Money Update

I think I’m headed in the right direction, but I’m at a bit of an impasse. We’ve switched over to the cash envelope system and it seems to be doing well. I know exactly how much money I have until more comes in. I also know exactly how much to give myself on November 20th and December 20th. That leads me to my problem.

When do you start your budgeting “month”?

My husband is paid on the 5th and the 20th, but for as long as I have been recording our spending (over a year now), I’ve recorded it within the calendar month. Now that I look back on it, I wonder if I was misrepresenting our actual financial situation because of this method.

Here is my logic. Husband is paid on the 5th, which means that the money we spend from the 1st until the 4th is actually earned the month before. Then, in our current situation, we actually have more bills from the 5th of the month until the 20th than we have a paycheck coming in. This means that some of the money from the 20th of the month before also continues to be used until the 20th of the current month. His earning stay the same every month, but bills change. How do we account for this?

So that is my dilemma. I know how much to give myself every 20th of the month (since we don’t actually have money to spend on the 5th of the month paycheck) accounting for how much of that paycheck will have to go to the next month, but I don’t know how to account for it all in my expenses. I know that I don’t have to detail every single purchase, but I prefer knowing where my money went after the fact. If there’s confusion I can go back and figure out the problem or I can use those numbers to try to anticipate upcoming expenses.

So, here’s my spending up until the 19th of this month. I may continue with updating in a calendar month format or I may start a 20th-19th format. I’ll let you all decide!

Eating Out – $115.03 Yeah, we need to cool it here. I didn’t even realize it was this high until just now!

Pets – $0 (thinking of combining this one into grocery since some pet expenses end up going there anyway)

Personal – $46.50 Doctor’s visit, lab work, and husband playing basketball (when they can’t find a free place that’s open, they pay)

Grocery – 110.89 And half of that is apples for applesauce! Definite change from last month. I’m attempting to spend less than $20 every grocery trip, which is about once a week.

Cars – $86.22 Somehow we’re spending a lot more on gas this month than last. We’ve already spent this much again since the 20th. Maybe I should start tracking driving? Has anyone had any success with that?

Gifts – $11 Found some used yarn for sale on the internet. Got a couple of skeins for baby stuff, but most of it was for Christmas gifts. We’re pretty much covered on Christmas with canned stuff and stuff I’m knitting.

House – $5.29 Needed some tar for the roof of our garage since it was leaking. My husband did the work himself.

Children – $77 ($35 of which is being refunded to us through the mail as we speak) We cancelled Peanut’s dance class ($31/month), so that’s the last time we’ll be billed for that. I’m also using a wonderful tip from ladykay and hopefully Peanut’s grandparents will gift her enough for Music Together this January as part of Christmas, which would help a ton in budgeting that in. The other $1 was a tip for a balloon animal that a man made Peanut at the farmer’s market.

Entertainment – $22.50 Stuff for Halloween costumes and we went swimming once.

Clothes – $10.66 Found some maternity stuff at a consignment store. Don’t plan on buying any more clothes until baby is out!

Bills

  1. Bradley Class $50 (once more on this one, then we’re done)
  2. Car Insurance $79.63
  3. Comcast $115.02 (actually this is last month and this month’s, which is their fault so they took off a late fee, but of course still charged us for it, so we have a credit on our account)
  4. Mortgage $900.99 (why does it feel so revealing to show you all how much my house payment is?)
  5. Gas $46
  6. Jewelry Insurance $38 (yearly)
  7. MacBook $153
  8. Phone $40
  9. DirecTV $52.10 (after a cancellation fee, we won’t be paying them anymore!)
  10. Midwife $450

On the good new front, we’ve made $70 so far this month on selling random items from our house! I love selling stuff we’re not using. 😀 This next month is going to be rough with money because I spent so much in this first 19 days without realizing I was doing anything wrong. Now that we’re looking at the individual month and budgeting according to that, so things will be tight this month and next (next month we’re paying the midwife twice, but then we’re done!).

Any advice on how to further cut the budget? I’d love to see some of those who commented a couple weeks ago come back and give more advice! You guys were great!

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4 thoughts on “Money Update

  1. Have you looked at using Mint.com for tracking your spending? Makes it so you can track it all online and look it up anywhere. You can even set it up to email you (and others) once you hit a certain budget point or when bills are due.

    Lexi’s jewelry is covered under our home insurance – have you looked in to that?
    Do you guys have Qwest available in our area? We’re sitting at 20mb down 1mb up (who needs to upload anyways?!) and we’re paying $20/month on promotion. $35 after that. We don’t watch tv at all unless its on Netflix, streaming or some other means.

    • I tried Mint and some other sites, but kept getting frustrated at how complicated they were. Right now all our bills are on automatic payment and we’re using cash for everything else, but it might be useful to look into again in the future.

      I’ll have to look and see if our jewelry is covered under our homeowners insurance. It would be awesome to save $40 a year.

      We looked into Qwest, but they couldn’t give us a straight answer on whether or not our incredibly old phone lines would matter until after we actually signed up, which I’m unwilling to do until I know if our incredibly old phone lines would cause a problem. 😛 $35 a month after the promotion period is a really good price though, so I’ll have to look into it. I think we’re at 25 mbps, and paying around $50 a month for it, but that’s with a discount my husband called and got. His work reimburses us $45 a month for internet though, and I’m not sure if we’d get it if our internet was less than $45 a month. Hopefully they’d just pay us whatever the bill was and we’d come out even.

  2. Mint used to be really poor with actually getting everything set up. Now it goes through and pulls the category of whatever you made money from or spent money on. If it doesn’t know what it was it leaves it up to you – and then you select the type of cost from a drop-down box. Then it uses the same category everytime for that item.

    They wont know unless they come out and do a line test. If you get them – they’ll perform a line test when they set up your service. If the home’s wiring is bad enough they can either dedicate a line to just your ADSL, offer to set up a new line for the ADSL within the house or let you cancel then and there.

  3. Mint kept losing and/or double-posting transactions for me, which really sucked because I liked it a lot. I downloaded a virtual envelope budgeting app for my phone so I can still use my debit card and then just deduct things from the correct envelope. It’s worked well for me and it’s nice to be able to see at a glance how much is left in each envelope

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