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budgeting???

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
not sure at all where to post this....anyone found a good budgeting tool?? i have tried a few spreadsheets but they dont seem to be user-freindly so we end up not using them...just wondering if anyone has one that they use and like....tia.
post #2 of 22
Ugh....I just wrote you a long response and then erased it... : This is going to be somewhat shorter than originally.

So...I have a couple of budgetting suggestions that we use, and I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but this is what I have to offer...

We use a 'check tracking register system' that tracks spending as you write checks. It is a register for your check book that is broken up into 7 columns that you name, ie--house, food, auto, recreation, etc. You then track what money you spend by budgetting certain amounts for each catagory and then tracking it. (ie--if you have $100 in the recreation catagory, and you spent $25 at the movies, then you would write in the $25 while also subtracting it from the $100) They also suggest you track your cash and credit card spending in this register as well by writing it in in the appropriate catagory, but then you circle it or something similar to indicate that it is cash or other and therefor not part of the running checking balance. Anyways...if you are interested, let me know and I will post ordering info. They were very inexpensive.

We also use our bank's bill pay system, which we have set up in it's own account. We deposit all money to this account, then the bank pulls money out 2x/month and takes care of all the bills (we can designate how often, when, how much, etc), we only have to make sure there is enough money in there before each of those designated days. We then use a seperate checking account for all other non-bill and variable expenditures--food, gas, entertainment, etc. We pull a certain amount each month from the bill pay account for this account and **TRY** to stick to that amount.

So, using the two together, we should in theory be able to budget, right?? All we still need are more self control and more money!!

Hope that helps! I will be interested to read other suggestions as well...
post #3 of 22
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post #4 of 22
I built my own spreadsheet... but I'm really good with them. Happy to do one for you...?

I was using MSMoney, but I kept forgetting to do it and I couldn't alter the budget tool easily--so I gave up.

We also use an envelope system for certain budget items. We have a set amount of money budgeted for food each month and on the first of the month, it comes out of our account in cash and goes in an envelope in our kitchen. When it's gone--that's it (and thankfully we're well-stocked with food, etc. because the first month or two were hard). We no longer use the debit cards for anything.

Anything that CAN be put on our online banking's "auto-pay" IS. But that can be dangerous, too... I didn't open our alarm company bills for 3 months because I knew it was automatically being paid and they had changed the price!
post #5 of 22
An online tool that I use is www.crown.org (click on tools, and then budget guide). They have a budget planner where all you have to do is type in your income and it will give you a rough budget. It is easier if you put use the amount of money you actually get each month and leave the other two sections blank instead of worrying about gross and taxes. I copy and paste into a Word document, adjust the catagories as I need them, and print it out. You can also buy different inexpensive software just about anywhere that is specifically designed to track a budget.

The best thing that has worked for us is to deposit in the bank only the money that we use for paying bills such as: house payment, electric, phone, etc... The rest we take out as cash and put it in one of those cupon organizers that you can buy at Wal Mart or somewhere. I have a larger one which I keep at home and a smaller one to carry in my purse (with only the money I need to make planned purchases). I use categories such as: Gas, eating out, food, gifts, daycare, mis, home repair, etc...

This has been the most amazing thing for us. Not only does using a budget and cash organizer help curb impulse purchases and keep us from overdrafts, but it also saves a ton of time for me! I buy fewer checks, I always know how much money I have to spend, I don't have to constantly balance a check book and record dozens of checks each week, and I always know where the money is going. Plus I save all the change in a jar and deposit it in our savings account every few months. It is amazing how fast change turns into dollars in the bank!

Good luck!
post #6 of 22
http://www.miserlymoms.com/MOMbudget.htm

Lot's of cool budgeting tools...
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
wow- i finally found my post - it got moved and i couldn't find it!!! THANKS!!! these are some GREAT suggestions...i will try to implement them soon and see if i can get us on the right track!!
post #8 of 22

sorry to hijack

mamaluna I am interested in that ordering information
post #9 of 22
Heldt123: Wow. The Crown Ministries Financial Tool is fantastic... It's so useful to see what we *should* be spending laid out like that. Scary in some categories (My god, do we spend too much on entertainment!) but really reassuring in others (I was nearly sure that our townhouse was way outside of our reasonable price range, but it turns out that it's pretty close to what we should be spending! I'm unspeakably relieved; I really didn't want to move!) Thank you so much for posting that!
post #10 of 22
Here's the check register budget tracker: http://www.budgetmap.com
post #11 of 22
This is a thread I need to keep up on. This budget info is just what I have needed for a while. I am going to try to do the budget outline using actual take home pay--after taxes--the page I saw on the crown budget is set up for gross $$ before tax...Is there way to adjust to do for net income?
thanks for the links!!
post #12 of 22
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post #13 of 22
Loving this thread.

My new year's resolution is to get our finances in order. We are so in a state of denial, it's not even funny. The crown site was scary and yet empowering to see that it CAN be done. I thought for sure we'd sit down with our money and bills and see there is no possible way to pay everything. Seriously. Now, according to crown there's really no reason for our finances to be out of whack, we have enough money to pay and should have some left over for savings. wow.

The main thing here is, well, HOW DO YOU START? All our bills are overdue, so if I pay them all then our budget is out of whack and other things will be ignored and we will forever and ever be playing catch up, you know? I need some real basic "How do I get started when my finances are a total mess?" advice.
post #14 of 22
I was just going to post about crown.org

You can also call their 800# and get a free budget guide. It helps you write a budget and see how long it will take you to get out of debt. It is great. I have some tips from a financial advisor we hired but I would have to write later.
post #15 of 22
I just checked out crown.org It seems like a good idea in theory, but some of their figures are way off compared to what we spend (and I mean the non-adjustable figures like, insurance and medical are less than half our actual in some cases).

We are not in a 'bad debt' situation, but we have a lot of good debt that we consider investment in the future and we must be atypical spenders/investors compared to the average household. The numbers really don't fit at all...it's pretty funny! Basically, this says to me that we are living without recreation, buying clothes, etc. Which is basically true.

Anyhow I appreciate the site because it breaks things down into good categories and is a good start for me. I will work on this after the holidays when we have more time. I also need to set up an appointment with a lawyer to get our personal affairs in order...we need a will, living will, etc. And we may want to incorporate our businesses so we keep our personal finances safe. It's time to get this done!

A good thread...glad to follow along.
post #16 of 22
Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey? He is a Christian Financial Wiz, although I don't agree with some random comments he makes (about non-AP parenting), he's really good with budgeting. I have one of his tapes ( think there are 6 or 7). I'm sure he's got books & videos, too, maybe at a library or maybe even has a website.

Anyhow, he advises that for couples, it isn't a good idea to do budgeting on the computer. If you're single it's okay. This is because often only 1 person does the computer work. So if mom is doing it, and gets in a car accident, dad has no clue what's going on with the family money! Good point, I thought. He says keep it all on paper.

Attila~ your situation is tough, for sure! You should pay the essential things first (rent, food, utilities, etc.). Make minimum payments on credit cards. Then once you're caught up on basic needs, start paying off debt. Pay off the lowest ones first.

Also, if all y'all haven't already, go to the library and get "The Tightwad Gazette". There are 3 volumes, and also a compendium called "The complete Tightwad Gazette". She explains easy ways to spend less money, and get in a different mindset about consumerism. Wonderful book. I was so sick of all the "saving money" books that recommended buying x-mas gifts from the dollar store or finding the best deal on fast food meals

After reading the TWG book, we actually don't budget anymore for bulk buying reasons, but before we used Larry Burkett's envelope system and it worked very well!
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dready*mama
Anyhow, he advises that for couples, it isn't a good idea to do budgeting on the computer. If you're single it's okay. This is because often only 1 person does the computer work. So if mom is doing it, and gets in a car accident, dad has no clue what's going on with the family money! Good point, I thought. He says keep it all on paper.
This is totally opposite of our family, too--I guess we're just weirdos! DH would NEVER look at it if I put it on paper, but if it's on the computer, he would definitely check it out--he's a total computer geek! For me to keep really good track of it, I'd have to print it at least once in a while, though. Despite me paying all the bills on line, dh is always more in touch with how much money is in our accounts, which payments haven't cleared, etc, because he checks the balances and fiddles around with that stuff more than I do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dready*mama
Attila~ your situation is tough, for sure! You should pay the essential things first (rent, food, utilities, etc.). Make minimum payments on credit cards. Then once you're caught up on basic needs, start paying off debt. Pay off the lowest ones first.
I thought the rule was to start with the high interest cards and pay them first, so you cut down on the interest accumulation? That's what we did when we had big credit card debt, anyhow.
post #18 of 22

the envelope system?

is that the one where you put x dollars in an envelope for like oh just for examples
45.oo for eating out
30 for say hs group activities
x for gas for work
x for gas for other stuff

and when x is gone that is it and you wait until next month?
post #19 of 22
wwww.ihatefinancialplanning.com

Ok, never mind. on checking my link, I see that they've closed! I"m so sad! This was the best money site ever! *sobs*
post #20 of 22

arrghh

I ordered the budgetmap thinking that will be great just what I need -did not expect it so soon since it said 6-8 weeks
it was at the PO today and now looking through it I am thinking ''Umm what was I thinking???"""
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