Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Budget Totals for June & July

Here's a post I've been putting off because I hate thinking about money. There, I said it. I would prefer feeling good about all the money I "saved" rather than think about all that I spent. Too bad we live in the real world where the bottom line is the more important number. So if you need a little prodding to get your budget in order, hopefully I can provide some inspiration or at least lessons learned.

My monthly budget of $800 includes all groceries, clothing, dining out, and big box stores. I aim for $500 of that to be in groceries and $300 for everything else. Since I had a surplus in May, I had a little cushion for June: $867.72. I thought for sure, I'd come under budget, but... sigh...I didn't.

Here are the June totals:
Grocery: $661.31 (saved $337.81)
Clothing: $234.71 (saved $128.33; includes a $50 gift card not yet spent)
Pharmacies: $101.12 (saved $293.59--74%)
Total Spent: $997.14
Total Saved: $759.73 (43%)
Amount Over Budget: $129.42

So did I do any better in July to redeem myself? Well, yes and no. My Sam's Club membership was expiring in July and I allowed myself one more trip to stock up on some of our favorites. Without that trip, I'd have been in the clear. Could've, would've, should've.

So here are the July totals:
Grocery: $688.47 (includes $384.50 at Sam's; saved $194.76)
Clothing: $119.39 (saved $78.66)
Big Box stores: $74.34 (saved $58.01)
Pharmacies: $67.19 (saved $193.92--74%)
Total Spent: $949.39
Total Saved: $525.35 (36%--lower since Sam's Club savings are not factored in)
Total Over Budget: $149.39

Combining June and July, I went over budget about $280. So what happened? Basically, I got busy or lazy or both and didn't keep a close watch on my spending. "I need it" or "It's such a good deal" were my mantras. It's going to be tough making up that deficit in August / September, but I've got to get back in the black.

I'll be more mindful about my totals each week so that there aren't any surprises by the end of the month. If I spend $35 less a week, I'll be out of debt by 9/30. That's not so hard. I have to decide which purchases I can postpone or forgo, and I'll be actively chipping away at my reserves in the pantry and freezer. I'll probably spread out my Kroger runs to do 3 instead of 4 in a month. One way or another, I'll get back on track because this isn't Monopoly money!

What tips do you have for reducing your debt?

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