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What Budgeting Can Teach You About Money.

March 11th, 2008 at 05:05 pm

I don't care who you are, if you do not write it down monthly, you do not know how much money you are spending. You can do it the old fashion way and just keep a monthly ledger or you can buy a program such as Quicken.

My husband has a terrible convenience store habit and he is constantly stopping at convenience stores buying cigarettes, coffee, diet coke, cookies, candy and snacks. It totals up and usually is $400 or more a month. We were married last August and I finally made the decision to trail his spending with a Quicken program. He really had no idea how much he was spending until I made him participate in the monthly budget.

The first step of my plan was to make him write out the income we anticipated and the debts to be paid:

Salary and Wages: $______________
Rental Income: ______________
Child Support/Alimony: ______________
Social Security: ______________
Pension: ______________
Dividend/Interest: ______________

Total: ============

Federal Income: _____________
State: _____________
FICA/Medicare: _____________
Other: _____________
Total: ===========

401K: _____________
Pension: _____________
Stocks/Bonds/Mutuals: _____________
Savings/College Plan: _____________
Other: _____________
Total: ===========
Mortgage/Rent: ______________
Real Estate Tax: ______________
Car Loan: ______________
Credit Card: ______________
Child Support/Alimony: ______________
Personal Loans: ______________
Other: ______________

Total: ============


Car Insurance: _____________
Homeowners Insurance: _____________
Life Insurance: _____________
Renters Insurance: _____________
Health Insurance: _____________
Dental/Eye Insurance: _____________
Disability Insurance: _____________
Employer Life Insurance: _____________
Other: _____________
Total: ===========

Groceries: ______________
Personal Care: ______________
Magazines/Subscriptions: ______________
Internet/Cable: ______________
Lights/Water/Sewer: ______________
Heating: ______________
Cell Phone: ______________
Telephone: ______________
Vehicle Gas/Taxi ______________
Parking Tolls: ______________
Union/Club Dues: ______________
Entertainment: ______________
Clothing: ______________
Doctor/RX Prescriptions: ______________
Dental: ______________
Day Care: ______________
Other: ______________
Other: ______________
Other: ______________
Total: ============

You will then know what you have left and if there isn't anything left, you need to cut back and budget how to make your money stretch until the end of the month. While DH had his hard copy to work from, I kept the true figures by plugging them in each day to the Quicken program. At the end of the month I printed the actual numbers and we compared them to his hard numbers. Interestingly, he had not budgeted for convenience store stops or cigarettes and he was way off on his budget.

After a few months of trailing all of the little convenience store stops he is finally starting to see how his "habit" is affecting our family budget. I can't say that he has it under contol yet, but at the end of the month he will get his Quicken report showing where all the money went. It's undisputable if you budget and make each other accountable to stay within the budget.

Wish me luck,this has been a hard habit for my husband to break and only true numbers bring reality and accountability.

2 Responses to “What Budgeting Can Teach You About Money.”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    I agree. Learning to budget is very important. Smile

  2. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    At first it is a pain, but once you get on top of the bills and can see light at the other end it becomes a very enjoyable game to play with yourself. You begin to see how much it is helping you have the money you need for those 'uuuh-ohhhs' when the bill comes in.

    Good luck with you and your husband coming into alignment on the household goals!! God bless.

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