Another one of my resolutions this year was to really sit down and go through our finances and pinpoint where all our money is going! I used to pride myself on being really thorough and organized.... well not anymore. Let's be honest here. We live on one income and it is not always easy.
I will be the first to admit that I have a bit of a shopping problem. Now, when I was working full time as well, this wasn't much of a problem. It was no biggie to drop a little bit here and a little bit there. Now, it's a huge deal if I am not conscious of every penny! Of course, that is fine and we all have to make sacrifices and these are sacrifices I gladly and willingly make.
However, as the end of the year approached I noticed our savings beginning to dwindle more and more. With Christmas and birthdays and vacation things got a little out of hand and I decided I needed to sit down and get it back on track. Now, before we just made estimates of what we thought we were spending on groceries and entertainment and so on. I sat down today and went through a suggested budget on Dave Ramsey's total money makeover site. It was such a helpful tool to give me good guidelines. I felt like these were realistic numbers for us and something we could really do if we stuck to it. I like the idea of using envelopes and keeping a pre-determined amount of cash in each. When it's gone it's gone! I don't know about you, but when I have to hand over cash and not a debit card I have a much harder time parting with it, and think twice about what I am purchasing.
So, with a plan of action in hand I headed over to Mint.com (which is amazing, as well). You link up all of your accounts and it creates a budget and categorizes your spending. Let's just say that what I thought I was paying for groceries was WAY off base. You know a few trips here and there really add up! I was shocked! I realized now that this is going to be harder than I thought. Sure, I have a budget that I feel will be workable but when I actually see right in front of me how we have been spending our money the last few months I am very disappointed. I know we can do so much better.
So, I drew up a budget with a little bit of wiggle room and I am hoping that we can stick to it. I really like the idea of cash envelopes and think I will implement that into how we pay for things. A few months ago I surrendered(on my own!) my credit card over to the hubby because I don't even want the temptation in my wallet. I really want to pay down our debt and build up our savings!
I will have to let you know how it goes! What are some of the ways you budget or do you have any good tips for me?