Do you have a budget? A few times through our almost 20 years of marriage we’ve had a budget. We could never do anything like Larry Burket or Dave Ramsey because we just didn’t even make enough money to do it. We had various financial trials throughout our marriage too, but I look back on the times of budgeting as a blessing. Sometimes my husband was paid on commission, or monthly or weekly, it seems our finances are always changing, unpredictable. Those times were hard to make a budget for as well.
My husband has turned in his resignation at his permanent position at a Bank here in the Twin Cities. He had a VP title, health insurance, 5 weeks of paid vacation. But at the end of the day he was miserable. The commute is awful. The environment…I’ve never worked in an office environment but the times I’ve gone to his work, I can’t believe how quiet and dull it is. I would be asleep in 5 minutes! The hours were long, the work thankless. He was offered at contracted position at another bank in the Twin Cities, one closer to home, one with set hours and an hourly wage, no more health insurance but more freedom. He’s worked there before and got the job without a formal interview. He’ll be getting paid more money and will be able to work less hours. With this new job we’ll be getting paid every week. It’s predictable. So we decided to make a budget.
We went out to breakfast one Saturday morning, took the laptop and a note book, the bills folder and our thinking caps. It was a wonderfully productive meeting. The best earthly feeling, in my opinion, is being on the same page as your spouse! I love to have a unified goal. Love it!
Our categories look like this:
- Bills (Includes: water, trash, cell phones, our Compassion Child, etc.)
- Consumable Household (Includes: toilet paper, napkins, toothbrushes, Goodnights, etc.)
- Non-Consumable Household (Includes: Printer ink, laundry baskets, brooms, photo prints, car keys, rugs, paint, stamps, etc.)
- Auto (Includes: gas, insurance, maintenance)
- Medical (Includes vitamins and Minute Clinic Visits, Dentist appt.)
- Clothes (Broke down per person, per week)
- Education (For homeschool stuff and fees for classes and tests for the teens)
- Savings (This is just a general savings for agreed upon family things. i.e. Vacations, large car repairs, large medical bills, minor emergencies and Offerings, snow blower, etc.)
- Fun (This includes eating out)
We will also have another savings account that will hold all the money that goes beyond what we’ve allocated into these categories. It’s complicated how we figured out the base amount, but he should be getting quite a bit more than what we budgeted for, that extra will go into a separate savings account, to be saved for emergencies or when we need a new car or sending Chocolate off to college or whatever, we want this account to keep growing.
Some of the numbers in the different categories are pretty small. For instance, our clothing category. It looks like this:
- Mr. Taffy- $25 a month
- Mrs. Taffy –$25 a month
- Banana Taffy- $15 a month
- Chocolate Taffy-$15 a month
- Strawberry Taffy-$10 a month
And down it goes, $10 a month per child. That’s not much. Mr. Taffy’s has more because he really needs some new work pants, mine is more so I can get a pretty dress for the boy’s graduation, the boys is more because we want to buy them each a suit for their graduation gift. Could you spend $10 a month on clothes? It’s going to be a stretch. But like I was just telling Strawberry, “If you save all that money until May, you’ll have $50 to spend at garage sales. You can get a LOT of clothes at garage sales for $50!!” Some of numbers might be too aggressive. We may have to re-evaluate in a month or two, but for now we are going to give it our best. The kids can always use their own money if they want something new too. They have no lack, trust me.
Mr. Taffy has a LOT of experience in building data bases so he is working to build us our own to keep track of our purchases. I’m going to teach Strawberry how to enter our purchases into each category. I want her to learn how to itemize and organize. She loves to find coupons and good deals, so this will turn into a nice .5 credit economics/accounting elective for her.
One thing I’m doing to help me not be tempted to buy extra things is unsubscribing to all the email lists that send me wonderful amazing deals practically everyday! Hello Gymboree? Bye bye! Good riddance! I’ve given you enough money! lol Very Jane. Sniff sniff…that one will be a little harder.
It is a challenge living on one-income. It’s even a bigger challenge when you consider how the price of food is increasing every day and how it looks like our taxes are going to be raised again. It can be overwhelming. I’ve been tempted to open a day-care in our home. But God is in control and we are purposed to be good stewards of what He’s given us. Mr. Taffy does NOT want me have a day care in our home (me either really), so we will do what we need to do and if that means we don’t get to eat out whenever we want too or if I have to spend more time in the kitchen because I’m cooking all the time, well so be it. It’s a fair exchange to be home for my family!
What’s the hardest thing about budgeting to you?