How did we do budgeting in November and December 2012? We did awesome on our holiday spending, but still struggled with grocery bills.
We set a gift giving budget and were actually able to come in below the amount. How? We made gifts with some help from pinterest. We made chai tea mix, peppermint hot chocolate, and homemade moisturizer with bulk supplies bought from Amazon. We also focused on gifts that people would use. I suppressed the feeling that I needed to buy *something* for person x just because I didn’t buy them enough. Unless people were just being nice, the homemade gifts were a huge hit and I’m excited to see what we do next year.
In November we budgeted $120 for everyday groceries and $50 for Thanksgiving groceries. We spent $260 on everyday and $60 on Thanksgiving. What put us over on Thanksgiving was homemade fruit punch with real juices instead of Hawaiian Punch so we were pretty close on Thanksgiving. In December we spent $270 on groceries. Obviously we either need to increase our grocery budget or find a way to cut back on food purchases.
For January we are doing a Whole30 diet so we will be buying a ton of fresh produce. I think sticking to a grocery budget will be more difficult, but we have implemented some changes. We increased our food budget to $300; this also includes any food for homemade dog food. Homemade dog food costs about $100 a month leaving about $200 for us to spend on groceries a month. We also started a grocery price book to track the price of produce and where we can purchase certain staples, like bell peppers, the cheapest. This will also help when the summer farmer’s markets roll around for us to know the price difference. Finally we decided to focus our organic produce purchases on the dirty dozen; we will only be buying organic produce on this list to start.
We now use an Excel budgeting template to track our spending. In 2012 we used a google doc that became increasingly messy and complex so I’m excited about the change. After the past 3 months of budgeting we identified 3 new high spend categories and added these to the budget. We added a bulk category to track bulk meat and Sam’s Club purchases, a car parts category, and a home category.
We have some bigger expenses coming up in the next few months so I hope we can stick to our budget!