I need helping working on and sticking to a budget! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will be the first person to admit I'm horrible when it comes to money. My mother on the other hand makes less then half the money I do but yet managed to remodel the house and spend some serious cash without incurring any debt. As my grandmother commented, she's so tight she could squeeze you know what out of a buffalo dollar. Now she meant that as an insult but my mother really is good at saving and well, try as she might, that was not one thing she passed to me successfully and I really don't want my mother involved in my finances. When I first moved she sat down and figured out all my bills and it looks like I had more then enough money but it sure doesn't seem like it because I sure do need to eat a lot of beans to keep food in my tummy and while there good I'm tired of eating them ya know? I need to move into a bigger place which in the long run will be cheaper or cost the same because I wont be spending all the extra money on a coin op laundry and a storage space that I'm going to have to get soon. So, I would like some advice, links, software suggestions on how to clean up my financial life and actually be able to start saving a little for when unexpected things come up.

Seriously?
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#2 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 03:27 PM
 
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I hope to hear some comments. I am horrible at budgeting.

One thing I did start doing is paying myself.

I am more important than my bills. SO, with each of my tiny little paychecks I put $20 in savings--with each of dh's paychecks I put at least $40 in. We had to take it all out and use last month though to fix my van...but at least we had the reserve.

BUT, the money was supposed to go to remodeling our home.

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#3 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 03:42 PM
 
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For us it helps to have a goal, something to look forward to.

For us it was saving enough for a downpayment and getting bills payed down so things wont be so tight once we are moved into our new place.

It really helped dh and I talking and dreaming about what our new place would be like.


Now we are takling about how misrely we want to be to do lots of projects around or new place.
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#4 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone tried this softwareMicrosoft MoneyPlus Online I'm a black and white kinda gal and need to see the cold hard facts, I can talk till i'm blue in the face but chances are it wont stop me from buying that extra candy bar becasue its just in my head, it wont sink in till I see it in writing.

Seriously?
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#5 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 05:56 PM
 
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I mean lady worksheets here somewhere maybe she links them on her site?
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#6 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 06:01 PM
 
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Satori,

Dh does all his spread sheets on our computer. We have Windows XP and I guess it pretty easy for him to set up. He loves telling me where all the money goes:
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#7 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 06:43 PM
 
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You can read "your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. It's at most libraries.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#8 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 07:06 PM
 
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I had a long post and lost it- so I'll try again-

I also have/had a hard time budgeting and we bounced a lot of checks as a result.

What worked for me was to quit using the debit card in most situations. I bought a large wall calendar and marked every payday for the whole year. We get paid every 2 weeks, so I split all the bills and wrote how much I needed to pay and which paycheck it needed to come from. (I didn't do it based on the due dates- just when we got paid, so some bills had checks written for several days before I got the actual bill.) If it's a bill that fluctuates, like the water, I used the higest bill and guestimated based on that. If I paid over, it was a credit for the next month, if I paid under, it wasn't too hard to catch up the following month.

If you put money for your saving account as one of those bills, it makes it easier to stick to it. Each payday, I write the checks for each bill and whatever money is left over, I get cash out of the bank. I found that dh spent less if he saw how much we actually had, not just thinking 'well, we just got paid, so we have money' and he'd take money out $20 here, $40 there, and eventually we got behind on bills b/c he had no idea how much money was there. He'd also use the debit card to make small purchases here and there and I'd never see the receipts. If you don't have this problem, you don't need to worry about this.

I started this process in Jan 2003 and haven't had a problem paying a bill on time or bouncing a check since then (except once, when dh thought I deposited a check and took money out, but I had cashed the check instead- oops!) The year before we started this process, we bounced at least $300-400 worth of checks, probably more. I'm embarrassed to write that- but when I figured out exactly how much money we spent on being irresponsible, it made me figure out something that worked for us.

Good luck.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#9 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 07:16 PM
 
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I like the book "total money makeover" by Dave Ramseysee his website here

I just started using the envelope system this month and put away my credit cards. I had always been good with money, but lately I have been getting behind with bills ect. I had just been setting the bill aside saying I'll pay later, and forgetting it.

I have more to write but busy right now. I'll come back.

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#10 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 07:18 PM
 
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I can't say that I'm spectacular, but I will say that it took pawning my wedding ring (we got it back!) for me to finally sit down with Quicken and take care of our money. I'm still not awesome, but no more bounced checks or overdrafts. It also looks like we can let me stay home with the kids. We don't make much, but we do okay. If you write (or type!) it all down, you will see where it goes. That's the best advice I have.
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#11 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 07:19 PM
 
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Definitely go to the library and check out "Your Money or Your Life". Notice, just like Monnie, I did not say to buy it. That's because we've both read the book! The book and its theories are a great eye opener for many.

Then go bop around on the http://www.simpleliving.net
site. Lots of good info and discussions.
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#12 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you put money for your saving account as one of those bills, it makes it easier to stick to it. Each payday, I write the checks for each bill and whatever money is left over, I get cash out of the bank. I found that dh spent less if he saw how much we actually had, not just thinking 'well, we just got paid, so we have money' and he'd take money out $20 here, $40 there, and eventually we got behind on bills b/c he had no idea how much money was there. He'd also use the debit card to make small purchases here and there and I'd never see the receipts. If you don't have this problem, you don't need to worry about this.

Its this exact stuff that gets me into trouble. I almost always use the debit card because its faster and dd is in meltdown mode by the time we get through the checkout and I want to get out of there as fast as possible or at the gas station because I dont want to fight dd getting back in her car seat after we pay for gas and a lot of times it doesn't get entered into the checkbook which really adds up.

Seriously?
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#13 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 07:27 PM
 
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When I pull the cash out of the bank, I do leave a little buffer- just for paying for gas at the pump. I try to leave about $50-60 or so. There is no way I could deal with getting kids out of the car, paying, back into the car, pumping, etc. That's about the only thing the debit card gets used for.

To me, it's so much easier to spend extra money when using the card- that's why we quit using it. Also, if I only have a certain amount of cash, I'm much more careful about what I'm buying- do I really NEED that magazine for $3???

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#14 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good point, I'm stingy when I have cash on hand but I don't tend to think twice about using the debit card. I was just sitting here thinking, maybe I should put X amount of money a month in paypal and only use that as a gas card so I wont even be tempted to use the debit/atm card and can leave that at home knowing its either write a check which is trackable and seems more "real" to me then the debit card is. I think the only good financial news I have is I have ZERO credit card debit. I got a large child support check about a year ago (last one we got too) and paid it all off because that was really killing me. All I have are my monthly bills and about $800 in medical bills I need to get paid off.

oh yeah, I spend over $100 mo in car gas which easily gets eaten up with "oh, its just $1 or $2..." you get the picture. If I seperate the money and make it unaccessable to me for Soda's and stuff I think it might work better for me.

Seriously?
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#15 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 07:54 PM
 
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Fortunately for us, using this helped get us out of credit card debt, too. (This and a good sized tax return!) We just paid off all the credit cards a couple of months ago and paid off the car last month. We're finally to a breathable point- thank goodness.

Using paypal as a gas card sounds like a good idea.

It's so hard to get things under control, but once they are- it's really nice, and talk about a RELIEF!!!

Good luck.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#16 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't think about the car being a debt, but getting rid of it is not an option becasue I owe more then its worth. I hope to have enough paid off in 2-3 years that I can trade it in and get a better deal. I'm seriously considering alloting some money every month to invest with and set aside some of that money to help pay off the car quicker. I've done pretty well in the past with it but it was all fun and games. This last year has been an eye opener for me.

Seriously?
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#17 of 17 Old 03-28-2004, 08:19 PM
 
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I don't really consider the car 'bad debt' when I have it, it's just so nice to be rid of it. Hopefully, we'll have at least a year before we need to get another car payment, but it may end up being sooner. The only thing we have now is the mortgage and utilities. I'm trying to find a way to keep making a 'car payment' but to the savings account instead.

I'll have to sort of do it without dh knowing (b/c he spends any extra money we have), but I don't want to hide money from him either. Maybe I'll just tell him what I'm doing. If we get enough saved, we can pay a good down payment (or even pay cash- that would be cool) by the time we need a new car- if we can manage with what we have, we'll just have it there for an emergency. It's been a LONG time since we've had money in a savings account....

I am getting savings accounts set up for the kids- only putting in $5 per paycheck, but it's a start.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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