we finally had to get serious about our budget.
i've always "claimed" there was a budget before,
but really, it was a flexible spending account.
meaning, if we came within 2 or 300 dollars of our goal, we could always just do better next month.
well, after two years of trying to do better next month we realized we were spending astronomical amounts of money on things that could be costing much less.
i had no idea where all of our money was going.
grad school is almost over, and there is only one more set of loan checks coming in january.
we're down to the skimpy minimum,
and i've never felt more financially secure.
yes, you heard me right.
i've never felt more financially secure.
after years of "budgeting" (or so i called it), we've finally created a budget that is working.
when i tell you what we're doing you're going to say, "no duh."
it's nothing fancy.
and it works.
10 Steps to Financial Freedom!
(just call me suzi orman, haha)
1. i get my calendar.
2. i take the total $$ we have for the month and subtract all of our regular bill payments.
3. i divide the $$ left into the number of weeks in the month (grrr to the 5 week months!).
4. i write the $$ amount we have for each week of the month at the beginning of the week (yes, it's usually the same number and yes, i write the same number down to remind me what we have. the "in your face" idea works for us.)
5. i save and sean saves every receipt from any purchase we make during the week (even the $1 i pay to park at the gateway discovery. every penny counts!)
6. i plan all of my meals for the entire week, but writing down the meal we will have on each day.
7. i make a shopping list.
8. i only buy what's on my list.
9. we don't eat out. we eat leftovers for lunch & sometimes one night of the week, depending on how many leftovers the meals i've made during the week can last.
10. if there's not enough money in the budget for the week, the expense waits until the following week.
is it always easy?
is it hard to say,
"we can't afford it this week?"
but are we tied down by spending money we don't have?
we're sticking to the budget, and it feels really great.
i came within 38 cents of our weekly budget this week.
i'm so proud:-)
i'm sure there will be an unexpected expense or bill, but we'll work it in, and we'll feel all the more smart.
and if not, we'll make do, but we'll be better off for our planning.
goddesses, let me tell you, not having to think about "what's for dinner" b/c it's already planned and everything is in your fridge for the ENTIRE WEEK is aMAZing.
i DARE you.