’ve taken advantage of that impact the amount of money I save. Here are some helpful tips to help you set your own budget.
1. Analyze actual costs
An easy way to assess your spending habits is to look back at your last 3 months of expenses. You can track this by saving your receipts for all groceries and household expenses, reviewing your purchases from checking account or credit card statements, or by using a spreadsheet. I like to break down my expenses by groceries and household purchases because it allows me to define the necessities. For instance, suppose you decide to have your carpet cleaned. This is an elective expense and can be scheduled based on when you have the available money.
2. Be realistic
3. Consider variables
Meat purchases: I typically purchase meat when it’s on sale. Therefore, I may have an extreme purchase from one month to the next. I have to consider that when budgeting. If I can save 20-50% by purchasing meat on sale, then I make the choice to spend money on the spot because in the long run, I’m actually saving money.
4. Remain flexible
5. Stay committed
Sticking to a budget requires commitment and resourcefulness. I always have the figure in my mind as to how much money I can spend this week. Now, I’m not foolish enough to think I’ll always be 100% successful, but I do aim for 90%. I factor in any “eating out” expenses into my grocery budget. If I do really well this week on curbing my spending, then maybe I have $20 left to treat the family to movie and a pizza. Rewarding your successful behavior is one way to stay true to your budget. If your budget allows you to rein in the spending and to really think about your purchases, then staying committed to it is a true advantage.
I look at my budget as something I definitely have control over. Maybe one month I save extra money and can contribute to my savings account or treat the family to a fun adventure. When you use your budget as a way to improve your life, it doesn’t seem to be as hard to follow! Give it a try. Set up a budget for this week and see if you can stick to it no matter what! You might be surprised!