18 Comments

  1. Betts

    I think you need to expect spending to go to up when you have a kid. If you’d gotten a cat, you’d have new lines of vet bills / pet food / insurance and it would be really obvious the cost of the cat. Kids stuff is harder as it’s extra people food and, as you’ve mentioned more laundry.

    So I would look at what you have to give up to get back into budget (I wouldn’t want to wash my kids clothes less in the winter as it’s mud and food everyday, but I don’t bath them every day eg)

    Same for the fun money particularly – if splitting it 3 ways means you’re all missing out on stuff that makes life worth living, that needs to change if you can, if it’s stuff you don’t value much, cut back.

    There’s also actual inflation to consider, so costs will have gone up in 4 years and that may partly explain the water bill eg?

    Just my 2c 🙂 All the best!

    • Oh, the laundry! LOL

      You’re right, though. I think I will pay close attention to this month if we go over and *why*. You’re right that we don’t want to miss out!

  2. How are you dealing with inflation or cost increases due to trade wars?

    In a month or so we have a related post on If one should lifestyle inflate just because one can. I still don’t know the answer. I do know these past couple years have been full of delayed spending (cars, renovation, appliances) happening all at once.

  3. I vote for adjusting your budget! What you spend on groceries is incredibly low so bumping it up a bit seems reasonable now that you have a whole extra person. Same for the spending category. I have a separate kiddo spending category from our own. It’s for toys, treats, school stuff, teacher gifts, etc. Sounds like you’re doing great in all the areas of saving and investing. I think giving yourself a little extra room in your budget will have a positive psychological effect since you won’t see it as “exceeding your budget” every month anymore.

  4. It’s sooo hard to say because it’s a very personal decision. I think it does make sense that your budget would grow a little with a 3rd person, but I think it’s a trial and error, adjust month to month until you get to a point of where things are working for you all.

  5. My two cents…increase the budget in the areas of true needs – water and food. It makes sense that 3 people are going to use more than 2, and your budget should reflect that. For the spending, might it be logical to set a separate category and budget for HP spending?

    If that’s what’s consistently causing you to go over the $300 bust it out and keep tabs on it separately. Or just keep it simplified and adjust the amount up, cause yes it makes sense you’ll have to modify your budget post kid. 🙂

    • I think it mostly is him that pushes us over in our general spending category. And it’s also me because he doesn’t actually ask to buy himself new pajamas, you know?! So you’re probably right that I should just keep an eye on that! 😀

  6. Thomas A Waffle

    I new to a more granular budget tracking and used to rely on the total I saw leave the bank each month. It’s been good for us to keep an eye on spending and we’re really upped our saving by doing it. However, I created our budget by tracking spending over 12 months then identifying if any of the categories were costing us more than the value we gained. Basically we cut back on personal spending, random household goods spending, grocery and eating out. But I recognize that these budget lines can’t stay static. There are costs that we can’t control like inflation and municipal fees. Our water/sewer/garbage bill has increased 60% over the last 10 years and 4.5% in the last year but our usage has remained the same. It’s an extreme example but all of those increases are due to price and fee increases by the city so we’ve had to adjust our budget. Same with our internet – a year ago it was $63 and now it’s $68/month. And with groceries I noticed that the milk that used to be 1.79 a gallon is now 2.39. Seeing these set costs increase helps me recognize that some of our flexible costs are probably increasing too. And we don’t even have a new kid in the house to account for. (We do have a dog that cost an extra $4k in medical last year so that was our budget buster).
    On my master budget spreadsheet page (separate from the monthly tracking budget page of course) I’ve started including the federal COLA for each year. I know that inflation doesn’t increase evening across all categories but it helps give me a benchmark for my total annual spending increases to see if it looks like lifestyle inflation or just regular inflation.
    And that grocery spending? Man, I don’t know if it’s regional differences, or that I just eat too much cheese but we’re having a good month if we keep groceries under $400/month for 2 people (which does include $40 for dog food – maybe I should get smaller dogs…)

  7. Sonia C.

    You will have no choice but to adjust your budget every year. There are things you can’t control with children. Wait until he gets invited to birthday parties…

  8. You seem to be consistently meeting your spending goals, so I would vote for increasing your budget. You’re talking about a very small amount that you can afford in response to a totally reasonable extra expense (a whole other person with needs and wants!). You’ve internalized the value of saving, and you’ve been very deliberate with your spending for a long time, so I can’t imagine that adding $50-100 to your budget will be the start of a habit of increasingly reckless spending.

  9. Definitely increase the water budget. It sounds like you’re doing what you can, and still coming in over budget which is a sign that your number isn’t realistic.

    Like the others, I’d vote that the grocery bill needs to be upped too. As for the rest, that’s a judgement call. It makes sense that you might need to spend a little more now that HP is cognizant of his wants and needs a little more often. But it could definitely lead to lifestyle inflation if you’re not careful. Then again, you’re a careful gal so maybe you should just trust in your frugal instincts.

  10. Elizabeth

    Giiiiirl. Bump up your budget categories! Especially on water (and other utilities). The cost is the cost. You can try to reduce use as much as you want, but budgeting is just projected spending. Planned spending. If you KNOW your bill has increased over the years (which is completely 100% normal and to be expected), then put that S**t in the budget and move on! This goes for any utility or basic necessity – medicine, electricity, health insurance, home insurance, gas, garbage, phone, et al. The cost is what it is, to a large degree.

    Grocery budget – boom – make it $300. That’s right. Push it even HIGHER. Give yourselves a little treat (fresh flowers, dessert, organic stuff you used to buy conventional, more premade or frozen options, designer cheese for a little date night cheese board) and pat yourself on the back for a relatively low cost but lifestyle enhancing budget addition. $300 for 3 humans per month – assuming you aren’t in consumer debt or negative cash flow each month – is completely fine and normal if you are meeting your other savings goals.

    Change your budgeting mindset. There is a difference between budgeting and tracking spending. I track my spending meticulously – in hindsight – and I “budget” in the sense that I project my expected spending each year (not month) and set up those categories in Mint. But if I get off base, I don’t worry one bit or change course or stop myself from spending more in that category. So I can’t say I ‘budget’ in a restrictive sense of giving myself $X and stopping cold turkey when the money runs out. But I don’t have to – we save 40-50% of our income. And it sound like you don’t have to either (though I don’t know all your details).

    When I exceeded my dining out budget for 2 years in a row by exactly the same margin, I simply increased my budget category for that for the next year. If I’m not going to make myself change my behavior, I may as wall make sure my budget projections are honest.

    Oh, about that fun money. You and your spouse probably need more spending money over time, not less. You don’t need to share that with a baby/toddler/kiddo. That new person may eventually need their own category for fun money. But y’all do not need to be lumping all that in together and splitting a couple or three hundred bucks a month. Kids come with new budget categories! Add them as you will, but leave room for yourself in there too.

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