I tried two ways of budgeting, You Need a Budget, and Mint.com. While I liked the YNAB philosophy and realize that we need to be using some of their advice, I know that there is no way that S and I will record every single transaction. I also know that I will not download the files from our accounts every week in order to keep up. I'm a little nervous about using something that is linked directly to our accounts, but I'm going to go with convenience and cross my fingers that we will be ok using Mint. I really like that I have it on my phone, and I can check myself by simply opening the app and looking at real time data.
That real time data has been eye-opening. I set up a whole bunch of budgets including big bills that will be hitting at specific times during the year (vacation and insurance payments being the big ones) and when I looked at the total of all the budgets, it was more than our take-home pay. So, the budgets I set up were too much, and in the few weeks that I've been tracking, we've exceeded some of those budgets. Can you say oops?
Finding places to cut back is difficult, but it has to be done. There are obvious ones like our proclivity for buying expensive craft beer. Another is to cut down on take-out. And yet another is to cut back in groceries. I have all of our groceries delivered to our house via an organic delivery service and a dairy both of which are expensive because of the convenience factor. Plus, I'm not being choosy about which organic produce we buy based on the dirty dozen.
Up until now I've justified organically farmed produce, and as many local meat/grocery purchases as I can find. I buy them because I believe that supporting sustainable farming practices is important for the environment. So it's been easy for me to tell S I will not compromise on the food we eat because of the importance of supporting certain farming techniques. Except, at this point, I think I need to pull back until everything is under control spending-wise. That means making trips to the grocery store instead of the convenience of delivery. Plus an attempt to expand my garden. I have enough space to get a good crop of produce this summer, I just have to spend the time! That's what it comes back to...time and energy....
Both of which seem to be lacking at the moment.
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