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Old 05-16-2002, 10:06 AM
sue witt's Avatar
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tell me how you do it?

I have read every budget book on the market and i know about debt reduction but i need to know how do do my budget. Does that sound stupid or what? i go on the internet all of the time and look at stuff for budgets done samples done my homework and nothing seems to add up to me. i have pulled my self out of credit card debt almost. it is easy to set down and plan a budget but it is very hard to excute one do you know what i mean. hubby works and makes more than enought to support us but and i relized the money that i was makeing we just blew it i guess i need to be more responiable, but how? it seems everything i do i do wrong. got any ideas?
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Old 05-17-2002, 08:10 AM
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GREAT that you are about paid off on the credit card debt!

It sounds as if your question isn't so much "how do I make a budget," but "how do I STICK to a budget?"

To make a realistic budget, I started off with looking at exactly what we were spending on NOW. Spend a month recording every cent you spend. I made it a rule to only write checks, so I have a record of it handy. Where are you blowing it and what do you feel you really can't live without? It will be a surprise, I'm sure.

Hubby was, at the time, getting a large diet soda twice a day at a convenience store. $50 a month right there, AND some of that was going on a gas credit card! I'm not saying he can't have it, I'm just saying that if he's bound and determined to buy that, I had better put it in the Real Budget. Once you work out the Real Budget, then you can put everyone on allowances. Now you budget hubby X amount per week, including his sodas, it is being accounted for. If you don't include the stuff that is being bought without accountability, you won't be able to make a Real Budget that you can live with.

Will it involve cutting expenditures? Probably. Sit and brainstorm how to do that. I used to stop for a gourmet coffee or ice tea before going to work, when I worked. I felt I needed the caffeine to get through the day! Buying a large insulated mug and filling it from home saved more than half the cost.

Many budgets fail because there are no allowances for FUN. Be sure to budget for entertainment. Budgets can fail because they don't allow for saving up for emergencies. I remember budgetting to put aside a sum each week towards auto repairs, which we don't have every month. But then I'd notice I had some extra cash on hand and we'd blow it on something, and then when the brake job was needed, I didn't have it available! And what happened? That went on the handy-dandy credit card. NOT a good way to operate! Do you do that for clothing? You may spend $600/year on clothes, but you generally don't spend it as $50/mo. It's a big chunk for back-to-school or spring, and let's not even talk about shoes.

We recently refinanced our mortgage and for the first time ever, we don't have a PITI loan with an escrow acct that pays the property taxes and insurance. I just set up an account at the bank where I transfer 1/12 of the total annual cost of that each month, so when the taxes and ins. are due, the money is there. This is the way you handle putting money aside for future expenditures. The old-fashioned Christmas Account is another way to do this... put $$ aside each month through the year so you have it for Christmas shopping. In the past, some of our mothers and grandmothers budgeted this way with envelopes and cash. They would take the pay check and put X amount in the food envelope, Y amount in the clothing envelope, Z amount in the rent envelope, etc. It's not so safe anymore to do that with cash, but the basic premise is still totally sound. Just remember that because there is money in the account, doesn't mean it is available to spend right now.

Hope that helps!

Rani
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Old 05-17-2002, 01:45 PM
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Help With Budgeting

Sue,

Welcome!! I have gone through exactly the same thing a number of years ago -- when I quit work, we lost 2/3 of our income. I did get transcription to do at home, which helped to pick up the slack, and it was amazing how we actually made out better financially with me at home. (No extended daycare; no fancy clothing; much less car gas and maintenance; less nylons!!)

What I did was very simple: my hubby gets paid twice a month. So I divided the bills in half and allowed half the house pmt. out of each check; half the utility budget out of each check, and so on. This may work for you, and it's been very simple for me.

To figure out what utility bills run, just keep track of what they usually amount to for the month. I added a bit of a cushion for flex, and just divided the amount in half. Same with food and toiletries, car gas, and any installment type payments like life and auto insurance. This way, since I budget in a certain amount for auto insurance, eyeglasses, and life ins. in each check, when the bills come in quarterly or semi-annually there's no surprises.

Bottom line: you have to figure out what your basic expenses will be and then how you want to divide them.

I have a piece of paper in the front of our checkbook that I keep updated with what we have left for food, car gas, etc., out of that paycheck. That way I know what we have to have in our checking account for that half-month to meet expenses.

I also have our utility bills deducted from our checking account. All of them except the phone company do this. They all had a sign-up form and you picked a date when they'd be deducted. I was also able to average the gas and electric bills once we'd been in our house a year. This has really helped, because I can see if we are ahead or behind and send in an extra payment or request the amount be decreased accordingly. This way, we don't get hit with high heating or cooling bills.

Budgeting does not have to be complicated -- my method has worked for year and is super-simple. Since my hubby works long hours and I'm at home (disabled now) I handle the budget, so I just keep him up to date on what's happening. I have a small piece of paper in our desk drawer that shows what needs to be paid out of each check, and that way he can look and see where the money's going.

Also, if you can, please allow money for savings. We have this automatically deducted from his paycheck, and it's been a life-saver over and over again! In fact, if you pay certain things annually or even quarterly, you may want to have this amount put over into savings. You get interest on the $$ then; it's not tempting you in the checkbook; and you can transfer it to checking when it's due to be deducted. (In fact, some places now will even deduct these things from your savings account!! That way you don't even have to have much in checking.)

Good luck with your budgeting, and don't hesitate to email me or post a reply if I can be of further help. I love helping people with budgeting, home and office organization and clutter control, so bring it on!!

Many blessings,

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Old 05-18-2002, 02:22 AM
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I just heard this three different places on television the other day (All shows are about money)

If you are paying a bill once a month, try this..... if you pay half the minimum balance every 14 days (instead of once a month), you will have that bill paid off in 1/4 the time earlier.
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Old 05-18-2002, 10:51 AM
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making a budget

One of the greatest budget helps I've used to date
is the "Budget Map". It's a cheque book with two sections
- one for chequing and one for savings. It gives you
directions for setting up your budget. They work on the premise
that you either spend your income or you save it. Budget Map
is about $20 US. They have instructions on how to use the plan
with a spouse. It comes with 3 checkbooks and a budget workbook
in a box the size of a box of checks. It talks about setting goals, developing a monthly budget and summarizing your budget into the cheque book columns. It's absolutely fantastic and will stop you looking on the internet for more ideas, thereby saving you time and
dollars looking for more help.

Larry Burkett also has an excellent site from Crown Financial Ministries
that shows you the approximate percentages you should set aside
for your expenditures, along with an online budget guide.

Shy of all that, keep a simple three column journal every day of expenditures. Agree with your that he drop his receipts into a basket for you at the end of each day. He should also tell you if he needs cash from the bank so you don't lose track of that. Discuss at the end of each week what's been happening. Write down these expenses in the journal and you will have a good idea of what's happening. However, I would recommend that each working adult have only $50/month for personal stuff such as lunches because that way some will have to be made at home.

Here's the categories I've used based on the budget map system:
Tithe and Giving; FOOD -home, work; CLOTHING; HOUSE - mortgage, repair, taxes; CAR - payments, gas/oil, repairs, parking; INSURANCE - house, car, life, medical; UTILITIES - electric, gas, water (well or dugout servicing), phone; entertainment; SAVINGS - vacation, education for kids, christmas gifts, other gifts, emergency fund, retirement fund, payments on mortgage principal; OTHER - postage, magazines, haircuts, cleaning, miscellaneous.

It stands to remain that our priorities for the paying bills and planning the budget should be:
Housing incl insurance and taxes, food, utilities, transportation to work. If these are way out of line, then you will have difficulty having money for all the other budget demands.

Since you've spent a lot of time on the internet getting information, you are well on your way to doing it right.

Take care. You can do it.
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Old 05-18-2002, 06:38 PM
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One thing we do is have a savings account for the non-monthly payments. Some examples are our house payment (its on a contract), life insurance, car insurance, & real estate taxes. We put in $XXX every month (dh gets paid monthly). It is the total of the non-monthly payments for the year divided by 12. When they need paid, we just transfer to our checking account. We don't have a maximum on transfers per month, but we do two max. That way we aren't really scrimping because the ____ was due this month & we don't spend money that really isn't to be spent!

A former co-worker did this on an expanded basis. She included an amount for back-to-school and vacations. She was an inspiration!
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Old 05-19-2002, 11:51 AM
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If you are computer savy, I would recommend a computer software program like Quicken. I keep track of everything we spend, and can make a report to show me where all of our money is being spent. Our biggest challenge is our dining/fast food category. We really need to decrease this a little as it is not a necessity but a splurg.
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Old 05-21-2002, 08:02 AM
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The book Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey goes into a great amount of detail about budgets. His book and his website, www.daveramsey.com have many forms that may help.
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Old 07-04-2002, 08:09 AM
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Thank you for the helpful tips on creating and maintaing a budget for our family!!

Thank you for the helpful tips on creating and maintaing a budget for our family!!
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Old 07-07-2002, 04:04 PM
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$$$ Issues -- "Tell Me How You Do it"

Hey, everyone has submitted some wonderful ideas and resources.

If I may, I'd like to add another internet resource to the list. This would be crownministries.org, which originated from Larry Burkett's' ministry. It is absolutely wonderful! Many good links, ideas, and it is super-simple to understand and use.

I must run (I have not been well lately) but thanks to everyone for all the help with finances. We all need a financial checkup from time to time!

Prayers!!

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