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I've been retired since January of this year and so far my actual spending has closely tracked to what I budgeted.

However, I've had a couple of "gotchas":

Dining out

I find that I spending more on eating out than I had anticipated, whether dining out with friends and family or going to a coffee house. Part of this is a desire to socialize since I'm no longer in the workforce.

To lower my dining costs, I've been doing the following:

- On occasion, I'll do a paid evaluation on a restaurant, which reimburses me for the cost of my meal and my guest
- I'm slowly shifting more of my socializing from expensive dining out to free or low-cost activities

I'll admit that even with after those efforts, I'm still spending more than I had anticipated.

Gasoline prices in my area rose to highest in the nation this summer and as a result I spent more than I had budgeted. I guess I got too used to cheap gas.

I'm trying to reduce the miles I drive by combining trips. In addition, I'm adding in the cost of gas when I make entertainment choses--ex: do I go to the dollar movie that is 15 miles away or do I take in a nearby maninee?

What are others doing to deal with budget "gotchas"?
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