Well… we finished the first month on our NEW (to us, not our grandparents!) budget system. Overall I think it went pretty well, but we’ve also got improvements to make.
I’ll give a little rundown for those who may be interested. Skip it if you’re bored already.
LITERAL CASH CATEGORIES
These categories were difficult to adjust to, but I do feel like we are gaining ground which is motivating.
Food Category – (7%)
By far the hardest thing to adjust to is the food category. The lack of money in the food category – and no, we’re not underbudgeting, we just used to go out to eat a little a lot more often than most.
Lunches weren’t so bad. It’s not hard to not go out at work if you simply know there isn’t money there to do it. AND when you’ve preshopped and have frozen meals in the freezer.
Dinners are a different story. They were especially hard. I don’t like to cook. In fact I kinda hate it — and I really REALLY enjoy the experience of eating out with my husband. Eating at home takes work. And time. And in the summer its HOT. BUT eating at home doesn’t take much money! So just gotta get used to the more effort/heat part and things might start feeling a little less of a struggle.
This category went well. If there wasn’t money, I didn’t buy new things. In fact, I chose to take my dog to have his nails trimmed/ears cleaned instead of new clothes. This is an improvement folks. 🙂 Before I just would have done both.
Fun Money (4.5%)
This also worked well for us. We even threw a party at our house in the first 2 weeks of being on a cash budget! I was so proud. So just because you’re on a cash budget doesn’t mean you can’t be social/have fun.
FIGURATIVE CASH CATEGORIES
These categories are pretty stable, and not so hard to adjust to while on the cash budget… I feel that we are making really smart decisions for our future by cutting out unnecessary spending without really even sacrificing that much.
Tithe (10%) – we’ve been doing this for as long as we’ve been married, so not much of an adjustment. If you are a Christian, it is amazing how tithing will grow and stretch you even when it is really hard to tithe 10%.
Housing (39%) – no choice here if we want to stay in our house 🙂
Utilities (5.5%) – its the middle of summer, so things are running high in this category. We may need to adjust this up and lower something else. But we’re going to try it out for 6 months and see how it works.
Retirement (11%) – we def added more money here then we have been doing which is really encouraging for our future
Savings/Investments (10%) – we added more here too, but see the bottom of this post to know where its all going…
Medical (2%) – we didn’t have any medical expenses, so this will move to the savings acct for when we do have some
Transportation (10%) – we did ok here. didn’t have any repairs or shop visits and had enough in the fund to cover gas.
The whole point is to share our adventure in this with you so you can hopefully learn from us and be encouraged in your own budgeting adventures. So I’ll be real with you.
We did do a little borrowing from categories – which we are trying not to do. Mostly this was for eating out. BUT we did get better in the last 2 weeks then we were in the first 2, so that was a small victory. At our last 2 weeks we actually had a fair amount of cash left over which we are deciding if we will move it to savings or if we will carry it over. Right now I am leaning towards savings since bigger purchases come from there anyway, but J and I need to discuss.
Our biggest temptation – Home Depot. OMG. We can spend a fortune at that place. easily. in a weekend. For instance, in the past month we’ve been there probably 10 times, if not more, (no exaggeration here) to buy the various tools and supplies to finish off our screened in porch and finish hanging the last few new interior doors as well as installing our new entry door (which you can see in this post). We made a decision to put all of our HD purchases on a CC so that it can easily be tracked and then at the end of the month we pay off the CC with money from savings. This takes discipline to make sure we don’t spend what we can’t pay off. We will see how this works for the next few months and then adjust if necessary.
Enough of the budgeting stuff… off to take pictures of the newly prettied screened in porch to share with you!