Feb 16, 2010

Budgets, Anyone?

Contrary to what many believe, "Budget" is not a four-letter word.

When my husband and I first met, I was definitely more numbers oriented. I discovered this when he showed me his checking account register. To my horror I saw that he was ROUNDING everything. His reasoning was that it would all balance out in the end.

I immediately took charge of the account.

A few years later we sat down to figure out a budget. His response when we finished creating the budget was, "I knew it. We can't afford to live on what we make."

The main trouble we've had in creating a budget is the fact that we are self-employed. There is no regular paycheck amount that we can plug into the categories. We may have a fantastic month and then three months later bring in $300. I've puzzled and puzzled as to how to create and maintain a budget with income that is always fluctuating.

Enter YNAB (aka You Need A Budget). I read the information on the website and it made SO much sense. I decided to spring for the program and see if it would work for us. I. Love. It. The major premise is to use THIS month's money to pay NEXT month's bills. It is working for us in a major way. I finally have a way to work around that waxing and waning income situation.

I love to read other people's budgets. It's fun to compare the priorities of different families. Sometimes it even provides inspiration. Rini shared her budget HERE. (Thanks, Rini!) I would love to see others, either left in the comments or a post on your blog.

Time to get to the bottom line for us. Below is our budget with our customized categories:

There are a few things missing, namely health insurance, dental insurance, and "personal" money. We have almost never had the insurances in our whole working careers, and we've cut out personal money for the time being as we are committed to bringing that debt down to zero. Someone has suggested we looking into HSAs, which I will be researching soon.

Homeschooling costs practically nothing as I don't use a boxed curriculum, but make good use of the Internet. (If you're interested in my homeschooling "methods," please visit my homeschool blog at Homeschooling "J".)

This is our bare bones, we're-violent-about-getting-out-of-debt budget. As the months go by, I will adjust as needed. I will also make a determination about HSAs and possibly make room for that as well, if it works for us.

OK, I showed you mine. Now show me yours! (BUDGET, of course!)


Packrat said...

Will have to check out that software. Sure I could use Quicken or Excel, but what fun is that? ;)

Dear People, airing "dirty laundry" here. You know how you hear horror stories about how one person (the one who takes care of the sick person for months) in the family gets shafted when a parent or parents pass away? Believe me, it happens - maybe not intentionally, but it happens.

Here is a rough monthly average:

Care-giving and estate expenses: $1000 (Since last May through this coming May at the earliest - maybe longer)

House payment (including taxes and hazard insurance but not mortgage insurance): $500

Second mortgage payment $300

Electricity: $300

Propane (supplemental heating): $100??? (We didn't fill the tank this year)

City Utilities (water, sewer, garbage, street lights) $100

Life insurance: $400 (includes mortgage insurance and loan payback)

Health insurance (we pay half): $700 This pays nothing until $3000 deductible has been met. Get better insurance? We have the best and least expensive available in our area. (Those stupid insurance laws...)

Medical bills: $40.00 minimum (This is daughter only.) Mammogram? Physical? Any body have a few extra hundred dollars lying around?

Telephones: (includes ours and daughter's cell phone): $160

Gasoline: $400???

Daughter (some groceries, gas money, clothes, car insurance): $300??? She has school money and some living money, but we still have to help.

Into savings: $100 (luckily, I can dip into this if I absolutely have to, but there isn't much to dip into)

One loan repayment: $300.00

Business expenses, parts, and stock: Varies, but runs about an average of $700 per month.

Other bills?


How do we make ends meet? My husband has 2 jobs and works 14 to 16 hours a day 7 days a week. When and if I ever get home, I might try to find a paying job. I am the bookkeeper for the business.

Anonymous said...

My husband is self employed and yes it is difficult to budget when you don't know what the income for the month with be.

Being that I work outside the home and therefore earn a "fixed" income, we make a spending plan based on that. Boy does it take some juggling to get in under that figure sometimes!

I'm so glad to see tithe and offerings at the top of your list. When we honor God with our money, he does miraculous things with what's left.

I won't type up a gigantic long post here, but those interest in how we budget, can take a look at the "money" section of my blog. Scroll about 1/2 way down to get to the budgeting parts.



Roxanne said...

Packrat--Thanks for sharing. Your situation is a great example of how EVERY family has a specific set of circumstances that need to be overcome in a creative way!

I just realized, in looking at your categories, that I forgot to add the garbage removal! I'd better adjust that on my budget.

Is your mom's house for sale? Will you be relieved of that expense some time in the near future?

Your husband is an amazing man to take on so much and work so hard. You're an amazing daughter to step up to the plate and take care of your mom like you did--AND continue to take care of the estate.

Bless you!

Roxanne said...

Trixie--Yes, Tithe and Offering is always first. I was a little hesitant about adding it because it gave the amount, but we do consider it the number one priority. That's why I combined them to make them less specific.

Your financial expertise was the first thing I discovered about your blog. FANTASTIC advice, every time!

Packrat said...

Roxanne, thank you. I see I forgot to add offerings. Oops. I didn't add internet and hobbies, either.

Mom's house isn't for sale - at least not the "public". I may sell my third to my brothers. I doubt I'd ever get the money, so we'll see what happens. LONG story. (Email me if you want to hear my tale of woe.)

Yah - my husband is amazing. He just works that way. If he wasn't working two jobs, he's spend all of his time on one. Truly? It drives me nuts, but right now I'm extremely thankful he's doing it.

Roxanne said...

Packrat--I'm glad y'all are sharing because I ended up adding THREE more categories that I'd forgotten

If you want to share your "tale of woe" I'd be glad to listen! You've got my address...

It sounds like your hubby ENJOYS his work. That's great! I'm sure you encourage him to rest, too. Sometimes men don't realize they need to do that LOL!

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