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My husband and I are tired of living paycheck to paycheck and decided to move in with family for a few months to pay off debt. We make approximately $4324/month after taxes and our current debts total $2300/month which does not include gas, groceries, etc. The problem is, once we sit down and right down what we will have coming in and paid out for the month, we don't really know where to go from there. How do we decided how much to budget for gas, groceries, etc and then figure out how to take everything else and snowball it. Even if we spent $1000/month on those things, that should still leave us with $1300 to throw at debt but for whatever reason, we never have anywhere close to that and actually have to use our savings (only about $500 left there). I did realize that most of our bills are due at the same time of the month which means 2 checks that are barely used and 2 others that leave us almost in the negative after bills... any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

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that should still leave us with $1300 to throw at debt but for whatever reason, we never have anywhere close to that and actually have to use our savings (only about $500 left there). I did realize that most of our bills are due at the same time of the month which means 2 checks that are barely used and 2 others that leave us almost in the negative after bills... any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
We always saved up an extra $1500 and put it in our checking account. Then we called that "zero" and left the bottom $1500 untouched. That way we could always pay bills even if a bill and a paycheck crossed.
How much debt are you trying to snowball? At $1000/month, how long will it take?
 
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Not to say you haven't done it right, but are you writing down everything like travel costs to work (gas etc), netflix subscriptions, any interest on debt, how often you eat out, etc? There are lots of little and regular payments that I always forget to factor in and end up wondering what happened.
Are you able to look at your previous grocery bills and get an average per week/month? Once you know exactly how much is need to pay out on the essentials, pay the rest straight into your debts before you can even think about it and live off the rest.
 

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Track your spending! To the penny. Do that for at least a couple of months. There are always things people forgets they spend. Also, tracking will allow you to figure out what your total monthly expenses are for little things you might not realize add up.

As mentioned above, look back on your records from grocery stores and gas stations. That's backwards tracking and that works too. You should be able to work out your averages as Frugalalpaca said.

Keep receipts for your tracking. Don't rely on memory.

You should be tracking your gas mileage. Then you can figure out in advance what it'll cost you for a month of normal driving, or how much a trip will cost you if you go somewhere out of the ordinary. We know exactly what it costs to drive our truck 100 miles, for example, so we can determine if we need to do shopping at the big box stores fifty miles away, if what's on the list is worth the cost of the trip or not.

Have you tried paying yourself first? Set aside the $1,000 or so you want to use to pay down your debt, and put it where you won't spend it and pretend you never got it. Live within what's left over. Then make that debt payment at the end of the month and repeat the same thing next month. If you're not making it through the month without dipping into that set-aside money, look back on your income/outgo tracking and figure out where the money went so you can do better next time. :)

DON'T GIVE UP! It seems complicated but eventually frugal spending becomes habitual. We don't even have to think about it anymore, after 42 years of marriage and living within our means. Now we live below our means, but it took a long time to get here. It's worth the struggle, so stay focused. Getting started is a huge step in the right direction. Be proud of yourselves for that.
 

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I agree you need to track spending for a couple of months. Keep an envelope in your purse or vehicle and put each receipt in it. If you don't get a receipt, write the date, amount and what purchased on the envelope. At the end of each week transfer this information to a ledger and at the end of the month add up each category. Don't forget to include all expenses including prorating those paid quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Without this information, you cannot hope to make an accurate budget.

Its likely at this beginning point you have a lot of mindless automatic spending that you don't think about but that adds up over the month. That could be eating out, vending machines at work, coffee, cigarettes, lottery tickets, treats for self or kids, impulse purchases. Once you have to write everything down you'll be more aware and likely become more accountable.
 

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You definitely have to track your spending and yes pay yourself first. First and foremost you dont want to live with family forever so always put a little in savings and dont touch it. When I get paid, I pay my bills (even if it's early or not due or set it aside for when I get my new statement) I leave myself $200 for the week for gas, groceries, etc. whatever is left out of that week when I get paid again, I put it into savings.

It's all about how your thought process is, "oh I have $400 left from my pay after paying bills, let's go shopping!" is the wrong way. "Ok I have $400 left, I know that my internet bill is coming due, I'll set that aside to pay later and put the rest on my CC to lower the balance." is the correct way.

I currently have personally $3500 in CC debt, it's 0% interest till 8/2018, I pay them $200-$300 a month, put $250 in savings a month and pay bills, plus I'm left with $150 a week for gas and food, if needed but whatever is left when I get paid again, I move that amount to savings and start again. There is 1 paycheck that pays my car note and leaves me with $80 left, what I do is when I know that it's the week to pay my car, I leave an additional $70 in my account to reach me at the $150 mark. and I do this every single month, like clockwork. I set my budget that way so it's easy to follow and I feel great when I can stick to it.
 

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As others have said, track your spending. If you've been using credit/debit cards, you can set up an account with something like Mint, import several months worth of info, and then see where things have gone. Should you stick with the tracker, you can then set up budgets to easily see how much you have left available. If you've been using cash only, you'll have to do your best to rely on memory, and then start either saving receipts or writing down each and every transaction. Personally, I find that tedious.

When I started, prior to things like Mint, I tallied up my known expenses (rent, utilities). I then estimated what a normal month of groceries and fuel I expected. I set up my direct deposit to put that total amount, with some extra, into a checking account. Everything over that amount went into a secondary checking account. After a few months, I was able to tweak the amounts to find what suited me best. The secondary account was used to pay extra towards debts.
 
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