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Discussion Starter #1
I started the Envelope system on the first of June. I have a few more days until payday and my envelope is full of receipts and has one lonely 20 in it.

Being it was our first month of doing a modified envelope system(only $ for gas/groceries), I know we will have to adjust. Problem is, figuring out how much gas we are going to use in a 2wk period is very difficult. My job is to drive people around. Some weeks, it could be 1 person, some 10. Groceries....that is a whole different issue. I thought I could feed our family of 5 on $300. ha right. I broke bad on Sunday evening around 930pm when I looked in the fridge and all I saw was milk, oj and lettuce. Most of my food had been eaten, I have 20 bucks to last me until friday, and I can't do another spagetti night for the next day. So I went grocery shopping, doing the ultimate no no...shopping tired and hungry, couponless, listless, meal planless. I didn't spend too much, I did put it on my CC. :loser:

I could have deducted the money from savings, to go get necessities. I could have been more responsible. However, I felt deprived of FOOD. A necessity in life. I needed fruit, meat, and coffee. I also knew that I had a closing, and I am able to wipe out 2.5 of my Baby steps on Friday/Sat. And both my husband and I quit smoking, so I felt like I Deserved to get whatever I wanted.

The envelope system gives me anxiety. I have two more days until payday. $20 to my name, 1/4 tank of gas and a fridge full of groceries. Hopefully I will get use to it, so far I find myself constantly counting the cash and going over numbers in my head. However, if i run out of gas, then I borrow money from the grocery envelope, and that is what messed me up this month. AHH!!
On the first, I am paying off a CC, taking care of my EF and giving myself a little more breathing room in the checking acct.

Thanks for listening.
 

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Envelopes are a work in progress. Adjust next month and leave the guilt behind.
 

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Hugs.

You can try to budget more for gas. What you don't use goes into a small hills and valley envelope to cover gas costs in the future months. It doesn't get touched for pizza delivery or splurges but once you have $50 in that hills and valley fund, you don't continue to feed it unless it dips UNDER that amount.

This way you build yourself a small gas "bank" to rely on when you need it for work.

Grocery envelops take some adjusting to get it where you need it and with today's economy it can be adjusted every few months if you have to. You may want to consider establishing yourself a pantry so you can pull out beans and hotdogs or make tuna salad, etc when the fridge gets a little bare.
 

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Ceashels is exactly right - you need a hill-and-valley envelope. And for your first month - I'd say you accomplished some important tasks.
RECOGNIZED how much you actually spend on groceries. (I personally think $300 for 5 people, depending on their ages, is a little light.)
THOUGHT about where your $$ was going.
REALIZED you don't have much of a pantry to fall back on during lean weeks.

You accomplished a lot in my opinion. You'll get there - it's a process. NO ONE come to the end of their first month on the envelope system with a $0 balance. I know I didn't :)
 
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Ceashels & Mary have great advice. The pantry being very important. Start trying for a small stockpile by buying several when items you use go on sale. When you make a dish, make a double batch and freeze one for emergencies.

Lots of good advice coming your way.
 

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I felt like I Deserved to get whatever I wanted.
Yah this will kill you every time.

You couldn't have used the credit card if you didn't physically have it. CUT....IT.....UP. LET IT GO. If the envelope system doesn't work for you that's one thing, but credit cards will never work for you. They are not the friend that helped you out of this situation, you have to stop seeing them as rescuing you and start getting into a position to no longer need rescued.

As you can see from my signature I speak from experience not from a pedestal looking down on you, I know how it feels! Cutting up the cards is not an easy task but once you fully commit to this you can do it.:hug2: YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
 

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we spend 140 for 2 people, 300 is a little low for 5. boost it 50 and see what happens.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the suggestions and praise! :sun:

Tomorrow we get paid, and having our meeting. Our water bill went down $65 this month b/c I have been the water patrol! So that 65 will be my hills and valley fund.
Next month (Aug) starts when we save big time. Since I turned off our home phone and changed carriers for cable/internet.
Yesterday I cut the grass myself, first time in 2yrs. I am covered in mosquito bites, and i have 5 blisters. hahah Worth the $70 savings/mth. New cell plan starts this month too. $40 savings there.

I wrote all this in a different post a few weeks ago. I'm pumped that I could find savings without having to give up much. I just need to be firm not to put even a penny on the CC even if it is 0% for a few months.
:rollsmile
 

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I just need to be firm not to put even a penny on the CC even if it is 0% for a few months.
:rollsmile
Way to go on making it through the month! It is hard to figure everything out, for sure! And yes CUT UP that credit card! It doesn't take long for it to add up!
 

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I think you will find it helpful to do menu planning before shopping. If you plan carefully you will not run out again. The easy way to do this is to use recipe cards to do your menu and then on the reverse side list each item you need to make the meal. You probably prepare the same basic meals over and over during a two month period so its not like you're re-inventing anything. Once you pick out the cards for 14 days (assuming you shop every 2 weeks) you can flip them over and use the cards to make your shopping list. I suggest you read the grocery store ads and go thru your coupons and pull cards that will use those items. To have fresh fruit in the house for 2 weeks rely on apples and oranges for the last week. Also, there is nothing wrong with using canned fruits. If you rinse off the syrup, canned fruit tastes almost fresh. Certainly it would be better to have a stock of canned fruit available to use rather than using a credit card.

You should also make sure the entire family understands they cannot help themselves to anything without your permission. Especially police the kids. They do not need to snarf everything in sight. Popcorn is a cheap snack if you buy a bag of real popcorn and use an air popper. Water is much less expensive and 100% healthier than soda and koolaid or even juice and they should be limited on anything other than water. My niece has 6 kids and she stocks a "snack cupboard". With permission they are allowed to choose one item from that cupboard. No snacks without permission. She's a RN and her dh is a pedatrician so I assume the snacks are mostly healthy. She's not a baker so she purchases snacks. I would suggest baking cookies such as oatmeal choc chip or oatmeal raisen to use for snacks along with popcorn. If your children are young half a banana or apple or orange would be enough for them. If they are teenagers, good luck!!!! When my ds was a teen and eating every thing in the house, I limited him to 4 cookies, 1 apple and 1 glass of milk and then he had to switch to either peanut butter sandwiches or popcorn. He is 6'5' so I don't think it stunted him any.

As someone else said this is a process. You did good for your first time -- except for the credit card. Do not carry your credit card with you. Doing so eliminates the need to discipline yourself to your budget so basically you set yourself up for failure. Don't.
 

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I think you did great for your first month. Great advice here from everyone. I agree. Cut up the cc. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Question-

How do you save for stuff like unexpected deaths or weddings?

We live away from EVERYONE. Family is all the way up North, and we are as far south as possible. We might have to make a trip very soon. Right now, can't afford it. This is why we still have CC. If g.ma isn't doing well, and we haven't seen her in 2yrs, kids miss her, what would you do? Just sent DH up there?
 

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That's what the emergency fund is for. If you need it to be bigger because of the issues you listed, then make it bigger.

Emergency fund = unexpected stuff. Try really hard to 'expect' stuff and save for it. Since you know about Grandma, save for that eventuality. If you end up not needing it, squirrel it away in the EF until you do.

And if someone gets married with such haste that you cannot save enough to attend, then I'm guessing they would expect that some folks just cannot attend on very short notice.
 

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I have missed a few funerals for that same reason.

For me, I based the decision on the relationship I had with the person and the closeness of the relation.

Maybe I offended someone out there but if I did they haven't expressed it loudly enough for me to hear it through the family-grapevine and its been years.
 

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Sometimes you just have to say I can't afford to travel and stay home as painful as that may be. Your emergency fund should have extra $'s for that contingency, but if it doesn't it probably would not be wise to put it on a credit card. Digging back out of debt would just slow your overall progress to financial independence and make you even more unlikely to afford to travel in the future.
 
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