Recently I have failed on my grocery budget. Like a great big fat F fail. It all started about 6 months ago when I really decided the couponing just wasn't worth the time anymore. For the first couple months I just made excuses or thought it would get better, but finally I realized a couple of things about my budget. There are 4 things I learned from my failed budget.
Little Things Add Up
I kept looking at my grocery bill for those big items that was making the bill so high. There wasn't one big-ticket item. Before, I was very careful about what went into my cart. If it wasn't on sale or I had a coupon I didn't buy it. Now I was just tossing everything into the cart that I wanted. Those $2-$3 items really can add up.
Lack of Discipline
Before when I was couponing I would plan my meals around what was on sale. When I stopped, I started planning everything based off of meals I found on Pinterest. I didn't really consider what was in the pantry or on sale. If I saw a pretty meal I wanted to make it. I realized I needed to have some balance between what I wanted to make and what I could make. I now try to pick one or two fun meals a week and the rest keep to what I have at home or on sale at the store.
I was greatly underestimating my expenses. My grocery budget hasn't changed in 6 years. Not only has the cost of food risen over the last 6 years, I have also gone from a 7-year-old who hardly eats to a teenager who will eat me out of house and home. With all of these changes my grocery expenses were changing too. I realized I might need to up the budget a little.
Not Planning Ahead
I used to have a good deal of convenience meals on hand. Now I have been trying to make a lot more things from scratch. The problem is as soon as I couldn't get something made in time I would just get carry out. Not real great for the budget. I have started to buy some more convenience foods for those nights that reality hits.
Has your budget ever failed? What did you learn from it?