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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here I go-

I am usually a lurker and occasionally post. We are not in a major financial crisis or disaster, but I am tired of seeing our money going down the drain for stupid stuff. We want to be able to take vacations and not have to use a credit card. We want to be able to save money for a new vehicle at some point. I want to be able to have meals made up, so we are not eating out all the time. I want eating out to be a luxury and something we appreciate.

Here is where I need accountability. I don't do a good job with keeping a budget (bad, I know!). We eat out WAY too much. I am ashamed to admit how much. We waste money on groceries and things go to waste because of our eating out habit. We spend way too much on entertainment and "fun stuff." We have the money for this kind of thing, but spending it on those things makes me feel wasteful. I cringe looking at the bank account and seeing all the "stuff" we spend money on that we don't really need to.

Here is kind of a rundown of our budget.

$746- Husband's Take Home Pay - Every 2 weeks
$678- My Take Home Pay- Every 2 weeks

Total = 2848 (Take Home Pay)

Expenses:

Rent- $565
Electric- $85
Car Payment - $171 (We owe less than $4500 now)
Car Insurance- $480 (Every 6 months)
Cellphones- $90
Internet- $29.96
Tithe- $250
Wal-Mart CC- $30 ($181.00 left to pay)
Capital One CC- $30 ($280.00 left to pay)
Groceries - $200
Gas- $150
Eating Out/Misc - $150
Health/Beauty Items - $50
Payment to SIL for furniture - $250 (one time thing- did not include this in the expense total)
Total Expenses: $1990.96

So that means we should have about $850 left over after all the bills are paid. I am estimating high on most of our expenses as well except the things that I know don't change month to month. We try to keep at least $1000 in the bank account. Some months are better than others.

We are wanting to pay off the Wal-Mart CC, Capital One CC by the end of December. Then, we are wanting to double our car payment to get it paid off quicker hopefully by Summer 2009. We will be going on vacation in December, but we are paying cash for everything. Then I will need $300 in March for a rental car. Other than that, we do not have huge expenses or credit card debt. I feel like we should take this opportunity to get ahead and use our money wisely instead of waiting until its too late.

So here is a list of things that I want to accomplish by the end of the year.

1. Open a savings account (Put a percentage of my paycheck into savings every pay period)

2. Start putting $300 into savings every month - This is money we won't touch unless we need it

3. Start 401-K at work when eligible

4. Have a set amount for eating out budget and stick to it

5. Prepare meals for breakfast and lunch to curb eating out

6. Pay off car ASAP and use the extra money to start saving for another vehicle

That is pretty much my plan. Hubby is on board, but if I am not prepared by having groceries in the house and meals planned out- we are much more likely to eat out. Due to me having some health issues, he has to help a lot more and this makes it difficult when we both are tired after work. But- if I plan ahead we should be able to do this. I will keep this thread updated with our progress.

Feel free to give me any suggestions or ideas!
 

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Kim,

I just had to do this EXACT same thing. Although I started my post out with decluttering and organzing my home, my budget is the next thing to work on. I have decided that I am finishing up my home this weekend and will start my budget on December 1..which is going to stink due to X-mas...but I have to start somewhere......GOOD LUCK TO YOU, you can do this!!!
 

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do you have a crockpot? it will help the "i'm starving and it's 6 o clock syndrome".

make enough dinner to have lunch for both of you for next day. pack it up in tupperware when you clean up dinner.

plan meals. for example, today i am eating turkey leftovers. ( i had thanksgiving early) plannng meals will stop the eating out, because your mind will work like this: today is tossed salad day with bacon and blue cheese crumbles. if i go out to eat the lettuce will rot...

have you budgeted enough for gasoline?

you haven't budgeted any pocket money.:toothy:

edited to add: dave ramsey would recommend paying off all debt and then building a 6 month emergency fund before starting the retirement account.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestions.

We will do an emergency fund before retirement, but I will sign up for the 401-K when they offer it. If you miss the deadline to sign up at my job then you can't sign up again until the next year. But, I might wait- depending on if we have enough in our emergency fund.

The pocket money is the misc/eating out. I have considered raising this to give us 50 a piece each month for whatever we want.

I pretty much have the gas covered. Our jobs are not far from home. We go to the "city" about once a week which is only about 20 minutes away.

I love my crockpot- just need to use it more. It will definitely cure the there is nothing fixed and its 6 PM..

Tonight we are having Braum's only because my parents are over and paying for it. Otherwise we would be having sandwiches and soup.
 

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Looks like you have a good plan! When you realize where all the money goes it can be a shock, but you've got a workable approach. Hope it all goes well :)
My health is variable too- from time to time I get organized and cook for the freezer, but often just cook a recipe for 4 .(I live by myself) & divide that up for the freezer. Then I have variety to choose from & something to pull out for my bad days. Do you have a family member who could help you do bulk cooking? My dd's & I get together from time to time to do just that, we can also swap meals, again for a bit of variety.
 
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Looks like you are on the right track! Just stick to the list that you've already made and I think you'll make a lot of progress!
 

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The pocket money is the misc/eating out. I have considered raising this to give us 50 a piece each month for whatever we want.
i would bump that to 50 biweekly for each of you.
 
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Good luck. You have done just what I was telling fiance we are going to sit down and do after Christmas. I'm tired of not having money in the bank. We want to buy land and build a house and at the rate we are going it's not going to happen before I'm 80 years old! I don't see cable/ satellite so I assume you don't have it.? As far as the pocket money goes that is a tough one. We do $100 every 2 weeks. This goes for lottery, magazines, eating out etc. for the both of us. I think once you start eating at home more you will have the extra mad money for the 2 of you. I wouldn't up that just yet until you see how things go. Your goal is to pay things off and upping your "allowance" IMO is taking away from that. Now I must go and live what I preach.:foot::blah::eek:

Cat
 

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We will do an emergency fund before retirement, but I will sign up for the 401-K when they offer it. If you miss the deadline to sign up at my job then you can't sign up again until the next year. But, I might wait- depending on if we have enough in our emergency fund.
I don't know how old you are, but my husband stopped contributing to his 401K recently so we could use the money towards debt. So it might be worth it for you to wait until next year and throw everything you can at your debt. You could potentially have your car paid off in only a few months if you work at it. :)
 
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I wish you luck! Your goals seems very doable!! :)
I really need to get into the habit of preparing breakfasts and lunches, too!
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
i would bump that to 50 biweekly for each of you.
Good idea. I will go ahead and do that.

I am also bumping the grocery budget to $300 a month.


We do not have cable and probably won't for a long time. Too busy to watch TV much anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't know how old you are, but my husband stopped contributing to his 401K recently so we could use the money towards debt. So it might be worth it for you to wait until next year and throw everything you can at your debt. You could potentially have your car paid off in only a few months if you work at it. :)
I won't be eligible to even get my 401-K until August. We should have the car paid off by then if we start throwing extra money at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Yesterday was a frugal day for us. We did spend some money at Wal-Mart for media storage cases. We are going through our DVD collection and selling the ones we do not want. We brought home leftovers for dinner tonight and hopefully the husband doesn't eat them all before dinner. We have to run to the city later today to check on some cats for our friends. I am not sure if I will go with him. Today we are just hanging out at home and organizing our DVDs and cleaning up the apartment.

Monday, we are planning to open a savings account and rent will be due. I have school, so I will need to pack a lunch and some snacks. I will leave something for husband to have for lunch also. I will also need to have easy breakfasts for Monday and Tuesday.

We are going to pay off the Wal-Mart card in the middle of December. Then the Capital One card will be paid off at the end of December. We will start throwing double car payments at the car loan in January.

We are making progress. It will be slow for awhile, but atleast this thread will keep me accountable.

Thanks for all of the suggestions!
 

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Oooh. We do that quite often. Although, I admist, we haven't bought a DVD in forevr. But every once in a while Mr. Funny will go through them all, make copies and then sell the originals. A nice bit of change! =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That's a good idea. We do have a CD burner. We have over 150 atleast and several DVD box sets for a few shows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We just added $50 more to pay off the Capital One card. I was going to do a 100 but I will put the other $50 towards the Wal-Mart card.
 

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Wahoo!! If those are your balances in your siggy... You are getting sooo close! =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nothing to new or exciting has happened. We went to a Chinese buffet for lunch today after church and the in-laws paid for it. We are having bean burritos from some leftover refried beans and tortillas that need to be used. I am hoping to get to the grocery store this week to get some things for breakfasts and lunches. We are running low on meat as well.

My husband has been asking for a new TV for ages now. We looked in the Black Friday sales ads and just tossed around some ideas. While we can pay cash for it, I do not want to get that low in our account in case something were to happen. He suggested getting a credit card and since we have the money paying it right off. We had a really long discussion about it and I said that if we cannot pay for it with cash upfront then we do NOT need to get it. I told him that if the deals are still there later on then we will get one. There is other things we need to take care of first. He understands where I am coming from and respects how I feel about it. We will start setting aside money for one after we finish paying everything off.

My plan for this week:

1. Check pantry to see what I have on hand and make grocery list

2. Plan menu for the next 2 weeks

3. Open savings account

4. Grocery store (w/ list)

5. No eating out this week
 
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