Our family has gone through one of the hardest losses we could have imagined these past few months so I must be honest in admitting that keeping on budget was not in the forefront of my thinking. It's not an excuse, it's just the facts.
Actually, when I went back and averaged my grocery budget over the past year I discovered that I've been spending an average of $130 extra each month instead of the allotted $200. Yikes! I'm so thankful for my Quick Books program that helps me track expenses.
My habit has been to set aside the grocery money in envelopes. Sometimes I'll put enough grocery money in my wallet for 2 weeks. Other times, I pull it out of the envelopes when I run to the store. I think I'm getting myself into trouble when I make an unplanned stop with no money in my wallet. Instead of cash I use my debit card.
Right now I have the extra money to cover a larger food budget but when/if we buy our own home I can't fall back on that extra buffer. So, I'm going to try and pull in the reins and see if I can realistically live on $200 a month by keeping track of my receipts. If not, then I'll have to do some shuffling in other areas so I can bump up my monthly grocery allowance. Food prices are rising. Maybe it's unrealistic to think that my husband and I can live on $200 a month. I buy very few 'extras' but my 2 freezers are full so that's an inclination that I'm buying more than we need each month.
So as always, in this game of budgeting, I'll be praying for God's wisdom and guidance, evaluating my habits (and lack of self-control) and seeking new ways to be a faithful steward of the money God has entrusted me.
How do you handle this problem? I'd love to hear from you!