Friday, April 30, 2010

April Budget: Totals Are In

In case you're new to my budget posts, I'm not one of those women who can feed their family on $50 a week. I'm muddling through with a budget for the first time in my life, but I'm holding myself accountable. My monthly budget of $800 is relatively high to most couponers because I include all my "discretionary spending" on groceries, household goods, clothing, crafts, restaurants, fast food, and home stores.

For the month of April, I gave myself the added challenge of an extra week (5 vs 4) but keeping the budget the same. My shopping included 5 trips to Kroger, 2 to Target, 1 to Earthfare, 1 to Ingles, 4 to CVS, 5 to Walgreen's, 2 to Bruster's Ice Cream, 2 to Home Goods, 1 consignment sale, 1 pizza delivery, and 1 date night with my hubby (expensive but totally worth it).

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not including the generosity of my visiting mother-in-law who paid for one dinner out for the family, toys for the kids, and some clothing for me for an early Mother's Day present. I also didn't include a few freebies I enjoyed (such as free coffee and ice cream on tax day).

Here's the break-down:
The bulk was spent at the grocery stores: $659.26
Dining out took second place: $90.10 (and that was only twice for dinner and twice for ice cream)
Pharmacies: $76.95
Target: $45.05
Gifts / Clothing: $23.16 (actually I spent $85.26 but I made $62.10 from the consignment sale; so that was factored in)

Total Spent: $894.52 ($94.52 over budget)

On a more positive note, through sales and coupons, I saved $585.15 or 40%. Coming into the last week, I had $70 in my budget. I thought I could eek out $20 at Target, $10 at pharmacies and $40-$50 at Kroger. I was wrong. My perimeter shopping went way over what was expected, and I found a few extra good deals at Target. I also bought some more gifts that I had planned to wait til May to buy.

So what should I do now? Say oh well, I'll try to do better next month?! Not me. I'm giving myself another challenge for May. I'm going to take off $100 from my May budget and see if I can come in at $700. I'll think twice before ordering pizza or stopping for ice cream; dining out really eats into a budget fast. I'm starting to get choosier about what deals I buy at pharmacies. And I hope to shift more of my spending to farmers' markets and away from big box stores. My goal is to spend less on packaged foods and more on fresh. I do a pretty good already, but I can do better. We'll see.

How does your budget compare? Have you found any of my experiences helpful to you?

No comments:

Post a Comment