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Envelope Budgeting-Round 2

February 21st, 2008 at 01:32 am

I just finished using cash envelopes for two weeks, as I mentioned previously. This experiment was really helpful for me. I was much more aware of what I was spending and really thought about things before I let go of the money. I did have a few missteps. I forgot to bring cash with me once, so I resorted to the debit card. I did pull cash out of the envelope in the same amount, though, so that I could keep track of all money spent. I also went to a happy hour after work for a coworker, and used the debit card then as well, because I had no cash.

It was hard for me to remember that I would need to bring cash with me. I am so used to using the debit card for every purchase. I'm sure once I get more used to this, I won't have that problem.

I came in significantly under budget and still had $176 left in the envelopes at the end. I'm using that surplus in this next budget period, meaning I didn't have to pull out as much cash from my account today. Eventually, I'm hoping I can apply the surplus to my savings instead.

So, I'm ready for round 2 starting today.

My Experiment: Envelope Budgeting

February 7th, 2008 at 12:27 am

It has been a while since I have posted here. I'm trying to put in some extra work while things are busy at both jobs so I can pay off that furniture before my zero rate runs out in May. I've already saved $1000 and need about $500 more.

I have been setting budget limits for myself, but using my debit card instead of cash. I'm finding it much too easy to pull out that card and swipe for stuff I really haven't budgeted for. So, starting today, I'm trying envelope budgeting with cash. I went to the bank after work and pulled out $350 in various denominations. Now I just need to divvy that into my envelopes.

It sounds stupid, but I'm really excited to see how this works for me. I'm hoping this will make me think about things before I buy them. And I hope that at the end of this 2 weeks, I'll have a surplus in the envelopes.

Time Flies

October 17th, 2007 at 01:47 am

I can't believe my last entry was Sept 30th. This month has gotten away from me. I find it rather ironic that almost a month has passed, and I am still trying to replace my back door. I was going to get Lowes to install it, but their service has been slow and frankly, it has been a long time since I have been treated so rudely by a company. As a result, they won't be getting my money. I had a handyman come by last night, and I am awaiting his estimate. I also asked him to estimate the cost of repairing some of my vinyl siding. This house was a rental before I bought it, and the renter's obviously weren't very careful with a string trimmer. I guess when it is not your place, you really don't give a hoot what kind of damage you do.

October has been expensive for me. My first two week budget was over on a few categories. But I knew this month would be tough. I traveled to KC, so my fuel costs were doubled. Plus, I had to buy birthday gifts. I did make some good decisions on the gifts-instead of getting gift cards, I bought some smaller items that really were quite nice and $10 cheaper than a gift card.

Even with these expenses, I have been able to put some extra money in savings. And, I'm trying to pay $100 more on my car payment this month. It really is sickening to get those statements each month and see how much you pay in interest.

I have also made a change in my work schedule. I got the chance to work on Saturday mornings at my part-time job. This is only until the end of the year, but it is a good opportunity to get a little more money each week without a significant time investment. Since I'm doing Saturdays, that means I can give up my Thursday evening shift, which was getting a bit stressful for me anyway. I will miss having Saturday completely free, but it is only temporary.

October

September 30th, 2007 at 07:22 pm

I'm trying to get my budget planned for October. My income should be slightly higher due to working overtime and due to October being a 3 paycheck month. Also, my electric/water bill was $40 lower than last month since the weather is cooling off. As a result, I'm going to up my saving deposit this month from $150 to $200. I'm also going to try paying $50 more on my car payment at the end of the month.

I will have some extra expenses this month, the main one being a trip home next weekend for my sister and brother-in-law's birthday party. So, that means 2 gifts this month, plus extra gas costs. I have tried to budget extra toward gas this month to account for this. I also need to take my cat in for his annual exam and shots. I have budgeted $90 for this.

On the home improvement front, I decided to go ahead and buy a new back door now instead of waiting. I have a contractor coming out to measure on Tuesday, and hopefully it won't take much longer to get the door installed after that. I'm paying for this out of my savings. My next major decision is whether to go ahead and get the tree next to my house cut down or wait until I save more money. I thought about waiting, but my friends have advised me to get it cut down before winter, when ice could weigh the branches down and they could damage the roof of the house.

Crazy Week

September 15th, 2007 at 11:49 pm

But I'll be earning some extra money as a result. I worked about 7 hours of overtime this week at my full time job. And I worked Tuesday night, Thursday night and this morning at my part time job. I'm enjoying having today to slow down and get caught up on things.

Another 2 week budget just ended for me, and I managed to stay within budget. I still need to work on groceries though. Even though I am withing budget, I still think I could cut back even more if I just stick to my list. The hardest part of budgeting for me is dealing with my variable income. The money I get from my part time job varies depending on how many meetings I work and how product sales and attendance are. So, as I plan, I never know how much to budget for that until I actually get paid. For example, I got paid yesterday, and made about half of what I did the last paycheck. So I guess now I'll really need to be strict on that budget.

Fall is in the air, and it is time to tackle some of those home improvement chores I have been postponing. The back door to my garage needs a better seal. I thought I'd just need to put a door sweep on it, but once I started looking, I noticed that the threshold is rotting away, which is why the gap is so big. Unfortunately, this goes beyond my home improvement skills, so I might need to call a handyman. I'm tempted to replace the whole door because some of the wood on the frame looks as though it is rotting too. But when I looked at the prices of doors and installation at Lowes, I thought twice. Hopefully I can get it livable and save for a new door next spring. I have so many plans for the house, but it is hard to do them while sticking with the budget.

First 2 Weeks of Budgeting

August 18th, 2007 at 12:36 am

I managed to stay within my budget the last 2 weeks. In fact, I have about $10 that I didn't spend. I did overspend in certain categories, like groceries, but what I saved in others still kept me in budget. There are a few things I might have to modify. For example, one of the reasons I went over the grocery budget is that I spend about $8 every week in weight watchers 2 Point Bars. Since I work there I get them at half price, but that still is expensive.

I just finished coming up with my budget for the next two weeks. Wow, lots of bills to pay ($1500). I've never really had to pay such tight attention to my cash inflow and outflow. It really makes me a bit stressed out. Still, this month is very unusual since I put the down payment for my car ($500) on a credit card. I don't want to pay interest on that so I'm paying it all this month.

Sticking to My Budget

August 10th, 2007 at 11:08 pm

Last week, I came up with a 2 week budget. So, one week into it, and I find I'm doing pretty well sticking to it. I just sat down and tallied up what remains for each of my categories. I'm pretty sure I won't go over the whole budget, but might go over on categories like groceries. But I have been able to save in other categories by combining a sale with a Target gift card I had--24 cans of Fancy Feast for 5.73.

I'm really focusing on this and being strict this month, cutting back to bare bones in order to get spending under control. I've had 5 no spend days since the first of this month. Not too bad.

I'm also trying to think of other ways to save. I'm now spending $85 a month on cable. If I switch to satellite I could save $40 a month. That's a lot of money. Yes I know I could save even more if I don't have either service, but I'm a TV freak, so that would be a hard change to make.