Being on a very tight budget, we are always looking at ways to save money on stuff. We also review our budget at least once a month to make sure we are on track. And sometimes when we pull up the ol’ budget on Mint.com, I find that we are in the red in some categories (shocker, I know). It’s always a bummer when you blow the budget, but I use failure as a learning experience, and use what I learn to change our budget moving forward. But sometimes I need to go to even more extreme measures to make sure I pay attention to our budget to stop ourselves from giving in to those daily financial temptations.
Step 1: Identify Trouble Area
This is the easy part. First, look at your food budget….
And that’s it. First trouble area spotted. If you happen to be one of those freaks that only spends $300 per month for your family of 6, and you NEVER go over budget, then just close this webpage and go about your blissful existence. But for those of us in the real world who may or may not sometimes just BARELY go over our food budget, this is a great place to start.
Step 2: Find Out Why You Are Overspending
This one was easy for us, because we use Mint.com to categorize all our transactions. All we had to do was jump over to our “Food & Dining” budget and see the breakdown of where our money was going. We were just over our grocery budget, but have dropped a junk load of cash on restaurants, fast food and coffee shops. WHAAAA? And since we don’t budget much for those items, we were far in the red and really overspent this month.
So our meal planning and general grocery budget wasn’t too bad, it was just us eating out that really killed it. UGH.
Step 3: Mock Yourself Straight
Now that we figured out that eating out is killing our food budget. Figures. But now it’s time to make sure we stop wasting money on crap we don’t care about. And what better way than to completely mock ourselves for blowing the budget. So here’s a look at our new eating out category:
Now we still have a budget for this, because life gets busy. But when we blow this budget, we can accurately call ourselves lazy slobs, and realize that we need to get our crap in order and stop wasting money. Next month, we will now question our eating out decisions, especially if we’re already close to maxing out the budget. If there’s anything we’d hate to fall into, it’s laziness, and since our budget is now actively mocking us, we may be a bit more motivated to stay on target.
Other Ways to Mock Yourself and Save Hundreds
Now that we’ve knocked out the food budget, here are some other great ways to mock yourself and save hundreds per month:
You’re Not That Attractive. Let’s face it, we’re not that good looking. So dropping $400 a month on designer clothing and makeup isn’t going to fix that. Trust me, I would know… So just change your “shopping” budget to “You Can’t Fix Ugly.” It’s a gentle reminder to stop blowing money at the mall.
You Are Not A professional Designer. Craft projects, painting, DIY and more. So many house projects to do, especially since people can’t seem to cut the cable and all they want to watch is the DIY network and HGTV. Pinterest has turned every home into a magazine-worthy renovation project, except there’s not enough money for this crap. Yes, home improvements need to happen, but spending all your extra cash on it is ridiculous. Repeat after me, “My house will never be in a magazine.” Change your “home improvement” budget to “I Am Not Martha Stewart.” You can be a bit more frugal here and save a ton.
Fifi Is Not A Princess. Everyone loves their pets, especially their dogs. Dogs are great pets, and can bring a lot of joy to the family by just sitting and doing dog stuff. But dogs don’t need ridiculous pampering and friggin’ clothes! Srsly! So pass up on buying that diamond collar or gold-encrusted leash. Change your “pets” budget to “Seriously, It’s Just A Freaking Dog.” A loving reminder that dogs just want food, petting, and food. Not bling.
Your Car Will Never Be Famous. I get it. I love cars too. I will never buy new ones, but I understand car enthusiasm and wanting to have a dope ride. Heck, I used to have one back when I had a TON of money. And I know you just watched Fast and Furious 6, and want the most pimped out ride on the block. But putting Lambo doors on your Jetta is really not good for anyone. Or your budget. Your car isn’t going to end up in a magazine, so just tone it down for the sake of everything! Change your “Car Maintenance” budget to “I Drive A Freaking Sedan. I Will Never Be Vin Diesel.” A reminder to keep it to oil changes and other basic car maintenance, and to return the underglow kit your purchased. Please.
What Are Your Best Mocking Budget Categories?
I’ve named a few here to get you motivated to save some cash money, but what are some of your mocking budget categories? Share them with everyone so we can all make fun of ourselves and save a ton of CASH MONEY in the process.