Budget vs. Extra Bucks

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2015 is the year of getting out of debt, hence it’s the year of creating a budget and sticking to it. At the end of the budget, at the end of the year, there will be great freedom and rejoicing. Hosanna and Mazel Tov!

Day One:

I had a $20 budget to go to CVS and pick up three things. Not five things. Three Things. CVS is going to be the death of me. They offer “Extra Bucks” if you spend a certain amount on certain products. If you aren’t familiar with “Extra Bucks,” they are coupons you can use as cash on anything in the store. I go to CVS at least once a month, so I can always use those “Extra Bucks.”

My shopping list consisted of three things:

Lipstick – $10 with a coupon for 10% off = $9

Excedrin – $10 with a coupon for $1.50 = $8.50

Conditioner – $2.99 but on sale for $1.99

So, my total would be $19.49.

This shopping trip would be a piece of cake. I would plop my $20 bill on the counter and get change back. Perfect! On budget! Pride exuding through my pores as if I’d just climbed to the peak of the financial summit!

article-2179504-143EA986000005DC-698_964x640Here’s what really happened…

The lipstick had a special. “Spend $15, get $5 in Extra Bucks”

The Excedrin had a special. “Spend $25, get $10 in Extra Bucks”

I could buy two tubes of lipstick which I will certainly use, and I could buy Excedrin in the $10 size and the $15 size to make $25. And who wouldn’t want “Extra Bucks?” I have no control. My budget wasn’t foremost in my mind. I was tempted by how much I would save, and I was led willingly and joyfully into the pit of the serpent.

IMG_20150114_091403752I bought:

Two lipsticks for $18 after my 10% coupon

A year’s worth of Excedrin for $23.50 after my $1.50 coupon

Conditioner for $1.99 on sale

Total cost $42.49

I got $15 Extra Bucks to spend at a later date, and the way I see it, I don’t have to spend $20 on lipstick and Excedrin anytime in the near future.

If you take the $42 I spent minus the $35 I won’t have to spend in the future, that means my $20-budgeted shopping trip only cost me $7. Right? Then how did I spend $22 more than I had planned to?

Trophy husband says you can’t look at sales when you’re on a budget. You have to stick to the budget. The sales will still be there when you’ve reached your financial goal, but for now, ignore them. I told him I can’t do that. I’m a woman and it’s in my DNA to take advantage of a good sale.

Ugh. This had been so traumatic, I actually wrote a blog about it. Somebody tell me how to do this. I have a sneaking suspicion that trophy husband is right. There can be no wheeling and dealing when the budget says what the budget says. Stick to the budget like it’s the law. Am I right? Has anyone out there done this before?