Now that you have a budget and are working towards your financial goals the next step is to keep within your budget. You may find that tracking your spending in certain areas weekly rather than monthly is much more helpful.
My own budget breaks down with my utilities and other bills being monthly, but the areas that I can easily overspend I track weekly. So my grocery budget I know how much I can spend a week to stay within my monthly budget. This allows a little flexibility week to week as well, if one week I have friends coming over and I know I will be spending more than my week’s allotted amount, the week prior I will spend a little less to make up for it.
I also track my play money this way as this is another area that I was constantly overspending. Now I “save up” for items by waiting several weeks for that budget to build up and I can then go purchase larger items. Then the very next week I have a small amount to spend again, rather than having to wait until the following month to spend again.
But what do you do when you are in the store and you have that dreaded moment at the register, the moment when you realize you have gone way over budget? Some tricks I have learned when shopping, especially for groceries, to keep track of how much I am spending is to round the item up to the next dollar. That accounts for tax and I am not trying to add change in my head. Each item that gets added to the cart I simply round up and add to the previous total. This is simple enough math to do in your head when it is smaller items like groceries.
However, as I said in my previous post , I have short term memory issues and I am addicted to media, so I have an app for this as well. I use Cart Buddy, which is not a free app but it does have a lite version. Once you put in your local tax rate (you can find this by doing a simple search for your cities name and tax rate), you can enter that in and then everything you put in your cart you put it in the app with the price. When I use this app I never leave the store surprised at how much I spent. I am more in control.