Thursday, August 29, 2013

Budget - Where do we begin?

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to confess that the word “budget” and I are similar to oil and water. 
As in we don't mix well. 

Throughout our relationship and marriage, I will mention to James we need to create a budget that allows us to be debt free. Completely. 100%. We would buckle down and create a budget that fit our needs/wants. The savings plan would be in place and we would do well for a few months and then, our budget would be blown out of the water... after say a tax free weekend full of shopping (damn you Texas) putting us back at square one. Less savings and a busted budget.

It occurred to me that one reason I resisted sticking to a budget is that it felt too much like dieting. And if you've been around here long enough, you know dieting isn't something I do well with. Whether we’re looking at the money spent or the calories consumed, what a budget fails to take into account is the fact that same days, a little retail therapy goes a long way for this full-time SAHM. Trips to Hobby Lobby and Target add up fast, not to mention grabbing a quick lunch while I'm out running errands. If I’m banned from shopping (and all mindless spending), I can almost guarantee that my mood will resemble that of a teething baby without his amber teething necklace. Get the picture?

On a daily basis the news or Internet drive home these facts regarding savings and the economy:
  • Jobs are much less secure
  • Those of you who work outside of the home encounter situations that reduce take-home pay such as wage restrictions and increases in what we pay for health insurance
  • Education and college costs for our children are growing larger and larger by the day
  • Saving for retirement is nearly impossible when you have more money going out then in and you are living paycheck to paycheck 
Obviously, as a SAHM we must be able to afford me being home or I'd be working. But just because the Mister brings in a nice income, doesn't mean we can afford to not be saving. If anything we need to save now more than every before. God forbid, James loses his job. The only saving grace we would have would be our savings. But what if we don't have that to fall back on? That's when shit would get bad. Quickly.

So where do we start? How do you go from being able to spend, with little restrictions, to being on a budget that gives you X amount of money to spend on this, that and the other. I've looked online and everything is so technical. Does your family have a budget in place? One that's easy to incorporate and manage? If so, please share with me. I want to put one in place by September 1st.

And speaking of saving! 
Nothing says savings like a FREE handmade, one of a kind frame. 
Thank you to everyone who entered to win my Raised in Cotton Frame giveaway. 
Congratulations to Katie!!
For those of you who didn't win but would like to get your own frame, Jes is offering a 20% discount on all purchases until September 17th. Just enter coupon code COXGIVEAWAY.
Also, make sure to hop over to Suddenly Snowden for her giveaway. I can promise you won't be disappointed in what Nicole's offering her readers! 

(Katie, I'll be in touch with you about your frame. Congrats lady!)


  1. I am right there with you. Saving is such a hard thing for me to do also. I feel like I am not able to just shop at Target like I always do. I have tons of coupons sitting around needing to be cut out, but find other things to do rather than cut coupons. I am thinking that September is going to be a month of really buckling down and saving money.

  2. We don't have an actual budget - like, one that's wrote on paper and we have to stick to religiously - but we have learned how to save and live on a very limited income. It really just comes down to figuring out what you need vs what you want and then sticking to learning how to purchase just what you need and saving those 'want' purchases for when you REALLY need the retail therapy or it's a special occasion. One of the reason I took up crocheting was so that I would have something to do and look forward to that was extremely inexpensive. I can afford to spend $5.00 a week on some new yarn to make something where we definitely can't afford for me to spend $20 a week on new clothes or jewelry or other things I may want. Living this way has allowed us to save usually about 1/3 of our paychecks, which also allows us to travel when we can and get those big projects done. We also buy generic and we cut all snack and junk food from our grocery trips. It's work and just like dieting, you get out what you put in.

  3. Oh boy, you and my husband would be like two peas in a pod. He is a budget FOOL. When Scott introduced me to his budgeting ways I was like, oooohhh nooooo.

    Scott has an excel spreadsheet set up with different categories (baby, medical, cable, rent, etc.) Each paycheck he assigns different (appropriate) amounts to each category. Every time we spend we have to take said amount from the spreadsheet. That way we can tell our money where it's going, as well as see where we are spending. (Does this make sense?)

    There are obviously things that we cannot plan for, and we occasionally use our credit card. However, each month we are able to bring our credit statement back to $0. Our goal is to eventually NEVER have a credit card payment...

    Email me if you want more info. Good luck. Budgeting is such a bitch sometimes.

  4. I agree budgeting is a pain in the butt! I hate it...I mean HATE IT!

    My Tim also is a spreadsheet kind of guy. He has one all made up with fancy formulas and color changing boxes and he has everything squeezed down to pennies...but what I can't seem to get him to understand is life with 4 kids there is ALWAYS a added something somewhere. Not that it kills us but he always seems surprised when I have stuff in the misc box...but I guess that is why I love him so much!

    Laura @ Mice In The Kitchen

  5. Gah budgeting SUCKS!!! We have always budgeted loosely, but it has worked for us. I am such a planner and a little OCD about organization that I always WANT to stick to a budget on paper, but I am so terrible at predicting expenses that I can't seem to make it work. I really don't know how people follow the envelope system because HELLO who actually pays bills in cash?! Ha! I have to be careful about spending mindlessly as you said, (stupid Target!!) but we eat out MAYBE once or twice a week, and I try to be consciences when I'm grocery shopping about only buying things we truly only need for meals. I wish I could be one of those crazy coupon ladies & save more than I spend! How do they keep up with all that?!

    Anyway, that was just a bunch of jibber jabber, no real point except to say I HEAR YA! ;)

    So excited to be the winner winner!!! Thank you!

  6. We are also in the same boat. We sat down and made a spreadsheet to see where our money is going but I'd like to find some kind of online program or website to keep take of groceries, baby items, household expenses, and miscellaneous items to see how we're doing month to month. I haven't started looking around to see what I can use, but if you find something, please let me know!

    I've started paying attention to sales ads and coupons. It's work, and it's time consuming. Menu planning also helps. Good luck, I hope you share your tips too!

  7. I'm in charge of our budget and bills and I do have a spreadsheet setup to keep track of our bills and what's due and when. I also check our bank account everyday and compare that to what bills are due so I know if we need to pull back on spending for a bit or if we have a little wiggle room. We both have a 401K or IRA plus a 529 for Hunter and a couple other different savings accounts for various items and we just try to put money in when we can.

  8. You are not alone! I always feel like if you have money ir must be spent which is bad!!!

  9. We don't budget in the technical ways....and we use our credit card for EVERYTHING so we can get the rewards.....but we do pay it off everything month. You may want to check out this website/blog:

    It's a husband and wife with a young daughter who talk a lot about how they budget.


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