I have been doing this for years on just a legal pad of paper. I do use credit cards to get points that apply to my bill (Discover and Chase Freedom) after so many points. However, I DO NOT go over my budget on each. I deposit a fixed amount into savings on the firrst of the month that covers everything that needs paying (like property texes and insurances) plus additional for a buffer. You'd be amazed at how "fixed" you can get ! Also, with the credit cards - they are due at different times of the month and that suits paychecks. In other words I make my own form, month after month, hand written and ALWAYS save even though we don't get doodly-squak for interest !
If you Google "free budget sheets" a lot of sites come up and of course they all have hints and helpful tips on managing money. I understand from your postings that you live a very frugal life style as it is. I do hope that you can find a way where you are happier and of course not so stressed.
Watching salt intake also trying not to buy foods that have high fructose corn syrup, sugar, rice syrup, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose etc. in the first three ingredients.
No foods that have more than 3 ingredients that I can not pronounce.
If an item has more than 10 ingredients I put it on the Do Not Buy List as it is too processed.
Lori, I just looked at your spark page and saw that you have raised 4 kids. That's not an easy job to do at all. In this economy if kids ask for help it is harder to help AND harder to turn them down. And what a great husband you have that he is doing all the work he does. His job is a calling and teachers are always underpaid. My husband is a teacher, college level, but pay is not much better. Hang in there, and don't forget to share your needs with the ones who love you most. :) Birgit
Thank you so much, everyone, for understanding! RMENTEER, you're right. It is always something!
I tried SparkPeople's budget last year, but there were a lot of glitches in it. Spent so much time getting it set up, and then for it not to work, well, it was frustrating. Maybe it's worth it to try it again. I've been hearing good things about it these days....
I feel your frustration, we keep feeling the same way. Just when we think we are going to get ahead, it's something else! No matter how many times I add up our incoming vs. outgoing money it always turns out the same- on paper, looks like we should be just fine and then some, but then the end of the month comes and we feel like we are scrounging to make ends meet. I haven't found a budget form I can stick with yet-too time consuming. However, I do plan to check out Spark's budget page, have you tried it yet? If you go to your start page and click on the "other pages" tab it is called SparkSavings. It looks pretty simple but, I haven't tried it out yet. Good luck, you'll find a system that works for you, it takes a lot of trial and error though. I have been known to just make my own in Excel so that it is more tailored to our situation since it seems I always have to add and take away from pre-made forms so much. Hang in there!
My husband is a science teacher at a local high school. He is AMAZING. We'll never get rich on a teacher's salary, but he is the one who does the garden, and I just help pick. He even is the one who preserves things. When I took this 2nd job at Walmart, he jumped right in and now does most of the cooking and housework, to boot.
The 2nd job (Walmart) is almost on my way home from the library where work, so that's not an issue. My DH drives the Honda to work because he drives 30 miles to work, and I take the pick up because I drive only 12 to work. (we live in the country)
Our sons have recently "come out" of their irresponsible, troublesome phases (they're 20 and 22), and both of them are working--the one who gave us the most grief is now working 2 jobs. We remember when we were their age, and know that things will happen. Son with 2 jobs found himself on academic suspension (no financial aid for a whole semester), and moving home would have cost more than him staying in his rental contract... sigh...
So, see, it's not like we're out gambling or going on wild shopping sprees... See why I'm frustrated?
Lori, I don't know if this applies to your situation but I'll mention it just in case. It's often worth it to add up exactly how much money it COSTS you to go to your job, like second car, job clothes, takeout food, compared to how much you make after taxes. If you end up working for just a couple of bucks an hour you may be better off with only one job and more time to think things through. You don't mention if there are other family who earn money. If you work this many hours can someone else do the housework and cooking or the gardening (1/4 acre is pretty big)? Also, do your sons have jobs? When they ask for money, do they come home and help out? Don't hesitate to ask for help if your health is at stake. You deserve it. A too frantic pace WILL do you in. I've been there in the past. Birgit
*sigh* I work a full time job and a part time job. I even make most of my own home made bread, and we have a 1/4 acre garden, when in season. We haven't EVER had cable, and rarely go out to eat any more (not that I miss THAT, either!). I just don't know where to cut any more, but yet every month, it seems we are at the end of our paycheck with nothing put into savings.
Yes, I've had surgery, we have car payments (on nearly paid off vehicles), and still have two college boys who need help from time to time.
But this frantic pace is ready to do me in.
Pounds lost: 14.2
Fitness Minutes: (25) Posts: 1,646 5/13/11 11:52 A
I agree with HOUNDLOVER1 -- the forms are usually too time consuming to use. I've never actually written down a budget, but that might help you to determine where spending can be cut. Sitting down with a written spending history and talking about what can be cut is probably the best place to start.
The big budget cutters that people often mention are:
stockpiling groceries when they go on sale (but don't overdo it -- the sale cycle on most grocery items is one to three months);
and getting rid of cable (substitute Hulu.com and other TV websites with the computer hooked up to the TV).
Changing your menu (adding more meatless meals, and making more things from scratch) can cut a whole lot. Search on the web for homemade recipes of pre-packaged products that you can put together yourself and store in the cupboard or refrigerator. The same with cleaning products and detergents.
I haven't found one yet that I have the time to use. Our spending habits fall into to many different categories. We changed our approach from trying to use a budget to going grocery shopping less often and going shopping less often in general. We always stop at the thrift store once a week to get bargains on other stuff. Whenever we consider a larger purchase we wait a day and talk about whether we need it. The other thing we do is to pay ourselves first, into a savings account. Just like weight loss, you get better at it gradually. :)
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