You guys, I have been looking forward to sharing this family finance review with you. I intentionally skipped July and August family finance review as we had multiple unexpected expenses happened on the move.
Husband and I had been talking about making some modifications to our budget for weeks. All through the years, we have been following a budgeting system with specific $$ allocations under each spending category. For the first time after so many years, we tried a new budgeting method in September and looks like we will start using it going forward.
This new budgeting is called “zero sum budgeting”. Instead of assigning $$ for each spend category, we assign a lump sum for the whole month spending. It doesn’t matter if we spend more on one category and less on another category as long as the total spending is less or equal to the lump sum we allocated.
Previously, I used to get stressed if we go over the budget on a category even if I’m under the budget for other categories. Now that we only care about the total spend, I feel like the weight is lifted. I just focus on the total dollar and not individual category spending.
If you’re new to budgeting, I’d still suggest you try category budgeting as it will help identify areas where you can cut costs. If you have been budgeting for a while and are good at avoiding unnecessary spend, I’d highly recommend you try zero sum budgeting.
September and October Wins:
New Budgeting Method:
It definitely works for our family and whatever savings we have left in the budget at the end of the month goes out to splurge. I started shopping 90% of my groceries from Whole Foods. Thanks, Amazon and new budgeting!
Dragging two little ones to the store is more of a trip than grocery shopping. So we hardly go out for grocery shopping these days. Less trips to the store means relatively less spending.
No personal spending:
I wanted to buy some skincare and cosmetics in September and I postponed my purchases to October fearing that I’d go above the line in the new budgeting if I make this purchase (I splurge on cosmetics and skincare. So my $$ are typically in 3 digits).
Interestingly, it didn’t happen in October either. I probably will wait for Thanksgiving sale and do a major shopping at Sephora.
September and October Fails:
My work was crazy busy in September and October that I worked even on some Saturdays. That said, I hardly had time to cook meals even though I meal planned everything. No food at home means more pick ups from restaurants.
We tried to limit visiting expensive restaurants. Even then the eat out spend was much higher than ever.
I don’t know how you moms of 2 or more kids manage. I am short on time with 2 little ones and cleaning is taking a backseat nowadays. I’m slowly improving in November. But September and October were bad months for our house 🙂
We moved from a bigger space to 2 bed room apartment. There are lots of toy boxes unopened. Recently I spent $110 for kids clothing only to realize I have some packed in the boxes. It was a bad job of mine and now my kids have too many clothes. Have you ever done this?
I love setting goals and knocking them off. It gives me lots of satisfaction when I finish the work on time (I guess we all feel good when we accomplish something, right?). I used to post my goals on the blog before and stopped posting them thinking it might not be useful. I have people reached out to me asking for Goals post and guys, it makes me very happy 🙂 Below are the goals for the month of November:
- Encourage Jeev to start writing – he is not much interested in writing although this guy loves math. I am also teaching him reading every day.
- Take the kids to zoo if weather permits and other indoor events planned.
- Plan thanksgiving week
There is also another important item that we are hoping to get done this month. I’ll share it with you as soon as it’s done.
- Prepare Black Friday shopping list
- Go over the finances with Hubby and decide few open items we have
- Compare health insurance plans between our employers and decide the best one between the two
- Lunch date with hubby without him opening the phone. Lol!
- He never reads the blog. So i’m going to say it – Write a love note and mail it to him as a surprise (no special occassion guys. Just want him to know how we 3 love him) 🙂