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Suggestions please!!!!

Posted by on Jul. 15, 2013 at 9:58 AM
  • 9 Replies

 Hi ladies... I am new to this group and I joined because I need all the help I can get in creating & maintaining a monthly budget.  I am a single mom of an amazing 5 yr old boy.  My income is more than enough for the two of us & I am tired of not knowing where our money goes at the end of the month. I also want to start building a better savings account.  

What is your advice on staying on a strict budget?

by on Jul. 15, 2013 at 9:58 AM
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Replies (1-9):
chicken13
by Member on Jul. 15, 2013 at 3:00 PM

First thing I did...was write down where every penny went for a typical month.  Then I was able to see what categories I needed and where I needed to trim some fat. 

maggie268
by Member on Jul. 15, 2013 at 5:08 PM

That's a great idea. I actually sat down last night and made a list of all my bills. I've decided that the best way will be to keep a daily journal of ALL expenses (even if its $1). I'm sure that will help out a lot.  Thank you so much for the advice.

Quoting chicken13:

First thing I did...was write down where every penny went for a typical month.  Then I was able to see what categories I needed and where I needed to trim some fat. 

 

clairewait
by Member on Jul. 15, 2013 at 9:49 PM

I don't keep a strict budget of ALL spending, but the things I do keep track of, I use an Excel spreadsheet. It has been really helpful to have a year in front of me, and then to be able to compare years.

Better than pencil and paper for me.

Also, if you want to start saving, you have to take it out FIRST, rather than out of what's left. Every expert will tell you that (Ramsay, Clark Howard, etc).

As far as sticking to a budget, well, that's like asking someone for advice about how to develop self-control. Hah. Not sure what will work for you. For me, it is just a matter of making up my mind to do something. When I do that, I'm good at sticking to things. But I don't tend to lack self-control in general.

Maybe find someone to hold you accountable?

Claire Wait

My blog: TheUnderToad.com

baconbits
by Bronze Member on Jul. 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM
2 moms liked this

 I don't have a strict budget as that would drive me bonkers within a month. Instead I have a general budget that gives me freedom to blow money when it comes to a great deal. The best savings I have is the 401K at work. They take money out before I even see it so I don't miss it. Of course that's for retirement but it's a start.

I also took all my bills and made sure they were in the budget. That includes those things you only pay for one or twice a year like insurance, home taxes, etc. I just take the total owed for the year and divide by 12. That money goes in a savings account that is dedicated just for that.

Auto repairs I also add in my budget because flat tires, dead batteries, breakdowns, etc do occur.

KLove_Mom
by Member on Jul. 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM
1 mom liked this

Congrats on realizing that you want to KNOW where you are spending your money! That was the first big step.

And you said you wrote everything down... don't forget to include things like doctor copay, oil changes, haircuts, entertainment and eating out, etc.
If at the end of the month you didn't spend that money you can plop it down on your debt or savings.

I use an excel spreadsheet because at the bottom of the listings you can have it total things up for you. Then if you add a row, it just adds that right in. No calculator mess. There's tutorials online if you've never done that before, and "Open Office" is a free product that's good if you don't have Excel.

To stay on track, you'll need goals. It's great to know what you usually spend, but having goals of what to do with the extra money is what keeps you from overspending on other things.
Knowing that you are saving up this month for school clothes next month will help you say "no" to the extra coffee shop trips. 
Then in September nd October that clothing money could go to pay off extra on a debt you owe. Then in  November that money is for Christmas shopping with cash so you don't get more into debt. Then in December, it's for holiday decorations and meals.

That's your motivation... having control of your money and making it work for you. 

If you want to post some numbers... I'm happy to help you find areas where you can save. :D

-Kara
"Look for Rainbows"
AllofFive19
by Bronze Member on Jul. 16, 2013 at 5:47 PM

I would suggest writing down your bills, gas, groceries, sundries and see the amount that's left, like:

Mortgage 500

Utilities 150

Phone/Net/Cable 150

Loans 200

Gas 100

Groceries 200

Sundries 60

Leftover 640

Then take the leftover and put it in categories like savings, gifts, entertainment and so forth. You could do the envelope system for the leftovers.

bahamamama61
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 9:53 AM
Good Luck:)
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morning_glories
by Member on Jul. 24, 2013 at 7:55 AM
I agree follow your money first then you can decide what needs cut out and how to responsibly budget your money in the future.

Quoting chicken13:

First thing I did...was write down where every penny went for a typical month.  Then I was able to see what categories I needed and where I needed to trim some fat. 

beach.girl
by on Jul. 29, 2013 at 1:20 PM


Tracking every $1 for a month and then reviewing where your money went for that month is one of the best things you can do to motivate yourself to not only create a budget but to stick to it.  Most people fail at this initial step but for the few that do, they give themselves a huge boost on the path of financial fitness. 

One other vital step you should take is to pay yourself first. This means include a portion of your income in your budget that you will put into savings and designate as untouchable.  It's like insurance against things that God-willing will never happen to you but could.  Since you are a single mom to a son and, therefore, the sole income earner, this really is a must.  Without it, you can never get sick, get an accident, care for a loved one in need, etc.

10% of your income is a good start.  Personally, I prefer the 25% because if you learn to save 25% and live only on 75% each month, in four months, you have created 1 month of protection, in one year...three months of protection, and so on.  There is something else uniquely special about following through on this step.  Following through on this step seems to lead to improved decision-making with other financial-related choices.

Quoting maggie268:

That's a great idea. I actually sat down last night and made a list of all my bills. I've decided that the best way will be to keep a daily journal of ALL expenses (even if its $1). I'm sure that will help out a lot.  Thank you so much for the advice.

Quoting chicken13:

First thing I did...was write down where every penny went for a typical month.  Then I was able to see what categories I needed and where I needed to trim some fat. 

 



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