Budgets for Servers?
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  1. #1
    Registered User $Christine$'s Avatar
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    Default Budgets for Servers?

    Hey all,
    I am new to FV...but I must say I love it! Ever since I was a teen I was a workaholic and frugal as can be!

    Anyways...I am newlywed and would love to start a budget so I can get more organized with our finances. However I find it very difficult because I am a Server therefore I do not get a paycheck and money each week varies. Sometimes I make 400-500 a week sometimes 200-300. Also my husband is unemployed and gets checks and sometimes works for cash with a construction business so his money contribution varies too. So does anyone have any ideas? I would like to start paying off debt and saving money once we get our bills under control
    Also I tried Dave Ramseys budget forms but since our income varies I found it difficult. so any advice or suggestions would be AWESOME~~

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    Rude and Vile Master Greebo's Avatar
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    When you have a variable budget you need to do things a little differently, but not much.

    You still need a budget that is prioritized - that means:
    1) Food
    2) Lights
    3) Shelter
    4) Transportation
    5) Clothing (ESSENTIALS ONLY)

    Those 5 are always first. You need to figure out how much you must allocate in each area (and clothing only gets enough to keep you in work clothes and non-religious underwear - not holy))

    Then you list all your other expenses. You put debt repayment above entertainment (cable, dining out, etc) because if you can't afford to pay your debts at least at the minimums, you need to be out working more jobs not watching TV or spending money in restaurants.

    So each payday you get your irregular income and you fill up the envelopes for each category and make a note of how much you put in and when. You fill the top 5 FIRST, every time. When you run out of money, that's it, nobody else on the list gets paid.

    When you have EXTRA money, you play "catch-up" with the envelopes that didn't get filled. Your debt envelopes get filled based on minimum payments plus any fees accumulated.

    Your first goal is to set aside enough money so that when you have a down pay cycle you still have money there to pay the bills until the next up cycle comes in. There's none of this "ooh i have EXTRA money this paycheck" nonsense - you don't have extra money if you can't pay the bills the next month.

    ONLY after you consistently have enough money to pay your bills on time every time, low income cycle or high, do you start trying to pay extra on your debts.

    Meanwhile, DH needs to be looking for any work he can find - laborer, flinging boxes for UPS/FedEx, Pizza delivery, whatever. You both need extra jobs as well. (I'm assuming no kids in this picture)

    You're both young, you can work extra hours to get ahead - better to do it now WHILE you're young. I don't care if you're mowing lawns or picking up the neighbors trash in the yard for $20 - get on Craigslist, scan the papers, put the word out that you are in the "odd jobs" market and anything people need done, you're the ones to call.

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    Registered User tigo's Avatar
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    I use the envelope system - but in reverse. I have one for each of my catagories: rent, water, food, phone, electric, gas/car and misc. The first month was the hardest because the goal is to be woeking toward next month's rent not this month's. I put money in each envelope at the end of each shift based on my budget percentages. Example - rent is half my monthly expense budget so half my tips go into the envelope until I have enough for rent in full. The ince all the budget items are met I start putting money in savings for those weeks when I don't make very much.

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    Registered User $Christine$'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greebo View Post
    Meanwhile, DH needs to be looking for any work he can find - laborer, flinging boxes for UPS/FedEx, Pizza delivery, whatever. You both need extra jobs as well. (I'm assuming no kids in this picture)

    You're both young, you can work extra hours to get ahead - better to do it now WHILE you're young. I don't care if you're mowing lawns or picking up the neighbors trash in the yard for $20 - get on Craigslist, scan the papers, put the word out that you are in the "odd jobs" market and anything people need done, you're the ones to call.
    Yeah he is currently working full time with a concrete company under the table. And I am going to school full-time and working two jobs so we are doing everything possible trust me! And yes no kids! Our plan is to be debt free and have lots in savings before we move to that!

    Thanks for your advice I will definately try it! any books you may recommend? Im a bookworm!

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    Rude and Vile Master Greebo's Avatar
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    Dave Ramsey - The Total Money Makeover

    Followed by Robert Kiyosaki - Rich Dad, Poor Dad

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    Registered User Thevail's Avatar
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    Just as a further "tip".. sorry, couldn't resist..

    It's important to know what you make on "average". Say, you're low week total is $100.. but your high week total is $500.

    Knock out the two extremes since you probably don't have such poor, or such great, weeks often.

    Then look at how much you usually make.. between $200 and say $350 (it never hurts to estimate lower).

    So, that would make your average takehome about $275 in this example.

    So if you made $275/wk for four weeks, you'd make $1100 a month. Your basic budget really can't account for more than that, because then you're relying on doing extra well, which you can't count on.

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