Jan 19, 2012

Yes, Virginia, I CAN Budget!

Source (already sold)
Who knew? 

I have tried to use a budget for years but always came to the conclusion that I never had enough money to make a budget work.  With our sporadic income and the debt load, we just cut things to the bone and became poster children for frugality.  It seemed silly to make up numbers for "groceries," and "entertainment" only to have them pretty much never work out.

Well, it was a new year and, doggone it, I was going to make it work this time!

I came up with a two-fold system that seems to have fixed the problems I've been having:

ONE:  I have separated out a "Household Budget" from the rest of our money.  I determined what I needed to take care of the four areas needed to make the day-to-day stuff function:  My van gas and car washes, our clothes, our food, and miscellaneous household expenses like toothpaste and batteries.  I came up with a figure that would provide enough money to take care of these areas using my penny-squeezing abilities.  I separated that money into a new saving account and use one credit card designated for Household.   The money is there at the beginning of the month.  When that credit card comes in, it is paid off immediately.

TWO: I update the budget DAILY.  Every receipt is instantly recorded.  I know at all times what's happening with our finances.

The rest of the money that comes in is recorded in a different budget for General Expenses.  That one gets updated constantly as well.

It seems to be working.  What a relief of stress this is.  I don't know why I didn't figure this out sooner, but I'm so thrilled that it is finally established.

Like I said, who knew?


weenie_elise said...

Updating a budget straight away is what worked the best for us. Then you know exactly what money you have left. There are a few good free apps for smart phones you can use. Otherwise a pen and paper work just as well.

Roxanne said...

Weenie! I was just thinking about you yesterday when we were doing geography.

I use a computer program for one budget, and pencil and paper for the other. I've just barely entered the 21st century and have a basic cell phone that pretty much just makes phone calls.

If I had IPhone, I would definitely take advantage of a budget App. For now I just have to use my IPaper.

BTW, did you vote on the poll? If you did, could you come back and re-vote? I changed it to allow 2 answers per person.


weenie_elise said...

ohhh, 2 answers per person. Awesome!

K Quinn said...

We have a silly number of accounts and no credit cards (we had a horror of debt when we married). I keep balance on paper and computer. They NEVER jive with the banks records. 14 years and NEVER. But strangely I always know what is there. It does help to know what you can spend where. I finally gave myself a grocery budget because we spend waaay too much on food. Waiting for your post so I can get some tips.

Roxanne said...

K Quinn--Until we were in our mid-30s the only debt we ever had was college debt that we paid off so fast there was smoke!

I HATE being in debt. It really is like a type of slavery. When we get this done, NEVER AGAIN.

Groceries have been pretty low this month because I've been cooking out of my stocks. Still, the sales aren't what they used to be. Now if I could just get my garden to actually produce next year...!

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