Tuesday, November 27, 2012


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:

  • Mortgage
  • Food
  • 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?


Mrs. Taffy


  1. We've just moved house 250 miles away from our previous home and all our family. I had to leave my job and so we are currently on one wage. Mr P uses just over half his monthly wage on rent and council tax alone, the rest of the bills we are currently having to juggle. In fact they have to take turns because if we paid every bill on time we'd have no money left for food. We use a computer database and highlight what has been paid to keep on track. I am currently looking for work and to make matters worse the council has stopped the bus service to our area because of funding cuts which prompted Mr P to write a very strong worded letter to the council in complaint. I ended up having to cycle 7 miles to a job interview yesterday and 7 miles back by which time it was dark. If I get the job I'll have to do that journey daily but on the plus side I'll be fitter. I try to look on the bright side and look to the future more than present struggles.We always say next year will be our year and hopefully this time it will come true.

    1. Oh Tori, the whole tax thing and not having a bus to take you to work is really awful! I'm so sorry! I hope the letter your husband wrote is effective to get them to resume bus service!

  2. "What’s the hardest thing about budgeting to you?"
    Having money to budget! We have 5 kids, very little money, and bills. We are just months away from being debt free, but even then money will be tight. It is by the grace of God that we make our one income family work. It doesn't always work out on paper... but God always makes it work. We are blessed indeed.

    1. Yes, it hardly ever works out on paper for us either. This might be the first time in 20 years of marriage. We'll see how it goes! One thing for sure, I LOVE to see how God provides beyond what we can plan for and budget. He's so amazing like that!!

  3. Our budget is pretty much: pay the bills, any leftover is used for groceries (food and consumable household). Lol. We don't have clothes or play money in the budget at the moment. H3's clothing is all hand-me-downs from friends, and she gets some fill-in-the-gap outfits from my mom. H4's are the same. :) I'm blessed to say that neither are hurting for clothes! I'm not a huge fan of our budget set-up, but there's not really any wiggle room. We have a tentative one set up for when our student loans are gone, but until then....

    1. Funny thing about Hand-me-downs...Every time we friends who have children who can give us clothes, our children go and get bigger than their children. It's happens EVERY time. It sort of stinks. I'm thankful for Garage Sales though! Banana Taffy is wearing a size 17 shoe and size 38 x 36 pants...I don't ever find those at garage sales. lol I'm glad you have people to give you clothes, it is such a blessing! How much longer until your student loans are paid off?

    2. 2018. I wish it was sooner. They aren't mine, they're H1's actually. They are about 1/3 of his take home pay! :( And you know public school teachers don't have the world's best salary to begin with, although at least it's consistent!

      I happen to have a friend who has 3 very tall daughters and it's been a huge blessing! She's the only one with kids tall enough that we've been able to do this with. H3 has several friends that are 2-3 years older than she is, but she is taller than they are! I don't suppose either of your boys wear an XL in shirts? I have several Old Navy brand polos that are headed to Goodwill if you don't want them.

    3. Thanks for the offer Jessica...You should probably just donate them. Jonah can fit in a XL but he has so many because he's one child who is of normal height so he doesn't have to wear tall and I find him lots of clothes at garage sales! :) Thank you though!

  4. We budget. Hubby gets paid twice a month - one paycheck goes entirely to the rent, the other to bills. Each bill period we purchase a need - new jeans, pair of shoes, hair cut. The Lord keeps food in our cupboard, the heat on, and the water running. I trust him for a lil extra when we need it. After a few years of living on cash, sitting down twice a month to make payments - I have seen his overwhelming provision. Not always in MY timing or MY wants, but always really close. ;)

    1. One of our goals is to get our mortgage lowered too. It's so much of our income. We are still praying about how to do this exactly. Our house is completely up-side-down, by $100,000 at least. OUCH! Once we get that payment lowered, Mr. Taffy can do something he enjoys or maybe doesn't take up as much of his time, he can dedicate more time to his Bees and Writing and Ministry. That's the hope anyway! I love to hear stories of God's Provision. My second daughter's name means "Rejoicing in God's Provision." God takes good care of His children, that's for sure!

  5. Well done on setting up a budget. I know .. it's really hard to do that with an irregular income. :)

    We started our budgeting by writing out all the known expenses (based on the previous year's spending) and then dividing the total into a monthly allowance.

    You've categorised a lot further than I do. I'm not specific about a clothing allowance per person. The children often need more $ as they're growing so fast (and SHOES!! .. oh dear they are expensive!!)

    The hardest thing about budgeting? ~ is that you have to be vigilant. When we're not watching the expenditure, it's easy to use the allowance sooner than expected. This is where I think Dave Ramsey's idea with the cash in envelopes would work best. However, we do use the credit card to make the most of reward points, which give us around $400 worth of vouchers to use on shopping. It just means we really do have to WATCH all we spend very carefully on paper/Excel.

    All the best with your budgeting. :)

  6. UGH! Budgeting...never been good at that, but your right, you need to be able to afford to budget :) thankfully the LORD has blessed my hubby with a new position, too, one that pays quite alot more and will make it easier to come up with a budget!
    Encouraging post! Thanks!!

  7. Oops, sorry, that was me, Jamie:)


Your comments make me happy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!!