Friday, September 16, 2011

Are You a Weekly or Monthly Budgeter?

Howdy friend-os!  It's been awhile!  I hope you're all doing well, saving your money and enjoying a Lean with Green life, even if I'm not here to keep you company as often as I used to be.  Sorry about that.

As I was tracking my weekly spending habits over on Mint.com (you should sign up for it - it might change your life), I noticed I had nearly blown through my shopping budget not even halfway through the month.  "It's okay", I rationalized to myself.  "I won't shop for the rest of the month, plus I got those shirts on sale and I needed them."  Hmm.  Okay.  Need might be the operative word there.  True, most of my shirts are either old maternity shirts (totally cute when you're NOT pregnant anymore) or don't fit quite the way they used to (oh, the joys of body after baby).  I digress.  But what troubled me was I started telling myself it was okay to spend everything I allocated within the first 10 days of the month...what happens if there's a better sale at the end of the month?  Will I justify it then and completely go above and beyond my budget?

Usually, a monthly budget works fine for me, particularly on things like dinners out (delivery or take out these days) or grocery shopping.  I have a weekly "target" if you will ($75 on groceries, for example) - if I spend over that one week, I'll scale back on groceries the next.

So, dear readers, I ask you - how do you budget?  Do you set a weekly budget to keep a tighter grip on your money or are you more comfortable with a monthly budget for some wiggle room week to week? 


Psst - if you're missing BudgetBabe in your life, check me out as Mama Mahvelous on my mom/life blog.  I like it.  You might, too.

12 comments:

  1. I'm actually even looser than that - I'd call what I do "instinctive" budgeting. I have an idea of (for example) how often I can eat out and at what mix of restaurants to stay, and as long as I don't do anything out of the ordinary, I'll be okay. It's kind of like sustainable weight loss - rather than trying to force yourself to do something you don't want to (not eat/not spend), you train yourself to do it automatically. I'm fortunate in that I don't like to shop for shopping's sake and neither does my wife. We make big purchases out of a pre-allocated annual "big purchase" fund (which we often don't even use all of). We do have some items that we've chosen not to put limits on, like groceries: we decided that eating healthy and delicious food is important enough to spend money on, and in practice this probably adds less than $100 a month to our spending (and I eat a *lot* of food), since it means we buy cheap vegetables instead of pre-packaged goods.

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  2. I started using Mint recently and I love it. I just started but I can see how helpful it will be. We had no budgeting system before!

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  3. I used to be a big fan of Mint. It's still decent for tracking accounts, but I haven't found it very useful for budgeting. Maybe my accounts or spending are messed up... We do monthly budgeting but in excel. It works for us.

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