Our household Budget

I did do a blog post almost 5 years about my cash budgeting system and really not too much has changed but since it was requested I thought I’d do another post on the subject. It’s actually pretty good timing as we’ve just gone back to actually reworking and following our budget as we are currently trying to save as much as possible.

Obviously the first step is actually having a budget. There are a number of systems available and spreadsheets aplenty on the internet. I use a program called Simply Budgets (it’s Australian) that I have been using for around 10 years I think. It currently costs $129 but you can get  a 30 day trail for $1. I honestly do recommend this program. It’s such a simple and easy way to set up your budget and as it changes (as it has for me over the years) it’s VERY easy to alter it and the program just recalculates your figures. In your budget you’ll have your fixed expenses, variable expenses and savings (you can also include long term expenses). Be sure to make sure that your budget is actually something you can stick to. No point in having one otherwise.

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However you set up your budget, once you have sorted out your expenses, you’ll need to decide how you are going to stick to it. We’ve tried putting everything on credit card and paying it off in full at the end of the month, but for us this just didn’t work. It’s TOO EASY to put things on credit. We still pay for bills and groceries on credit (as part of our budget) but for our other expenses we’ve been using a cash budgeting system for about 5  years (on and off). We started off with plastic tubs, then went to envelopes, then fancy pencil case things before I finally found something that suits me.

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I bought this cash budget wallet on etsy from A Time for Everything a few years ago and absolutely love it. It’s small and so convenient to carry in my handbag. I just made my own labels but you can buy them on the etsy site.

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I also have a another wallet (from another system I used) that just has money for the kids/school/etc. This stays in my desk.

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Once I have deducted all our expenses I am left with my savings. This we pay straight off our mortgage, as we are able to get the money back out if we need it. But otherwise you should be sure to have a seperate bank account for your savings. It’s great to see the money build up, and you earn more interest plus it means you have to think twice before you withdraw it. And what about the change that accumulates in your purse/wallet? I keep a little tin on my desk and when my purse gets heavy I put coins in here. When it’s full I take it the bank and add to our savings or spend the money on something fun.

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Hope this post is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Do you have any tips for developing or sticking with a budget?

No spend challenge updated

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I have to admit my no spend month has been a bit of a challenge – as I knew it would be. I don’t have much money left in my purse and quite a few items have gone on the credit card – and will have to be paid fornext month. HOWEVER, there have been numerous times this month when I’ve not gone to a shop or ordered something online, purely because of the challenge. So, in that regard, the challenge has been a success.

I was actually doing really well until yesterday. I had to take Amy into town as she needed some skin care. I came home with some new nail polish. Then she “needed” a black bracelet for a halloween costume. I came home with 3 (very cute) necklaces. Then we discovered that Typo had opened in Wollongong. I was “good” and only got a few things. Oops. I totally blame Amy :-).

As for the grocery part of the challenge. I think we can call that a total failure. I ‘ve already used up one of $500 vochures and can’t really see us managing on $500 till Christmas. It was a big ask I suppose when the grocery money includes toiletries and such.

So with just over a week left I’m renewing my commitment to only spend minimally. It’s a bit of a difficult time of year for a no-spend challenge, with it being Christmas present buying season, but I will extend the challenge by a week or two and then MAKE SURE I stick to my budget.

No Spend Month

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Okay, so it’s supposed to be NO SPEND MONTH but I don’t see that happening. Instead our family is going to aim for a minimum spend month. The reason being we’ve… okay, I’ve done a bit of spending lately (partly pleasure and partly medical bills) and our savings has gone back done AGAIN.  I certainly don’t spend like I used to but kids are expensive and I find it hard to say no to them. But this month it will be NO.

My plan of attack is to work out how much money I will need for the month – for things already planned – and just take out that amount in cash.  The rest of my normal weekly spending will be put straight onto our VISA.

Here’s what I know is coming up in October (on top of normal household bills). It’s actually a VERY quiet month so the challenge shouldn’t hopefully be too hard.

– Dogs to vets

– Christy’s new passport

– Appointment at Beauticians (won’t cancel as she’s a great friend)

– Halloween Party (need to supply food, paper plates, cups, etc)

– Possible lunch out with Amy next Monday

– Book group – possible lunch out

– 4 basketball games (we sometimes have dinner out and usually buy an ice-cream or popcorn – will need to look at having dinner beforehand and taking our own snacks)

– Any money paid to the girls for doing jobs.

When I add it up it totals nearly one weeks worth of cash spending – which means I’ll be able to save 3 weeks worth of cash in the month. Not to shabby indeed.

As for groceries I have two $500 vochures (from frequent flyer points) and intend to make that last until Christmas. There are 10 more grocery shops so I have on average $100 a week. This doesn’t include fruit & veg – which I buy at a different shop. On top of that we’re doing a $21 grocery challenge this week – but I already spent that yesterday . Things may be a little challenging towards the end of the week. But I think we should be right, except for milk – which I will buy if I need to. We’re all trying to eat healthy at the moment so I’m not worried what I spend on fruit, veg and other healthy essentials, as long as they are eaten. We’ve had a bit of a bad run with foods going off before being consumed. And that is a big waste of money. We have a pretty well stocked pantry so with a little thought and planning we should be able to manage. And since fruit and veg aren’t included in the $100 we might just have to eat a lot more of those.

Since I normally spend around $200 a week at the supermarket, this will give me $2,000 to be towards our bills, or savings, or our Fiji holiday :-).

So what will we do for entertainment? If the weather ever warms up we’ll go to the beach, have a picnic, visit some gardens to see Spring flowers, get together with friends.  We also have annual pass to the zoo & science center and some movie vochures we could use.

I found a great site if you’d like more information on how you could do a no spend month. Let me know if you’ve done one before or if you plan to join me.

Gotta love the local library

I have to confess it’s only been the last that I’ve really started utilizing the local library. In fact I only got a membership around 2 years ago. But when I realized I could request books, and they’d actually BUY them, then loan them to me – that was when I fell in LOVE!!!

Today I scored these little beauties…

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The top 3 books I had ordered and the bottom two I saw when I had a little browse around. I’m especially excited about the Pioneer Woman Cooks by blogger Ree Drummond. I’ve flicked through it and think it might be added to my TO BUY list. This was one of my requests. I think in the last year I’ve requested at least 12 books and all have been purchased (except one they said was too old). Out of those 12 book I’ve gone on to by 1 (and this will no doubt be the 2nd). Lots of money saved there!!!

So if you haven’t visited your local library for a while do yourself, and your wallet, a favour and do so soon.

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