Fine Tuning Your Budget: Essential Consumables

by rabbitagent99

This a budgeting article about assessing how much you spend on essential consumables

Essential Consumables: Fine Tuning Your Spending Habits to Create a Budget..
The first step in budgeting is identifying what you absolutely need, how much it costs, and how often you need to purchase within your pay period. What I am suggesting involves an in-depth analysis of the frequency of your purchases.

When we think about what is happening to our money, it is the big purchases that stand out. Avoiding expensive non-essentials is easy because we automatically do the math. We pay less attention to purchases under $10 because the amount does not seem significant at the moment; these purchases add up quickly.

 
money
money

My first strategy in budgeting for my personal needs is to purchase all edible, body care and cleaning products on my once a month payday. To identify my rate of consumption,  I write dates on all bottles, bags, and containers. This is a long-term process of getting to the finer points of budgeting in order to anticipate meeting essential need. It also helps us to scrutinize and modify purchases that add up to significant spending. Groceries are not as straightforward as monthly; your utility bill reflects a period of time automatically. Your consumables need the same system. How frequent we purchase consumables also depends on shelf life and perishable.

 

 

"According to the dates I have written on milk cartons I require at least one carton of milk a week, so now I know I need to budget for  five cartons of milk a month. Additionally I may need to scrutinize this purchase if I am spending too much money on milk...."
milk
milk

By writing the date on perishables such as milk, butter, tofu and eggs I put a date on the package and was able to discover that these purchases vary from twice a week to once a month. One container of butter lasts two to four weeks, so at the beginning of the month I estimate needing to purchase butter twice and budget accordingly. If a second purchase of butter takes me over budget then I know that one tub of butter needs to last all month. According to the dates I have written on milk cartons I require at least one carton of milk a week, so now I know I need to budget for  five cartons of milk a month. Additionally I may need to scrutinize this purchase if I am spending too much money on milk. When writing out a budget, I may have to decide that I need limit myself to 3 cartons a month or even better make cashew milk from scratch.

 

"After one month of dating consumable packages including soaps, eggs, milk, nuts, coffee, sugar and grains. I begin to create a realistic food and hygiene budget....."

 

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Most of my perishables come from the farmers market, so in my budget I allocate enough to buy fresh fruits and vegetables until the following week.

 

After one month of dating consumable packages including soaps, eggs, milk, nuts, coffee, sugar and grains. I begin to create a realistic food and hygiene budget. I save the empty containers so that I can access how much was consumed that month and allow for the next month. For example, at the end of last month I had two empty bags of coffee, one was a pound and the other a half pound. This month, on payday, I bought a pound and a half of coffee. I will be measuring it each day to ensure it does not run out before the month is over. Containers that are not empty are also looked at to see how much is left and if it will last the rest of the month. This way I can decide if I need to make what is left in the package last or if I ought to purchase another container.

On the other end of the spectrum are less frequent purchases like shampoo, laundry soap, bulk grains and flour. Once I began dating packages, I realized that a bag of flour can last me a two to three months; anyone who bakes frequently will likely purchase flour more often. I have a house rabbit so I do laundry frequently therefore I consume laundry soap rapidly. This process is individually based on your lifestyle and subsequent spending habits. Not only does it make you aware of how much money you spend on consumables but also allows you to modify use to meet your budget needs to allow for all essential items.

 

 

It may take awhile to get used to purchasing dating your consumables. It is an important tool in developing awareness about your spending.  

eggs
eggs

This kind of budgeting is fine tuning and the experiencing the full benefit can take several months. Creating an awareness of what we consume, allocating money for it and prioritizing based on income will create a realistic budget for our most essential monthly purchases

When we spend money on merchandise like electronics or clothes we have a visual reminder of where our money went....Consumables add up quickly and without a system to keep track of these purchases we lose sight of how the money was spent.

 

cafe
cafe
Keep a track of your house expenditures using an easy budget created and maintained in Microsoft Excel.
Eating in restaurants adds up quick and often the food served is easy to prepare at home.




rest
rest
If your monthly budget is limited, consider cutting back on treat foods that you consume quickly.
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If your budget is limited consider cutting back on treats that you consume all at once.

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latte
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Updated: 12/20/2015, rabbitagent99
 
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candy47 on 10/28/2015

I don't buy frozen processed meals but I make dinners from fresh ingredients then freeze them. I always put dates on each. As you said, restaurant food can easily be made at home. Good article!

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