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Wednesday, April 17, 2013 |

Blown the Budget? Plug the Spending Leaks

Our cross-country move is complete, and I have to say—we’re feeling a little (or a lot) lighter in the pocket.

Although most of our move was covered by relocation reimbursement from my husband’s new job, there were, of course, a lot of extra expenses that ultimately have added up. Additionally, we ended up spending more on certain things that weren’t necessarily “required”, but made our lives a lot easier. For example, we upgraded our seats on the plane to the “extra legroom” section so that we would have more space for the baby. Moving from Chicago to California with a five-month-old in tow is no joke!

All this is to say that we spent more than we expected. Now it’s time to get back on track. After a major spending period, like this, after the holidays, or after doing a major house project, I do like to go back to the basics with our finances. Here’s how:

1)      Review and revise our budget. We do keep a running monthly budget that I make adjustments to as needed. This month, a lot of money was getting shifted into the “Move” bucket, and out of things like “Savings.” Time to shift that back.

2)      Pay off our credit cards in full. We do this every month anyway, but when spending starts getting out of control, I still make a conscious effort to zero those balances out. It really helps for a fresh start, even if it may be painful to do.

3)      Go on a diet—a spending diet. This means eating in, being more mindful about impulse buys at the grocery store, and shutting down the Internet window shopping. No more mindless buying.

Thankfully, my husband’s not much of a spender, so it’s easy to implement these things. After a few weeks or months, we’re usually feeling like we plugged all the spending “leaks!”

How do you get back on track after making a lot of big purchases?

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