I decided to make December my "test" month for trying out the envelope system. I put $150 in my Groceries envelope and $200 in my Eating Out envelope. We're now a little more than halfway through the month and here's how it's looking so far...
I've spent $104.62 on groceries so far, of which $14 was for vanilla extract that will probably last me for the next two years and $7 was for pure entertainment of friends (some chips and dip). It's gonna be tough to stick to this and I may have just allocated too little to this envelope. Especially with cooking Christmas Eve dinner and co-hosting a New Year's Eve party. I only have $45.38 left and the standing rib roast I want to make will likely take up $25 of that even with the meat on sale this week. Hmmm... Maybe if I can spend less in the eating out department... How's that looking?
Tonight was my major outing for the month, an annual Christmastime tradition of eating $18 AMAZING grilled cheese sandwiches at Campanile. Add wine, cheese as dessert and a mandatory gratuity for a large party (not that they don't deserve it because the service at Campanile is excellent!) and you've got yourself a $50 dinner. I am proud of myself for not falling into the valet trap. I found street parking for free, a block away, while everyone else paid $6.50 plus tip for valet parking. I will gladly walk two blocks to save $8 dollars for nothing. I had planned on spending up to $60, so I am happy that it was only $50.
Back to the progress report... I've spent $104.86, so I'm on track to be OK for the month if I don't go crazy. I've been invited out for drinks tomorrow night with one group of friends and dinner with another... I might have to skip one or both if I want to have leftover money to put towards extra groceries and party supplies.
I'm happy with the budgeting. I've been taking some ribbing from friends, but I can take it. It's my money and sure, I might look cheap sometimes, but at least I am in control of what I'm spending and more importantly, I'm consciously spending my money. The envelopes definitely help with this because seeing the money in the envelope and writing down on the outside of the envelope exactly how much I spent helps me keep an eye on it. I've also been enjoying cooking more at home. It makes me feel more productive. It's a nice feeling.