Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Budgeting Failure!

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 (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?


  1. Here is one tip- write down everything you buy. Everything! It helps you see where the money is really going (not just by categorized trips, like this much went to groceries, but really where it went!) Also- things you find while shopping that aren't under the "need" category but the "want/think we need", wait to get. Usually waiting helps you decide if you really truly need it. I've found I can make a lot of things cheaper than I can buy them for things at the grocery store, or find a healthy substitution instead (like, kids fruit snacks. Way too easy! But chopped up fruit works great too. Unless you're on the go ;) ) Planning too for fun is great because that way you're not unexpectedly taking a chunk out. It's still along the lines of the envelope idea. Just make one "fun money" and add some money to it every month. Dave Ramsey is awesome! We took the classes a year ago or so and loved it!

  2. Oh! One more tip- if there is something specific you really want to get, save for it. ;-) Or if you just want to see savings add up. Choose something extra to cut back on (cut back on not cut out ;-) ) and anytime you make the decision to not buy it, put the money that you would have spent on it in savings or fun money and watch it add up! Those lattes and clothes add up ;-)

  3. Meal planning has helped a lot for me!

  4. you've got a great plan of attack, ashley! i love the idea of money envelopes. i have done that before.
    it is so hard when things come up all the time, like you said. i feel like stuff always comes up, lol.
    i wish i had some amazing tips for you.
    for me, i always find we save more money when we watch what we're doing as far as food goes. you always seem to make awesome meals! i need to take some tips from you. with this crazy month, it has been take-out central! :)

    happy saving <3

  5. Thanks for letting me know about Mint!!! On my way to check it out!!

  6. My husband and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans! We have been following his systems for almost 3 years now, and the only debt we have is my car. Every month we sit down and write out our budget. We use the envelope system. We are even teaching my 17 year old son the values and benefits of not having credit cards! It works if you work it! :) Best of luck to you!