Home » How Do You Refine Your Budget Without Falling Back into Overspending?

How Do You Refine Your Budget Without Falling Back into Overspending?

Ok, we’re on day 11 and it’s going well so far, pretty much.  But we’ve come across a situation that calls for some revision to our original budget.  This is freaking me out just a bit, only because I don’t want to get into a habit of allowing too many revisions, you know?

The Situation

So, if you’ve read our budget at all, you know that entertainment money was a no-no on the original budget list.  And if you read our post the other day, you know why that’s probably a good idea for us if we’re to truly get a handle on things.

Let’s just say that we’re recovering from having very little self-control (and the sad part is, I really thought we did have some self-control) in the area of dining out.

Enter, the wrench in our plans.

The oldest of our “youngins” turned 13 this year, and she’s having a rough time of it, dealing with all of the changes/hormones etc., that come along with the transition from child to adult.  Lots of tears and misunderstanding about why her emotions are so “wackadoodle” as she likes to say.  (Can I just say I love that word?  She made that one up when she was about 6).

She’s such a great kid: kind, considerate and just an all-around well-behaved kid, so it’s really difficult to see her struggling in this way.

She is also desperately needing an abundance of love and attention right now, which we will gladly shower on her.  However, one of the things that she finds great pleasure in is going out to eat once in a while with mom or dad.  And I feel it’s important that we allow for some of this in our budget, especially because it’s not her fault we’re in the mess we’re in.

But given my “addiction” to eating out, and my slight obsession with being the best mom ever, I can see that if we aren’t careful in how we add an entertainment budget back in, we could be in trouble.

So, my question is, how can I refine our budget to include some dining out but yet not let it get out of hand?  What tips do you have for handling money and budgeting in an area that’s been a problem in the past?  Any thoughts?



  1. If your daughter wants quality time with her parents, maybe you could do a dinner/game night once a week/month. She could help you prepare the meal and you can rotate on who chooses the game/movie ect…
    This way she can receive quality time with her parents and you won’t blow the bank.
    We just started a 2013 budget and last week my car needed $600 in repairs. Luckily we had a surplus from last year and we added it to the repairs. But you can’t let a set back keep you from moving on.
    Good luck!

    • Laurie says:

      Love that idea, Justin, but since she’s really wanting alone time and we’ve got 3 other younger kids, that can be a problem sometimes, as we don’t have family nearby to watch the others. But I think you’re right: we can find other things to do at home maybe that won’t cost so much but still foster her love of eating out.

      Thanks for the tip and for the encouragement, Justin. It’s a great help to newbies like us in the area of budgeting!

  2. michelle says:

    when the weather improves, a fancy packed ‘picnic’ would be special and inexpensive. or, decide an amount that you are willing to put aside so that you can set aside a special envelope for just that task.
    i saved up for a surprise b-day ‘night out’ by shaving a $15/week off my budget. I took it out cash, put it in an envelope (so i wouldnt spend it) and saved for a year. I was able to buy a very nice dinner out and evening at a luxury hotel for just the two of us and hubby didnt have to worry about $$ even once. It was all paid for!

    she might also be happy just spending alone time with one of you at a time. a rootbeer float with dad or a special coffee with mom at the coffee shop. it doenst have to be a 5 star meal, its the time alone that counts….and that way you dont have to pay for a sitter.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks for the tips. I love the idea about the coffee shop or malt shop, and the picnic idea is a great one too! We’ve got lots of wooded areas and parks up here that would be great for a hike and a picnic – thanks!

  3. Aly says:

    Do your family buy you birthday gifts? If so why not ask them to give you gift cards for resteraunts instead then use them with your daughter?

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