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Staying on budget should be easy!

June 8th, 2011 at 02:34 pm

I feel like every week I look at the budget and think, "this is definitely doable". And every week I fail miserably on staying on budget. We just can't seem to contain ourselves.

We had some of my tip money lying around so we used that to buy some cheap lunch. Then, before dinner time is rolling around, I'm dying to go out and spend money. I think I'm a bored spender.

When I work, I feel no need to spend money because I'm at work. I'm doing something. On my days off, if they're like today, where I'm at home all day, I feel the need to go out and buy something. Food, games, books, anything.

Hubby and I took a drive over to GameStop. We didn't buy anything, but we left feeling very unsatisfied. Instead of buying anything, we came home and decided to cook dinner and watch a movie at home. It's hard for me to not go out. Most of my friends aren't in debt though. And so they can afford to be less frugal than us.

And now we have a car loan to pay off. I can't wait to get rid of that. Still working on that debt payoff, but we're making good strides every month.

We should payoff the car sooner than expected as long as we stay on our budget.

I just wish it was easier. Some days are harder than others. But tomorrow my weekly budget resets. I can hold out until tomorrow... Smile Staying strong.

10 Responses to “Staying on budget should be easy!”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Good job! See you can go out and 'do' something, but it doesn't have to cost a dime. Do you have a list of things in your area you can do for free?

    Our local mall has a nice outdoor area where you can hear live music on Sunday nights. We bring a lawn chair and our own food and enjoy watching the people, each other's company and the music.

    Now is a great time of year to be looking for free things to do.

  2. snshijuptr Says:

    Try to come up with free activities for your days off. My local newspaper publishes a frugal blog that always has great suggestions. Here are some of my favorites:

    Hiking - Make it a mission to always hike a different trail. Than you can both spend time out hiking and time inside planning your next hike.

    Movies/Concerts in the Park - With summer coming, concerts and other activities are coming about more and more.

    Take a Class - See if there are free or inexpensive classes at your gym, city center, church, etc. DH and I are taking an inexpensive Taekwondo class that takes up our Tuesday and Thursday nights.

    Create a Movie/TV queue - We have such a long list of shows and movies that we want to watch that we never lack for entertainment.

    Plan your Weekend Early - make plans with friends for a potluck bbq, a picnic, a game night, or a movie night in at your house/location of choice. That way you won't be bored, and you won't spend much money.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    I totally know what you mean. There's something satisfying about purchasing something. But these are great suggestions. You do just need a few activities up your sleeve to distract you from spending. In the summer there are tons of free outdoor things, even if just a walk in a park. In the winter we play games; we ask for games and jigsaw puzzles from our parents as gifts so we don't even spend too much; or I might buy a new video game if I've got some spending money.

    You do need to give yourself an allowance, whether it's $5 or $100 depends on your budget. But I recommend withdrawing it in cash; we do it on Fridays; that way we can blow it all on weekend fun if we want, but if we don't, we have money during the week for little treats. Or sometimes one of us will save up their weekly allowance just like a kid, for a bigger planned purchase.

  4. J-Money Says:

    We are newly converted "budgeters" (is that word??) now and the 're-train your brain' transition is hard!! One thing that I have to fill the void is the library -books, movies, books on CD, newspapers/magazine. I personally enjoy walking out of there with 'stuff' and not having spent anything! And the kids & hubby find their stash along with my stash -- we're all happy!

    just a thought -- it helps to have stuff to do to keep your mind off of spending/buying/acquiring, etc. Give it a while and your mind will no longer focus on that stuff and it won't be such a temptation.

    But as CeeJay74 recommends, give yourself a small amount of blow money...that does help. But I bet overtime you will find yourself less willing to spend it -- I know I did!! LOL -- good luck and hang in there Wink The Lord has good things planned for you.

  5. ThriftoRama Says:

    I totally get it. It might be time to learn a cheap, cool skill to keep your brain occupied like it is when you are at work. My next project? Learn to screen print. I picked up a $3 riso gocco machine at a yard sale, and that should keep me (cheaply) occupied for a good long time!

  6. baselle Says:

    These are all great ideas - one of the tricks is total avoidance. Really try to go somewhere miles from any shopping. The guys who go to the park in the mall for concerts? Show far more willpower than I would! Of course going somewhere might involve gas, but it might involve something as simple as hitting a park with a digital camera and taking shots.

  7. patientsaver Says:

    It sounds like you consider spending money as a way to treat yourself. Maybe change your mindset and find others ways to make yourself feel good.

    Like, the next time you feel the urge to spend money, make love to your husband. Take a long walk, and bring the camera to capture things you never noticed before. Make a homemade card and give it to someone you love. And if you can manage to avoid going into the store or mall, that's huge.

    Believe me, I know the impulse to spend. I'd always have my favorite categories to spend money in, but the less time you frequent stores or browse magazines and get ideas that you "need" something, the easier it is to get off the spending train.

  8. snshijuptr Says:

    If it helps, you should know that spending has the same effects on your brain as any addictive drug. It gives you that little burst of dopamine happiness that leaves you wanting more. Treat quitting shopping like quitting smoking. It is one part behavior and one part biology. You need to associate other, healthier things with that burst of happiness and in the process build up new habits. Exercise is great for this because it gives you something to accomplish and can take up time usually reserved for spending money.

    Don't make plans to go out shopping. Before you go out to a mall or store, ask yourself why are you going? What exactly do you plan to buy? How does this fit into your goals? How will this improve your life? Then if you still need the item do a little research and think about where you could get it cheaper. Could you wait until it is on sale?

    For example...You want to go to Game Stop. What game do you plan to buy? Do you have money this week, or do you need to wait until next week? How many hours of game play will you get out of it? Will you both play it or only one of you? If it still seems worth it, then could you get it cheaper on Amazon.com, swap.com, or ebay.com? Could you wait until it is on sale or buy a used copy? Could you borrow the game from a friend? How much is the game really worth?

    DH and I did this with Portal 2. He really wanted it so he shopped around on Steam or Amazon.com. He decided to wait until it was on sale for $25 or less since the game play was so short. In the mean time, DH played the coop mode with his brother and we found out that he wasn't using his steam copy. We borrowed his account and played the first person mode over a single weekend. DH got what he wanted and it didn't cost us anything.

  9. Jerry Says:

    Bored spending is a common problem, no question about it, and it leads to the demise of many a budget! Still, at least you recognized the pattern. That is the first bit of insurance that you can overcome it. Good luck, and it most certainly is doable!

  10. rachel021406 Says:

    I think its just a learning process. I am also a "bored spender" so I understand. But at least we have this site to blog and help us try to stay on track! I'm trying to learn too. Smile

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