I was just tagged over at Achingdebts.com for a new meme – the Budget Busters Challenge! “What is the Budget Busters Challenge? Well, here is how Cindy over at Achingdebts describes it:
I thought I would start a bit of a challenge to personal finance bloggers or anyone to list 5 things big or small that bust your budget. You would think that the bigger the budget the bigger the buster would need to be but that’s not necessarily so. Small things add up quickly and tend to break my budget wide open before I have caught on to them.
- Snacks: Whenever I stop to get gas I'll usualy go in and get a pop or a candy bar. When I'm at work, I'll run to the vending machine and get some chips. If I'm just having a down day a lot of times I'll stop at a store and get something to eat. It's bad on the budget, and its bad on my waistline too!
- Eating out: Number 2 also has to do with food! My wife and I realized in the last month or so (after signing up for mint.com, check out my review HERE) that we eat out way too much. I asked a friend how much they were spending on food every month for a family of 5 (soon to be 6), and my wife and I were paying double that amount every month. Talk about eye opening!
- Gadgets/Electronic Toys: I've gotten a lot better about this one, but especially before I was married I loved having all the new gadgets. MP3 players, phones, video game systems, and computers. I still enjoy playing video games on the Xbox 360, and I have to check myself to make sure that I don't go out and buy all the latest games, accessories, etc. Having a new game every once in a while isn't going to break the budget, but if I were to buy every one I wanted, it quickly would be a problem.
- Clothes: This is more of a struggle for my wife, but I struggle with it as well. We've both lost some weight in the last year, there is a temptation to just go out and buy a whole new wardrobe with all new clothes, instead of budgeting out and buying mainly the things you need.
- Gifts for other people: My wife is a real giver, so at times she can tend to go overboard and buy expensive gifts for all the people we know on their birthdays, Christmas and so on. It can add up quick! She is getting better about handmaking gifts for people and buying things that maybe aren't as expensive. They can still mean a lot, even if they don't cost as much.
So what are the things that my wife and I do to steer clear of these budget busters?
- Create a budget: Set up spending categories and amounts we're allowed to spend every month on certain areas. Our budget is still a work in progress, but we'll get there.
- Keep each other accountable: We talk to each other about what we're spending on, and if the other is spending too much on something, we'll let them know.
- Remind ourselves why we don't need all those things: Sometimes you buy things or eat out just to feel better about something in your life. It is a patch of sorts, but it never fixes anything. Just remember when you spend that money you may end up feeling worse down the line because you're in debt, overweight, and have a bunch of clothes you can't wear!
So those are my 5 budget busters, and some things we do about them. The rules of the challenge are that now I have to tag 3 people to carry on the challenge. Here are the people I've decided to tag:
Have at it guys!