I spent some time looking at where I went wrong and what things should remain the same or change for next month. I came up with several observations.
What Went Wrong:
I love to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables and preserve them. I found great deals on fall fruits like apples and pears. I like to dry them and put them away for quick snacks when they are no longer in season. I didn't account for that in my budget and buying the extra added up quickly.
I found the same thing to be true when I found a great deal on Glutino Pretzel Sesame Rings. The cheapest I have found them is on Amazon. The Sesame Rings run $4.58 a bag. This month they were on sale at a local grocery store for $2.99. I stocked up, but that left me short later on in the month. I also stocked up on Rudi's Gluten Free Bread that was on sale for $3.99 for those times I need an emergency slice of bread and I haven't had time to make it.
The last thing that set my budget on a course for failure, was deciding to try baking new breads with new flours. Instead of waiting, I dove into the project and purchased new flours and ingredients I needed. Sometimes I lack a little patience!
The total cost of these choices: $114.17. Hmmm, seems a little close to that amount I went over. Could that be the reason?
What Went Well:
I was very pleased with the menu for the month. I worked very hard and stuck to my choices. When I wavered, Cinnamon was there to tell me, "You have to follow the menu, Mom!" Keeping and following a menu was great and something I will continue.
Secondly, paying attention to the cost of things was key. I guess I had never stopped to think about the cost of my meals and how adding an extra ingredient here or there just because I had it on hand could be sabotaging my budget. Now I know a spaghetti dinner costs me around eleven dollars and I can plan appropriately.
What Needs to Change:
Although I started out with an envelope and cash, I reverted to old habits. I need to either stick with an envelope system or have an exact tally of where my grocery dollars stand at all times. I do this with a post it note I keep in my purse. I also need to be stronger and say no to last minute inspirations and stick to the budget!
The other thing I plan on doing this next month is to plan for grocery items on sale or seasonal items I want to take advantage of and stockpile. I plan on setting aside $50.00 out of the $400 budget and earmark it for these specific items. If I don't spend the entire amount, I will roll it into the next month's account, but still earmark it for sales. Hopefully, that account will build and allow me more flexibility.
All in all, I am happy with the results, but I am looking forward to finding more ways to cut the budget. We will see how it goes next month!