PT 2: FAMILY OF FOUR HOUSEHOLD BUDGET

6:55 AM

If you missed PT 1: FAMILY OF FOUR GROCERY BUDGET, I highly suggest checking it out before reading this post!

Last week, I talked about our tiny monthly food budget and the steps we've taken to cut costs, waste, and clutter in the kitchen and pantry. Many families say "grocery," and include things like cleaning products, cat and dog food, toilet paper, shampoo for the kids, etc. In our home, we found we just weren't buying some of those items as often as our typical everyday consumables. To keep track of just how much or how little hair gel and Windex we were using, I decided it was best to cut a separate "Household items" category to track those types of expenses.

If you remember from my last post, I talked about the EveryDollar  budgeting app, which was a huge game changer for following a budget plan during the month. It handles all the fuss for you, so long as you accurately track your purchases. Which you should be doing anyway! It's totally free, and something I highly suggest in addition to both of these blog posts.

WHY SEPARATE CATEGORIES?

As a bi-weekly shopper, I'm not having to pick up shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toilet paper, etc, every single time I go to the store. Food consumable products go quickly, and need to be purchased on our bi-weekly schedule, but I can make my bottle of shampoo last an entire month if not longer. Same goes with your basic cleaning products. Chances are, you aren't running out of window cleaner every single month, and one bottle of it can take you pretty far.

When I first began budgeting, this was a consistent issue I kept running into. No matter how I would plan it, I kept having to fluctuate my grocery category, which at the time, held all consumables both household and food products. To most, that wouldn't be a huge deal, but I didn't like not being able to see an outline of just how much we were spending on basic toiletry items and to make necessary cuts if need be.

I used to be one of those people who constantly switched up my shampoo and conditioner because I was just bored or wanted to try something new. Body wash? Oh yeah, old me had like seven because I didn't know what I wanted to smell like. I swear there was a time I had like eight bottles in our shower. Not only was it wasteful, it was ridiculous, and I wanted to change to a more practical approach when it came to our bathroom products.

Our monthly household budget is $250
-but I can say more often than not, we stay significantly under that amount, unless everything seems to run out all at once.



What ISN'T considered household?

A: Food (see last post) and basic "wants," such as Starbucks, impulsive purchases, and going out to eat.

What IS considered household?

A: Pet food and other pet needs, (*we have one dog and two cats, depending on your families animal situation, this amount may not be enough for your situation) toilet paper, trash bags, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotions, over the counter medicines (*this excludes prescriptions as we use a Health Savings Account), cleaning products, small home purchases (*I purchased a new bath mat a few weeks ago and the purchase counted toward my month household expenses), basic clothing needs.

Seems easy enough, right? How much of what you bring home every month stays in the bank? In your savings? Are you mindlessly blowing your paycheck on Starbucks, and trendy attire and wondering why you can't buy the bare basics? Setting up a budget and living your life within the lines of outlined categories can do wonders if you're willing to sit down and hold yourself accountable.

Saving money and budgeting out your months does not have to be complicated. In fact, with a smartphone or computer, all the pesky mathematical work is done for you. This is 99% behavior and practice. Let's make 2019 the year you are intentional! By making a plan for your monthly family costs, you can pin point where you are over spending and put money toward debt, savings, and this that truly matter.

What ways are you looking to better your finances in 2019? 

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