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Just can't get it right - Page 2

post #11 of 13
I just wanted to put my two cents in. I am new here to the forum, but not new to money concerns.

My husband and I have found that if we do not track every penny we spend we spend way to much! I made a budget in a spreadsheet program and print a new one the first of every month. Setting it up took some time but it keeps us on track.

Make a page for each type of spending. Example: Monthly bills you always have (mortage, car payment), Budget bills that you pay every few months (propane, newspaper, co-pays, prescriptions) Food, Gas, Misc (things that come up or that you want), and Left Over (this is the account your paycheck goes into).

Now figure out how much you spend weekly on each. Each week take out that set amount out of the Left Over account and deposit it into each various account. (This is all on paper, but seeing it makes you spend less). By doing this weekly it is easier to see when you have spent to much, or when you have extra. Remember when you deposit money place the amount in the Left Over account. When you spend money subtract that amount from the correct account. You will be suprised at how this makes you more accountable. Tracking every penny makes you aware of where each penny went. Remember to do all your checks and balances and you will be happy with the results.

I hope I did not confuse anyone.
post #12 of 13
I understand where you are coming from we too have a mortgage on 136K, similar income but not quite as much debt. It is tough but you need to do what you need to. One big thing for me is tracking I know where every penny goes. That helps me identify the problem areas are.
For example, Over the last 6 months we have spent $123 at our favorite coffee shop. Yes its a want but tuesday night coffee is also a fairly inexpensive family activity so it stays still when we go we are now ordering a drip coffee instead of latte's so we are paying 4 instead of 8 and its little things that add up.
Yes it took alot of adjustment. This last month I took a stand that we are no longer going to even think about using the CC to get by.
If the spending freeze isn't working change it so it does. Even if it means taking a few hours and planning out every detail of what you will be doing for the month. I have an activity budget and I base it off of what I have planned and not a lump sum. I try not to add spontanous I have a freezer full of food and I don't feel like cooking it nights.
Your budget is tough believe me I have a very similar one.
Cut the things you can live with out. Cell phone I went to a prepaid and that worked out to less then $15 a month. Cable TV is something we don't subscribe to.
The important thing is to cut where you can and know where your money goes.
Something we are planning on trying in 2009 is more paying yourself first. We just got a raise. It will pay for the added holiday expences and after the first a quarter of it will be dirrect deposited to savings, a quarter will go to the 401K (increase it when we can) and the other half to pay the debt down while keeping our strict budget and watching every penny.

If you would ever like post your budget these gals here know where it can be trimmed
post #13 of 13
I am working on the same thing. But this is what has helped with me.

Don't look at it as 3 week of no spending- take it day by day. If you work, plan your lunch and snacks. Plan your dinners. Set everything together so in a rush your not picking up stuff from the vending machines. -Planning

Set up a budget. I just sat down with my check register, credit card balances, bank statements, and bills. I set up a checking account for bills that are every month. Out of that I take grocery money which is 60 a week, gas money of 50 a week, spending money is 150 a month. I have another checking account set up for other bills that come up every few months, ex. Dr. appt, prescripitons, taxes, water bill, insurance. I have a savnings account sent up for the kids savings - a dollar a day. I also have a christmas club set up and my own savings.

I have everything automatically set up so I don't have to think out what bills are do and how much. I use cash and LOVE it. I've cut down on alot, shop more carefully and haven't used a credit card in almost 2 months- that's great for me. I have almost $33,000 in credit card debt to pay off.

I don't feel like I do without. I meeting all my goals and my kids learn where money is suppose to go and how to spend it carefully. They are learning not to waste and the cost of things.

You really need to look at the holes where you're spending. Ours with convience food and McDonald's. Also, it was just poor planning and just buying what I wanted and when I wanted. Things I do that help.

Make a menu- breakfast, lunches, dinners, snacks
Eating out - look for places that kids eat free or coupons
Set up everything auto-saves on checks, stamps and overdraft fees.
IF you use cash - save your money lef tover at the end of the week, purchase something you've wanted with the cash.
Consign your kids outgrown clothes and toys and use the money to repurchase new clothes.
Really look at what you really need and sell off what you don't- alot of my stuff just took up room and made more work for me.
Grocery- if you have a farmers market shop there. cut down on convience foods or make your own with snack bags or reuseable plastic cups, make your own lemonade and send to school in reuseable thermos.

There are ways to do this and you will get used to it and become like second nature. Good luck and you came to the right place
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