Thursday, January 3, 2008


One of my favorite finds has been MoneySavingMom. I'm not a mom, but who isn't interested in saving my money & who couldn't learn something from this website!?

I'm specifically excited about the financial challenge. My husband and I started the Envelope System last summer & it has revolutionized our finances!! I was initially very very very overwhelemed by the idea of doing a cash budget. I sat down with one of our friends who also uses the envelope system and she showed me exactly how she does it. Having her help me get started helped so much.

I actually spent an hour or so yesterday tweaking our budget for '08. Things will change a little over the next month as I'm up for my annual review and my husband is getting a promotion.

I should also disclose that my husband and I have excellent "benefits" with our job. Included in our compensation package is housing, utilities, and trash pick up. Our home is also on the property of our ministry so we walk a brisk 2 minute walk to work (thus our gas budget is very low). Also, we're paid biweekly so our budget is based on that.

Do to our low income a budget based on percentages hasn't worked very well for us. We're just doing the best we can with what we have and doing our best to prioritize. After our pay raises this month we plan on saving $200/month. As of right now, we just put into savings what we can.

Tithe: 10% of our gross income goes to our Church
Sacrificial giving: $25/month, $12.50/biweek.
Cell Phones: $70/month, $35/biweek
Car Insurance: $62.54/month, $31.27/biweek
Groceries: $180/month, $90/biweek
*Eating out: $100/month, $50/biweek
Gas: $80/month, $40/biweek
*Car Repair: $10/month, $5/biweek
*Clothing: $10/month, $5/biweek
*Entertainment: $20/month, $10/biweek
Vacation/Christmas Saving: $40/month, $20/biweek
*Medical: $10/month, $5/biwekk
*Wal-Mart/Target: $30/month, $15/biweek
*Hair/Nails: $10/month, $5/biweek

*All of these categories we pay cash for-when we run out of cash we're done. It was a learning curve at first. But we've made it work. Instead of going to Outback and spending all of our eat out money in one meal, we go to the Mexican restaurant and split fajitas for $10!! We're definitely learning as we go. I love this system because there is flexibility! Some months we know that our needs will be different and we can account for that.

Out of convenience I don't use cash at the grocery store & gas station, but I still use a "cash mindset." For example, no matter what the price of gas is, we only fill up $40 worth every two weeks. If we're running low on gas, we have to make do until our next pay day.

I hope that makes sense. I look forward to reading about other people's budgeting methods =)


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