Budgeting….on a Budget

I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head, PROBABLY because my budget has been rolling around in my head more than usual lately.

I thought, if there was interest, we could do a little series on budgeting and household finances and stuff.  Yes?  No?  Major yawn?

I’m actually hoping it will be collaborative.  I’ve gotten stuck in our household budget- try as I might, I’m not seeing many more places to trim and squeeze.  And OH how I love to trim and squeeze.  You have no idea how much joy I get out of NOT purchasing and NOT shopping.  I loathe malls.  I detest parking lots.  And checkout clerks…well, I don’t carry cash with me for shopping, because that would increase my interaction with the clerks, and I already get a little ringing in my ears just swiping my card through the machine.  *

I’m not a people person, OK?

Over the last couple years I’ve developed a system that works quite well for my family finances- spreadsheets, websites, etc.  My husband and I are both accountants, and extreme spreadsheet geeks.  I adore spreadsheets as much as I…don’t adore the perky “Hello!  How can I help you today!  Are you finding everything OK!” girls.  You know exactly who I’m talking about, don’t you?

SO.  To start this party off.

What does your family do to save money?  Are you interested in learning more ways to shave down your budget?  How do you keep track of everything, or do you shut your eyes and *hope* every time you run your card through the machine?

*YES.  We pay off our balance every month.  I’m not about to pay double or triple my original balance to a credit card company!  Besides- if we pay off our balance every month, they send us a check once a year.  And who doesn’t love a nice fat check?

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7 Responses

  1. You budget better than anybody I know and you understand the value of a dollar. I help a lot of families budget and the first rule is to be honest. You are an accountant the numbers don’t lie. We spend money and don’t be afraid to be honest about where it goes. You don’t have this problem.

    The second biggest issue I see is prepared food. You firgured this out long ago. A frozen dinner costs about 25 times as much as just fixing it. It’s amazing they now sell frozen pre-cooked rice or pre-cut vegetables or whatever. Make it yourself like you do!

    The thrid biggest issue is vehicles. Again, you understand but most don’t. It costs $.50 per mile to drive your car. No, it isn’t just gas and yes you are wearing out the brakes and the tires and the spark plugs and all the rest. $.50 per mile. Deal with it. 20 miles costs you $10 and most folks just won’t own up to that fact. They think driving 1200 miles round trip to Utah is just gas. Nope, it costs $600. Cheaper than flying a family, but far more than one person just flying for example.

    You are an amazing example and I can’t imagine what folks are going to tell you to budget better!

    Oh oh oh… I thought of something! Every time I come over your kitchen and living room lights are on during the day. Turn those off 12 hours a day and you will save about $4 per month…. Sorry, best I could do. (You already use the compact fluorescent bulbs or the savings could have been more fun to calculate!)

  2. Honestly, I don’t have any great tips for you. I’m amazed at how well you do at budgeting and squeezing a dollar. I’m just not that good at it right now. I’m better at finding the deal that requires shopping, but not super great.

  3. Thumbs up on the budgeting series. I would love some good tips.

    As for GIVING you tips, I’m afraid I’m drawing a blank.

    let’s just say that I’m happy that both you and your husband’s on the same page with your budgeting methods. My husband’s not too bad, only because he’s afraid of my wrath (hahaha), but given the choice, he’d rather not be on a budget. 🙂

  4. I save money by not taking my husband to the store with me! He is another one crazy for spreadsheets though. He would make a spreadsheet to figure out the best way to get from the couch to the kitchen!

  5. LOL, I am the same with shopping!

    I’m not a spread sheet person, but I do try to keep expenses low, and only buy what we need. I think it’s just a matter of prioritizing – knowing the needs from wants, and making do with what you have. Some how it works for us, even though I’m not terribly detailed and keep no written budget.

    I’d love to hear more about your methods – I can always learn something new!

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