This is the first time a budget has worked for me, mostly because there is literally no possible way to mess it up.
It's the cash system that Dave Ramsey teaches about, but on a smaller scale tailored specifically to me and the way I spend. We now pay cash only for every purchase outside of our regular bills.
I am an impulse buyer by way of clearance Target shirts, overpriced coffee and Chick Fil A. I'm addicted to convenience since becoming a mom, and I can emotionally justify just about any purchase when I get to the end of my rope. I'll leave it to your imagination to determine how this affects our monthly spending :)
I've been married for seven years, and I've seen about a million and two friends jump on the Dave Ramsey band wagon in that time as I've tried to figure out how to handle money. Me not being a fan of bandwagons, I stayed away. Also being incredibly stubborn, I thought "I'll figure this out myself." Sometimes I did figure it out and would be awesome for a couple months, but usually would slip back into my bad spending habits much to the angst of my patient husband who would still be wearing shirts from high school if I didn't force him to buy new clothes. Frugal McFrugalson married Spendy McSpenderson. I make good jokes.
Here's my new magic system:
It all starts with this really great wallet I purchased from ReisPeices on Etsy.
But it's not just any wallet... it has six zipper pouches to separate the six areas I keep budgeted:
- Household items
- Play dates
- Eat out/ Date Money
So, I pay myself every week, but I don't necessarily spend everything I get paid. For example, we have $20/week budgeted for clothing for four people. That's $260 a year per person, which in my opinion is not a whole lot. But we are trying it and we'll see how it goes! I haven't spent any of it in the last three weeks, so I have $60 so far for when I need to buy the kids warmer clothes! I am also doing things like redistributing my weekly play date money that I don't spend to my clothes budget because I am not going to stockpile convenience money. Clothing: need. Play dates: convenience. So it's flexible, yet concrete; when I run out of cash, I run out of cash.
The other thing I'm doing that I've never done is keeping a spread sheet going of every item I buy at the grocery store.
This way, I know how much my grocery shopping trips will cost me to the dollar based on my meal plan for the week.
Yes, I really have 4,797 emails in my box.
Did I mention I'm bad at organization?
Which gives you an idea of what a big step it is for me to keep an actual spreadsheet of every grocery item I buy! ;)
We are back on gluten free $$$$$. But Costco is really helping with the cost, buying all our staples there and an onion here or spice jar there at Safeway.
So there is my budget system that actually works! What tips do you have for budgeting? Do you use a cash system? Any advice? What's working for you?