Monday, January 23, 2006

How I Keep and Organized Budget

First, I grab a budget book, a sheet of paper, a box of envelopes, hubby's pay stub, a pen and a marker (and a calculator if you need one).

Then, I list out on the sheet of paper all the bills and expenses we have. I list them in a column like this:

Hubby's Allowance
Car Loan

etc, etc, etc.......

Next, I figure out two things: 1. When they need to be paid by 2. How much we pay on them. Ex:

Mortgage: first of the month, $700.00

After I finish that, I rewrite the column of expenses (without the dates and how much money). And then I divide each amount by 4. This is how much I set aside each week, so that by the time it comes to pay for it each month, I have the total all saved up already. For example:

Morgage: $175.00

I then check each amount to make sure it's UNDER what hubby brings home every week. I make adjustments where adjustments can be made (groceries, saving account, home repairs etc).

After that, I take one envelope per expense and write the expense on it. In the lower right hand corner, I write the amount that must go in there every week. In the upper left hand corner, I keep a ledger of when the money goes in and when and why it goes out. For example, I have an envelope for baby expenses. I'm allotted $20.00 a week, but if I spend $5.00 on a sleep sack I got on clearance, then I write that down in the ledger on the envelope. This way, if hubby wants to see where I'm spending the money he provides us, all he has to do is look at the envelopes.

Every week, when I go to the bank to withdraw hubby's paycheck, I take out the toal I need to fill each envelope.

This has worked out great for us! Not only are all our bills paid on time and in the proper amount, but we're able to stick to a budget strictly and we usually have money left over somehow. (Some of it has to do with extra paydays in the year...some months have 5 paydays in them as opposed to 4).

This works great if the woman is the household financial bookeeper and hubby is the main breadwinner. I think it's important that hubby is kept in the loop since he's not only the head of the household, but also the one busting his back to earn this money. This also works great if the breadwinner of the house has a regular paycheck.

This also helps avoid overspending, bounced checks, late fees, etc. It can also help pay off loans more quickly!



Mary Ann said...

We use the envelope method too and really like it. I try to keep the receipts in the envelopes, then at the end of the month, I can see pretty much exactly what I spent on what. One thing that works well for organizing the envelopes in my purse is using a coupon organizer. I keep the coupons in categories in the back and all my cash envelopes in the front.

Calla Lilly said...

I used to use a coupon organizer for keeping my money, but I found myself embarrassed when ever I took out my "wallet," so I didn't stick with it for very long. I wouldn't feel any more comfortable pulling out envelopes. Yes, I have the sin of pride going on here. We have been recording every expense, but some items are hard to categorize or are unexpected. Birdseed, scrapbooking materials, fee for learner's permit for daughter, etc. come to mind. The other thing is that in 18 years of marriage the cost of living has risen but dh's income has not. Oh, if only we had been more careful from the beginning. :) Keep up the good work!