Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monthly Budget in Review

Photo courtesy of VivaTerra

As we slide into November, I wanted to take a second to share an update on our new index card strategy for keeping ourselves within our budget.

It's still working!

What a relief. It's one thing to devise a system and an entirely different thing to implement it consistently.

We didn't do as well this month as we did last month in terms of diligently recording every purchase. Sometimes, I might have recorded a purchase two or three days after the fact, which meant that the system lost some of its accuracy.

However, I'm motivated to recommit to a little more diligence by recording purchases the day of.

So far, this system is helping us seriously increase the money in our bank account. It's amazing how easy it is to frivolously spend money if you're not conscious of it. Honestly, I don't really miss any of the stuff we're no longer buying (whatever it was).

For a while, I had to stop our automatic saving plans (car, vacation, baby, retirement, etc.) because we were hemorrhaging money, and we needed to use our savings to cover our general expenses. Now that they are activated again, I'm eager to watch those accounts grow with little to no effort on our part.

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lindab said...

s- how do you guys decide what expenses are 'eligible' for your allowance? we are trying to implement a budget and have differing opinions on what should come out of the allowance vs. other budget line items (i.e., dining out together, clothing, drinks). Can you shed a little light? thanks.

Kate said...

We are pondering the same line items as lindab. Set household expenses are easy, but we can't figure out the same extraneous expenses either.

It's always interesting to hear what works for other people.

Kelsey said...

My fiance and I have a budget set up similar to Sara and Matt. We have line items in our budget for all bills and then also for groceries, gas, savings, and home improvement. Everything else we throw into "entertainment" which includes haircuts, clothes, dining out (so some stuff that is not really entertaining, as nice and fun as my stylist is). We each get $300/month of entertainment to spend as we choose (but of course we trade off on joint things like eating out). It works well for us. Hope this makes sense!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Yeah, the allowance part is tricky. Anything that we do together automatically comes out of our joint allowance: eating out, going to a movie, etc. This joint allowance is also what we use to go grocery shopping and pay for our dog's needs (daycare once a week, shots, medicine, treats, etc.). So, when our joint allowance gets low, we have to cut back on eating out, etc. Everything else that we want separately should come out of our individual allowances. We do have some disagreement about this. Just the other day, for example, Matt decided to go out with friends while I stayed home. I went ahead and cooked the meal we had bought at the grocery store, while he ate tacos with his friends. I argued that his meal should come out of his allowance because he chose to go out. He says the meal should come from our joint allowance because he needed to eat (maybe I'm not representing his side well?). Regardless, it feels pretty petty to fight about such small details. I don't want our budget to create stress in our lives. So, we're definitely still trying to figure out the nuances of it.

Amanda said...

oh i love budgeting! i'm sure it's one of my fav things to do! and it's so true- when you record your spending the day of it helps so much with keeping things sorted!!

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