I've never tried to stick to a real budget ever before in my life, but Justin and I have made it a goal this summer to do so. Starting in May, we've set out this general budget for our family each month. May was the first month and that was the only month we went over (-$23).
We started this with the intention to use it as practice for once I am a stay at home mom (still probably a couple years down the line), just to see if we could make it work. It has been our little experiment for the summer. We're unsure if it's going to become part of our everyday life or not.
Some stuff to note:
We did some concrete and yard work over the summer, but we did not include any of that in the budget. We considered that a one time cost and not an everyday thing.
We also don't include our mortgage, which is probably strange to most people. The mortgage is not just another bill to us. It is the primary payment we make. Everything extra goes toward it.
We have no other debt. No student loans, no credit card debt, no car payments, etc.
Here are our general categories, but we don't strictly stick to them, they're just a way for us to kind of monitor what's going on, more like guidelines.
$100 car insurance
$50 kid stuff
"Total survival budget": $1250
It just really goes to show you how much we were spending on totally unnecessary junk. Reading a lot of minimalism articles and tidbits on Pinterest has helped me change my outlook too. We are not minimalist, I totally don't ever think I could do it, but the concepts have really helped me in this time of change.
Since implementing the budget, I feel like we both think more about our purchases. I do not feel like we're missing out on life by sticking to this. We still get out and do things. For me personally, I ask myself if something is truly necessary before buying. I still treat myself every once in awhile, but I'm not heading to Target "just to walk around" when I'm bored anymore.
I hope this is helpful in some way. I hope it helps to see actual numbers, even though it's different for every family and location.