Can we talk budgeting?

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Joined: 06/29/08
Posts: 1096
Can we talk budgeting?

How do you do it? Do you use a certain program?

What's your biggest "budget buster" and how do you handle it?

Do you follow a particular system?

I have been trying for over a year but I just can't seem to find a system that works for me!!

I live within my means. I tend to put everything on credit cards and then pay them off each month (I either use my disney rewards card which is giving me 1/2 off my March trip so worth it or at target I use my target card to save 5%).

But I ALWAYS end up going over my allotted budget! I can't figure out how to budget for those "things that randomly come up." The money is there so I've never gotten myself in trouble, but it frustrates me to no end that I can't get the hang of budgeting!!

How do you do it?

Joined: 06/29/08
Posts: 1096

I'll tell you that for me, Target is my biggest budget buster, but I think part of it is not knowing how to deal with Target in my budget. I tend to put it under "groceries" or "household" which can make those budgets sky high certain months (because I'm buying gifts or something else random, but necessary).

But I don't really have the time to sit down and comb through the recipet to put actual numbers in the right categories!

luangwa's picture
Joined: 06/29/07
Posts: 8898

[h=2]Can we talk budgeting?[/h]

SPCN319's picture
Joined: 06/14/06
Posts: 2118

We are terrible at sticking to a budget. I've finally accepted that DH will just *Never* be able (or willing) to follow a budget, so I just have to deal with it. Things balance out in the long run, we've never been financially in trouble, but do carry CC debt sometimes. Drives me nuts, but it is what it is. It's one of the few areas where DH and I are very different, I get SO stressed by the load of the CC debt, and it just doesn't bother him at all. To him, it's just a cost of living life.

I do LOVE the system that we use, however. Mvelopes. It's an online envelope budgeting system. You can link it to all your external accounts which allow you to subtract every purchase right from the virtual "envelope" that has money in it. When the envelope falls to zero, time to stop spending! There was a bit of a learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, I loved it. In fact, I ended up buying a lifetime membership because I don't see us stopping anytime soon. If anyone wants to try it, I have a few 90-day free trials I can share with you, just PM me if you'd like one. I think it's something like $20/month after that. I'd HIGHLY recommend going through the getting started tutorials first if you do try it. It took me awhile to do that and I was really frustrated in the beginning.

Joined: 05/05/07
Posts: 366

What we have done is started automatically putting money into different accounts before it ends up in our checking. For example, at our (main) bank we have an account for Alex and our primary (long term- dont touch me if you can help it) savings and secondary (saving for something specific) savings. We stared by putting $5 per WEEK into these account and gradually increased it as we found it comfortable. We are at $30 per week in each account now- it happens automatically and its money we dont "see" so we dont "have".

DH and I have fallen into a groove. We have a comfortable spending amount and we are able to stick in that without much effort. If we want to purchase something over a certain dollar amount we talk about it first. We both know not to touch the savings money unless we both agree.

Budgeting is tough and something I never quite mastered. I wish I had a better grasp on exactly where I money goes, but Im too damn lazy to figure it all out, so for us the savings first system works.

luangwa's picture
Joined: 06/29/07
Posts: 8898

We do the same as Jan, but have always done this so the amounts are a higher. this really is the only way we have ever stuck to a budget and I'm pretty good at only spending money on things from the appropriate accounts. My fear is that Rick will discover that the amount that goes into the kids everyday spending account is grossly over budgeted.

StateChick's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 3629

I am not going to speak to a budget as a whole, because i suck at it. Before you create a budget, you should have a very reasonable idea of what your target should be. If you under budget, you will never be successful. If you overbudget, you will overspend because the money is there. That money should go into savings instead of giving you a cushion for your budget.

Just noticing that Target is what throws you off, I would say that I think you should start dividing your Target purchases into separate orders:

1. groceries (food, deodorant, shampoo, toilet paper, etc)
2. necessary clothing/shoes (socks, underwear, things Miles NEEDS)
3. fun little extras (a toy for Miles, books, a shirt you like, decorative household item (seasonal items), dollar spot items (or am I the only idiot that buys that stuff :ROFL:))
4. gifts for others.

You could combine 1 and 2, just don't add things into the 2 category that really should go in 3!

Check out with multiple transactions and keep your receipts so you can track these numbers.

Do this for a month or so to see how much you are spending. Create a reasonable budget based on what you spend vs. what you think you could/should spend.

When we used to do Dave Ramsey I had a grocery envelope JUST for groceries. If I shopped at Walmart and bought other things, I had to pull from the other envelopes (gifts/girl's fun money/my fun money).

mommyvolc's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 1296

We do a lot like Jan. I have everything deposited into my main account and then automatic deductions for all bills and savings. DH is responsible for paying his child support, his VISA and our discretionary money. He doesn't know about any money in my account after all my "bills" are paid...that's my discretionary money Smile DH will spend until the account goes boom, thus I have control of the bills and mortgage etc. The way I generated my budget was by keeping all my receipts for 2 months to figure out exactly what I was spending money on. Then I generated a weekly, monthyly and yearly budget. The things that throw us are car repairs and household repairs. Its hard to remember to budget a monthly amount for those. What I've figured out is that I need 20% of what I spend on gas a year for car repairs (I spend $50 a week on gas). For household, they say you should spend 10% of the value of your home per month. That is crazy to me, but I budget about 1% of the value of my house per month for household repairs. Big stuff, renovations etc comes from the savings account.


kristimcw's picture
Joined: 08/03/07
Posts: 1914

I have been trying to budget. Our biggest buster is when we go to Sam's. I get DH's lunch stuff there and it lasts him awhile, but the initial expense is a big number.

He was spending about $8 a morning on coffee and breakfast and then between $10-20 on lunches every day.......and he was making me go way over budget and run out of money.

I am hoping this year to get a system going, but so far I havent done much.

I pay my bills first, then what is left goes to food, gas, and extras.