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Being able to account for where my money is going has been an acquired discipline. I'll admit, establishing a consistent way to account for every cent is not easy. While there are all sorts of financial tools available that will upload your income & expenses by tracking your checking account, I write down every penny that I spend daily. I have a spreadsheet that I transfer any amounts to that helps me track on a month-to-month basis. This exercise requires both commitment, accuracy and honesty. Doing this has been an eye-opener as I've become more aware of where my hard earned dollars are being absorbed. Tracking my spending on paper has also helped me identify where my spending weakness are (like that daily cup of coffee or unhealthy snacks, etc), and as a result I tend to think twice before making an unnecessary expenditure.

I used to be overwhelmed at the end of each month because I remained aloof at where my money went. I didn't have a handle on what needed to be paid, when it was due or whether or not I had already made a payment that month. I was using my debit card irresponsibly (without knowing my balance) and then praying that that last purchase would not hit my account before my next payroll direct deposit. Poor budgeting habits resulted in immeasurable amounts in late, over-the-limit and NSF fees, embarassment, stress and frustration.

Now that I've brought awareness to everything that comes in and goes out, I feel more in control. I've been able to track spending habits, establish an EF savings goal, and stay current on ALL bills. I know exactly how much I have in my each of my accounts at any given moment. I have computed how long it will take to payoff some of the bigger expenditures (like my truck or few remaining cc's).

Oh, and there's something called "peace of mind" that comes along as a fringe benefit. When it comes to my finances, I now face each day courageously and with confidence. It doesn't matter how little or how much you bring home. What matters is how well you manage what you make! If I can do it, anyone can! ;-)
 

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Great job Jilly!! It does bring peace of mind to know where our money goes. I keep track of every penny too - even DH tells me of his daily spending!!

Keep up the great job - notice that your challenges are going well too!! We started FV at the same time - isn't it a great support?! Love all the ideas, positiveness and great approaches to reality.
 
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i have gone to the 'all-cash' system and keep the cash in an envelope...( i don't have categories....i just set an amount...like $100 was my goal for this month)...that is not for fixed expenses...DH pays those...this is for anything else we could need during the month....food, hba's, my gas (he has company car)...whats left i roll over....mostly coz we've been eating from the stockpile since january i haven't had to buy alot...feb was $100 a week and i was able to retain a huge portion of that so told dh...don't need anymore for march...use it to pay down cc's...so i came in at $103 for march (and still have $59.00 left) yea me....

as for the record keeping i keep a small notepad in the envelope and as soon as i shell out the cash i whip out the notebook and write it down...then put the receipt in the back of the envelope behind the cash.... when i get a stockpile of receipts i transfer them to a larger envelope...if i don't write it down immediately it will got lost in the shuffle...i do it right then and there...(if there is a long line behind me i step out of the way....)

i don't catagorize because i have basically cut out all 'frills' for the time being....my number one goal is to live on as little as possible so dh can apply the rest to debt.....when we finally get caught up (will be a long while)...i will probably adjust my system....but for now this is working great...mostly because of the 'limits' i have put on myself.. i stop and question myself about each and every purchase i am about to make....every dollar i shell out for something is one less dollar i have for the next item...so i am taking it very seriously......
 
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
[QUOTE =sabrelvssammy;1147632] i have gone to the 'all-cash' system and keep the cash in an envelope...( i don't have categories....i just set an amount...like $100 was my goal for this month)...that is not for fixed expenses...DH pays those...this is for anything else we could need during the month....food, hba's, my gas (he has company car)...whats left i roll over....mostly coz we've been eating from the stockpile since january i haven't had to buy alot...feb was $100 a week and i was able to retain a huge portion of that so told dh...don't need anymore for march...use it to pay down cc's...so i came in at $103 for march (and still have $59.00 left) yea me....

as for the record keeping i keep a small notepad in the envelope and as soon as i shell out the cash i whip out the notebook and write it down...then put the receipt in the back of the envelope behind the cash.... when i get a stockpile of receipts i transfer them to a larger envelope...if i don't write it down immediately it will got lost in the shuffle...i do it right then and there...(if there is a long line behind me i step out of the way....)
QUOTE]

Actually I like your ideas and I've often considered the envelope system but didn't know how I'd manage since everything is received by direct deposit. I wonder would it be best if I withdraw an alloted amount on the same day the deposit is received and then stick it into my envelopes? I don't want to set myself up for failure.
 

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I'm not as strong as I want to be. Money responsibility is like raising children. You need to know were it is at all times and you need to tell it what to do or it will get into something it's not supposed to, it takes tough love and discipline. You guys are great. I'm getting more controll but I'm still working on it.
 
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Wow, what a wonderful post! This is something that I really need to be doing. Today I figured out what may April budget is going to be, as long as DH agrees, so I'm going to be using the virtual envelope system. This will be my first month on a budget ever! Now that's sad, but you got to start somewhere, right? It will be nice to see where all of our money goes.
 
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That is something I need to seriously think about doing.
 

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I have tried to do this since February but my dh just doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me on this. I think he doesn't want me to know how much he is spending at the bar after work. I am going to try again for April. It doesn't do much good to know what I am spending if I can't figure in what he is spending. Giving him an "allowance" hasn't worked at all. He just goes out and spends it all in a couple days and then starts using the atm card and messes me up on our budget.
 

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I didn't like writing every penny down, I do however love the cash system. I have the TMMO envelope system and I put the cash in the envelopes weekly, when it's gone it's gone. The checking/debit is for bills only. DH never uses a debit card or writes a check, he's anti-technology lol.

DH deposits the same amount out of his check into the checking every week, this makes my budget easy to track. Whatever is left he keeps for his gas money, or he just saves it. He's so tight he squeks when he walks, so I never have to worry about him blowing money, lol.
When I had direct deposit at my previous job, I just took out my envelope cash for the week from the atm every friday.
 

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I have tried to do this since February but my dh just doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me on this. I think he doesn't want me to know how much he is spending at the bar after work. I am going to try again for April. It doesn't do much good to know what I am spending if I can't figure in what he is spending. Giving him an "allowance" hasn't worked at all. He just goes out and spends it all in a couple days and then starts using the atm card and messes me up on our budget.
sorry but that's the only way this is gonna work for you...my dh is the same way....i have no idea what he spends his allowance on (i can tell you its nothing but junk...coz i never see anything brought home) he could be tucking it in the 'dancin girls' for all i know...but it's HIS allowance and once its gone...its gone.... so you have to not allow excess to accumulate in the atm and he can't draw it out....if i was to tell dh he had to 'write something down' or start 'budgeting' his money...he would freak out and start 'babbling' like a crazy man....better left alone....there's HIS money and then 'our' money.... (somehow i got left out of the equasion...) boohoo....
 

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sorry but that's the only way this is gonna work for you...my dh is the same way....i have no idea what he spends his allowance on (i can tell you its nothing but junk...coz i never see anything brought home) he could be tucking it in the 'dancin girls' for all i know.

You completely crack me up! :lol3:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well said Sammy...
Another suggestion would be, if you choose to put your budget on paper, have a category for "unaccounted-for-cash". This can be where you record DH's allowance. If DH looks at the budget, he may start to come around. Seeing a large amount there should get his attention about being more aware of his spending far more effectively than all the talk or arguments. In the meantime, try not to stress too hard. Just taking the first step will do wonders.
 

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I need to go back to doing this... in fact, I was thinking of doing it for the month of April. I'm really good at keeping things in my head, but I need to go back to figuring out per-paycheck and per-month totals of how much I spend on things.
 

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I have tried to do this since February but my dh just doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me on this. I think he doesn't want me to know how much he is spending at the bar after work. I am going to try again for April. It doesn't do much good to know what I am spending if I can't figure in what he is spending. Giving him an "allowance" hasn't worked at all. He just goes out and spends it all in a couple days and then starts using the atm card and messes me up on our budget.
Have you considered two checking accounts? One for fun stuff, the other for bills?
 

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Love this strategy!
Have been keeping my numbers since 1/27/08.
The trick is to actually look at them once the month is over...

So cool to be in jiving w. other people doing the same.
 

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keeping track of where the money is going is a great way to help budget. I think Dh and I will have to do that for April, it might help us think twice about a purchase.
 

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Love this strategy!
Have been keeping my numbers since 1/27/08.
The trick is to actually look at them once the month is over...

So cool to be in jiving w. other people doing the same.
I'm really glad this challenge hits home with you. It really does help to see it on paper. Keep up the good work!:)
 

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Keeping track really is the key!! Hubby and I have worked really hard to do this and we also make sure to take just a minute or 2 each evening to talk about anything we might have spent during the day......we are trying really hard to stick to the budget and make things work!! :)
 

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So... are we going to post in here what we spend every day? or is it more of a personal accountability type thing?
try posting what you spend in the 'what did i buy today' thread....

and if you don't spend you can post in the 'no spend challenge'...

and if you buy something really 'unfrugal' you can post in the 'what did i do unfrugal today' thread...(that can be either an unfrugal action or unfrugal purchase)....

plus in these threads you can see what others are buying or not buying and get motivation....

you can subscribe to these threads so that you can pull them up everday under your userCP so you can remember to post in them....
 
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