For some folks out there, budgeting on a “month cost” method just doesn’t work for them. They have enough money coming in from their job to be able to afford the fast food, movies, and other entertainment that will just kill your budget. They don’t really have the concept of staying on budget, and sticking to what they had planned to spend. There is one such lady in our Church that I talked with a few days ago regarding just such a situation.
In this case, she is a single mother, two kids, and works as a nurse for a local hospital. She makes good money, and is able to afford the little things like going out to eat a lot, getting drinks at the gas station all the time; little things that will just destroy a budget. She wants to do better with her budget, and has tried at one point to chart all of their expenses, and got depressed when she noticed what she was spending.
For her, sticking to a monthly budget would be hard. She identified their main problem though – going out to eat at fast food places too much. This is a problem for a lot of people out there, but with a little discipline, it can be overcome. Since she has trouble maintaining a monthly budget, I offered this solution to her:
Instead of trying to keep a dollar tight budget, how about setting a maximum number of times per week to go out?
Let’s say she limited their number of times to go out to 3 per week. If she is able to stick to that, she would see a dramatic decrease in the total money spent over the month. Try it out sometime, just promise to only spend the additional money at the gas station or the fast food restaurant 2-3 times per week. So when you get the urge to go inside the station and get that coke, you may back off, to keep to the limit you set. I use this method as well, we go out twice a week, often I will grill once a week, and on a rare occasion we will get a Dr. Pepper at one of the local gas stations (it’s something about the way they mix the Dr. Pepper in their fountain drinks, it’s just really good).