I just spent the last hour going over our spending from May, and- Holy Shartit’s slightly scary.  We didn’t do that bad for the most part but, as usual, our grocery spending bled over into our gas/misc category.  I hate it when that happens.  In the past, I’ve written about how I feed our family of four for around $500 per month and it’s totally true.  However, it isn’t always easy.  In fact, our spending occasionally creeps up to $550 or even $600.

Let’s face it.  Our family budget buster is- and always has been-food.  One of my guilty pleasures is buying organic fruits and vegetables, and that ain’t cheap, folks.  We are growing our first vegetable garden this year, and I am super hopeful that it will help us save on food towards the end of the summer.  Fingers crossed!  I have been really good about feeding my kids fruits and vegetables since they were babies, so I am thrilled that they eat them willingly.  However, they can eat $5 of fresh fruit in one sitting, and they often do. It makes me proud as a mother, but the financial aspect of it makes me cringe!

It seems like summertime hits us especially hard because our $500 monthly grocery budget has to stretch to include things like cookouts, social events, and booze.  Am I the only one who spends more on alcohol during summertime?  I never notice our alcohol spending during spring, winter, or fall, but summertime is almost always awful for our pocketbook.  I think it’s because we’re more likely to go to cookouts where we bring alcohol to share with other people. In other words, our friends are total lushes.  We also seem to drink more often when it’s warm and beautiful outside.  Wintertime is when we typically spend our miscellaneous funds on movie rentals and entertainment.  Oh, and vacations.

Squashing Our Budget Buster….Kind’ve

This is where I would typically tell you how I am going to cut our grocery spending to stay within our monthly budget.  However, I decided to do something else that would take the stress off of us without ruining all the fun.  For the rest of the summer, I’m going to bump our grocery budget up to $600 per month.  That way we can go to cookouts, indulge a little, and have some fun without me constantly feeling like a budget failure.  That’s no fun. 

After summer is over, I’ll reassess.  Exciting stuff, huh?

What Are Your Guilty Pleasures?

What is your family’s guilty pleasure?  Most of our friends like sporting events and attend them regularly, and I have to assume that hobby is expensive.  Not only do you have to buy tickets for each event, but you have to pay for gas to get there, splurge for parking, and do ridiculous things like pay $8 for a beer and $6 for a hot dog.  No thank you.

Oh, and people in my new neighborhood drop some seriously fat cash on their yards.  I’m talking custom landscaping, fancy potted plants all over, weekly lawn treatments, and coy ponds.  My next door neighbor’s backyard seriously looks like something you would find in a magazine.  I think it’s beautiful and I’m sure they can afford it, but I know that kind of upkeep isn’t cheap!

We all have budget-busters, and my family’s guilty pleasure is definitely food and drink. I don’t think it’s the end of the world, but I also want to make sure we don’t let it get out of hand.  After all, we shouldn’t let guilty pleasures get in the way of our long-term goals, am I right?

What is your family’s guilty pleasure?  Which of your budget categories sometimes get out of hand?