I'm starting a new series called 'Pineapple questions' which are essentially questions from YOU!
I'm starting with questions I received in my yearly customer survey, but if you have a question you'd like me to answer, please comment or send me a message and I will add it in the mix.
Today's question: How to keep a family of 5 on budget, we're always going over.
Let me start with an unpopular opinion - it's hard no matter how many are in your household. But, yes, the more people in your household, the more you will see the benefits of staying on top of your budget.
Here is where I would start.
Document where your money is going. Is it because prices have gone up? Do you need to reallocate money from one category to another? Is it mindless spending? Is it lifestyle creep? I would either pull all your payments from the past month (or the past year if you really want to go all out) OR I would start today and track every single time I buy something. This helps you know where your money is going and you will also be more aware of when you're spending money, and how much. It's amazing how quickly it goes when you think, oh it's just $5, oh let me just buy this $15 item. But when you do that 2-3 times a week, it adds up!
I also highly recommend splitting your bills into mandatory and variable expenses. Mandatory expenses are those you need to keep your house running and living, but just the basics. For example, mortgage, gas, groceries, electricity, gas for your car, etc. Variable expenses are the extras - think Netflix, eating out, paying someone to mow your lawn, etc. My finances in a flash workbook goes over these items, and more, helping you get your finances on track and gives you an overview to see where you can start making changes.
If you're still over budget, see if there are any variable expenses you can cut. If the idea of cutting something out seems impossible, I suggest starting with ONE and agreeing that you can do it for one month and if you hate it and feel you need it back, then you can bring the expense back. Your choice.
For me, groceries are where money goes the quickest. I have moved to ordering groceries and picking them up at the store - not only does it save time but it keeps me on track with my budget. If you have your heart set on going into the store, or no stores around you offer online ordering, MAKE A LIST. Plan your recipes for the week, make a list of what you don't have and STICK TO IT. I get it. When I'm in the store, I have a tendency to think, oh that looks good and let me try that. And then my budget flies right out the window.
Another tactic is planning your meals based on what is on sale, and in the weekly flyer, from your local grocery store. Also, when I do this, I try to make sure I buy extra of what is on sale and then freeze it. Whether that means making a double recipe and freezing half or if you know you always go through ground beef or pork - buy a lot when it's on sale and then freeze it. I use a lot of ground turkey in my recipes so I will cook it all up and then freeze it and then list if it's 1 pound or however much is in there. That way I can just pull and defrost the amount of meat I need.
The thing with finances is that they're personal and it really comes down to personal needs, your finances, where you struggle and what you're trying to achieve. If you need more help, I recommend my finances in a flash workbook and if you need 1:1 help, sign up for 1:1 coaching.
You got this!