Honesty: Why Most Budgets Fail

This week was a good reminder about being honest with myself when doing up our budget. While I’m all ”gung-ho” about paying our debt off, I have to be realistic about our spending habits and life needs before throwing all our money at bills and debt.

When I started budgeting I went a little cutback crazy in order to find as much money as possible for debt repayment. I was happy with some savings we made by cutting back in necessary areas but then I started lying to myself by saying we wouldn’t need to budget for things like eating out because I saw it as an unnecessary expense. With me being on maternity leave (and subsequently losing about 55% of my take home pay) I’m as frugal as ever.

Even if money wasn’t an issue, hubby and I were never big spenders on clothes/beauty stuff/toys etc but before baby we did love to eat out/order in. While we have cut back significantly, me not budgeting any money is setting us up for budgeting failure. If I’m being honest, we will probably eat out once a week, whether it be grabbing a quick lunch while running errands with baby, picking up a pizza on the way home or *gasp* actually going out for dinner, there is a 99% chance one meal/week will not be cooked by me.

This week made me realize that if I’m not honest about how our money will actually get spent; at the end of the day/week/month I will be scrambling for changes in the budget to accommodate this little white lie.

To keep me honest, here is a list of things that despite what I may think, I know will spend money on eventually:

  • Eating out once/week.
  • Haircuts every 2 months.
  • Clothes. We both need them before I go back to work in a few months, there is no realistic way to avoid this.
  • Razor Blade. It may seem like a small item but it KILLS MY SOUL to fork out almost $20.00 for blades. I’ve used crappy ones but I can’t do it anymore. Having said this, I use every blade like it’s my last one-I haven’t changed it in like 3 months haha.
  • Diet Pop. It’s mine and hubby’s weakness. I gave it up while pregnant and very much limit my consumption while breastfeeding but we have a serious love for diet Pepsi (me)/diet coke (him).
  • Birthday present/Christmas presents for each other. In the past for Christmas hubby and I usually didn’t buy anything much for each other, rather buy something for the house or money towards a trip if applicable plus maybe do up a small sock. The fact remains if I don’t budget anything for us (to buy for each other) I know we will end up spending a few bucks on something for the other person; we do every year despite our intentions. Same with bday gifts, I can tell hubby a million times not to buy me anything but I know he will (as would I for him). It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive but every dollar needs to get accounted for.

I know there are probably more things I need to think about in terms of how my spending habits are then and re-account for them but these are some of my budget lies. I think I just need to budget in a weekly allowance for ourselves to account for stuff like the above mentioned (minus Christmas as we will be budgeting for annual gifts/Christmas separately).

How do you deal with keeping your budget on tract and honest?

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2 thoughts on “Honesty: Why Most Budgets Fail

  1. Good points and many people do the same. I posted our 10 steps on how we designed our budget and one important post is about “projected expenses”. These are expenses that you know you will have to pay for at some point in time throughout the year so you MUST save for them each month. If you haven’t had a chance to read my steps give them a read and see what you think. The steps are what works for us and what has helped us get to where we are. Lying about what you think you won’t need will never help. If you need razor blades and they cost you $20 every 2 months then factor that in the budget monthly at $10 a month and save it so you have the cash when you need to buy them etc etc etc. Great post and something for all to think about. You can do it.. you are already one step further than the person who doesn’t budget at all! It takes time, you will make loads of changes like we did and continue to do. Cheers Mr.CBB

    • Thanks! I will take a look at it for sure. We budget for certain things like my professional licencing fee. I know I will have a $650.00 bill every Nov 01 so we save 55/month to make sure we have the money come bill time but I’m letting the small things go unnoticed, like razor blades. I need to have a good look at our budget again!

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