Friday, October 05, 2007

Budget Changes

We are making some serious changes to out budget. For one, with the dinner co-op, we don't have to buy nearly as much food. Granted, we have to buy 5 of whatever meal is me this week, and essentially cook for 30 people every Sunday instead of 5 people each day. But with such a small list (even if it is times 5) the grocery budget has been nearly halved. How nice!

So in the spirit of putting as much of our savings on the credit cards we have built up over dh's academy year, I have made this budget folder.



We work in cash envelopes. We have for months... which really helps keep us on track. Using debit and credit cards, it is SO easy to over spend. So now I have broken down the budget even more and separated it into categories... those categories have a set amount. When that amount is gone, it's gone. Period. That should help even more. I will adjust folders and amounts as I go, but for now, I feel like this is right.

Zero Based Budget... here I come.

10 comments:

Dina said...

great idea for the "envelope" system! we are just starting on our journey (cash, zero balance budget, etc.) and I am looking for all the helpful hints I can.

I love your blog(s)! I thought I should drop a line so you don't think I am a stalker!! :-)

Have a great day!
~Dina

Ter said...

Sounds great! I really want to work on our budget... but no idea where to start! We are not in heavy debt (we get by and are able to pay most of our bills every month but no extras and anything that unexpectedly comes up really pulls at our pursestrings) but I would like to have even less debt!

Shannon said...

Oh Val, you might like the book The Cheapest Family in America. They use a similar tactic for budgeting.

I've been successful with a spending journal. Really helps!

You might enjoy my post The Frugalmeister. I've realized how much we've basterdized frugal into cheap......where budgeting is considered tight.....when really, isn't something that's wrong with how we treat the world. I'm embracing being frugal again for my budget and for respect for resources.

Oh....toooo long a comment. Sorry! Shannon

Val said...

Getting out of debt is such a very personal issue. Because some will say you have an obligation to get out of debt as quickly as you can, and others will say that being comfortable while you are doing it is important... some will say that car loans are frivolous, and others will say they are a great way to not have to pay maintence on your car. lol... It is very personal... so I don't know how much advice I will throw around... but...

This is what we do.

We budget the entire pay period, paying bills with cashiers checks, or our banks online pay system, and using set amounts in cash for regular expences (like gas for commuting, groceries, Alex and Cyan's extras (Alex: Boyscouts, Cyan: Horsebackriding), and then a bit of extra for both Don and I, and $15 in ones for the kids allowance (two weeks worth). Then some "unplanned" money in the back of the folder goes for dinners out, clothes from Goodwill, things like that (at this point that is only $60 for us). When we take cash out of the envalope it belongs in, we put the recipt in the envalope. That way we are tracking spending.

Anything above the set amounts for these things above, we drop into a savings account and $25 in our checking at all times. We do this for two reasons: #1: if it is in the checking, we will be very likely to spend it. And #2: if it is still there the day before we get paid again, we put it ALL on debt. Sometimes we have to spend something out of it... but that all has to be planned, so it doesn't happen that often... but it does happen, and that way we are not putting those extras on credit.

All our credit cards stay at home. Hidden. At all times unless we talk about what we are using them for, and then we pull them out and put them back when we are done.

This is 90% of our plan.

I say "we" a lot in this plan, but that means "me". LOL! Don is on board, and never spends anything on cards at all. But he also isn't involved with much spending beyond his own. He is given his cash for the two week payperiod and then just has that... for gas, blow money, and everything else. If he forgets to make lunch it comes out of his extra money, if he wants an energy drink, it comes out of his blow money. The same is true for me...

Anyway... how about point for me for the longest comment ever! ;)

Val

Val said...

Shannon... I am going to check out that post... Sounds great. :)

Oh and I have the book America's Cheapest Family on hold from the library... is this the same one?

Val

Amber Mc said...

I use the exact same folder thingy for my cash and my system is almost identical to yours. Maybe I should send mine to you to decorate! :)

Val said...

Feel free to send me one Amber... I would be happy to decorate it for you. :)

Val

Brie said...

Your folder is beautiful!

I love our zero based budget and we also have our money sit in the account...if it's there the night before the next paycheck it is sent off=)

Shannon said...

It might be. Some of their tactics are a little too extreme for me.....(grocery store once per month)..but I did glean lots of little tidbits from them.

They do come at it from an extreme angle for finances, but I'm also incorporating thoughts of respect for resources and living simpler into how we do things.

I find it helps you step outside the direction of mainstream marketing based spendaholic culture. Tell me how you like it! Shannon

Val said...

I agree.... many people take it to too much of an extreme for me. Extreme Simplicy was like that for me. I reviewed it in my book review blog.

My favotire take on the lifestyle I enjoy the most is, The Simple Living Guide (Not at all like the magazine) by Janet Lhurs. She does a great job at talking about limits, and not making yourself uncomfortable and her own journey to find a balance between deprovation and being responcible.

I think that many other peoples views are going to be too much for us... you know? I mean, we are forced to be the perfect parents, think of everything, and be Martha Stewart hostess', the natural living queens... all the expectations can drive you wild. So I just make up my own way, and pull ideas from here and there to get new tools into my mix to make it work better.

It works for me. I like new books though... it always seems like tools that have been tried first by someone else tend to work better (at the least more efficiantly).

Val