Budget Check In – I Still Have a Shopping Problem

So I’m officially one month down in my budgeting process. I figure that now is a good time for a gut-check moment. First off, I should say that I did officially save this month. Woo hoo! Whether or not I saved in the right areas, is a different story. Here’s where my budget checks out as of 10/31/12.

I’m over in the following categories:

Auto/Transportation – 14% over
Cash/ATM – 10% over
Personal Care  – 14% over
Groceries – 25% over
Shopping – 89% over (Clearly this one needs work – EEK!)

I was even or I only used part of the budget (i.e. I saved) in the following categories:

Bills/Utilities (includes rent, gym, etc) – Even
Business/Office – 16% used
Entertainment – 48% used (I was pretty surprised at this one!)
Food/Drink – 83% used (Again, surprised.)
Dry Cleaning – 26% used (I think this one is an anomaly)
Gifts – 70% used

Given all of this spending/saving, I managed to save more than my target amount for the month. But, I ended up having to use half of it to buy a train ticket for my Thanksgiving trip, so my final savings this month is 62% of my target amount.  Therefore, I rule this month as a marginal success.

Clearly, I need to address the shopping issue, but I’m pretty proud of myself that I managed to curtail spending on eating out. That is another big downfall for me (I say this as I have dinner plans tonight at Napoleon with friends).

I’ll admit I’m starting to get nervous about November and December budgeting. They are going to be tough months, especially with the holidays. I have at least three parties that I plan to throw in the next few months, and I need to buy Christmas presents – eek! My plan is to combine the shopping and gift budgets during the next two months to buy presents, and who knows what I’m going to do about the parties.

I’m contemplating buying lottery tickets in the hopes that I have a financial windfall. Fingers crossed!

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