I've been watching Til Debt Do Us Part for almost a year now. I bought Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover in December. I'm using some of the information from both financial experts to try to get everything paid off.
When I set up my budget using my January 31st paycheck, I looked back on six months' worth of finances and tried to take the average. Then I set some not-so-realistic goals to cut back in certain areas (meals out).
This has been a crazy month! Both vehicles needed repairs, smogged, and registered. Thus, I am considerably over-budget for the month. Which, for DR means back to Baby Step 1.
I'm about to start month 3. But I have some questions/issues that perhaps we can debate.
1. If I continue to go over-budget in one area, when should I adjust the budget?
2. On variable expenses such as utilities, if I budget X and the amount is less than X, what do I do with the extra? Do I continue to carry over X as the monthly budget?
3. If I buy a gift card when do I record it and where? When I buy it under the gifts category or when I use it under the category it was used in?
4. I won't switch to cash only. Would it make sense to buy gift cards at the beginning of the month, so it's not cash, but not debit? I know where I will buy gas and groceries so that would be closer to cash than using debit.
As a side note: How long do you deduct outstanding checks from your checking account? I have two from last September than never cleared.