Friday, December 19, 2008

The 2009 Budget

Anyone that I talk money to (which I realize is a dangerous subject) knows that I drank from the Dave Ramsey punch and am loving it. Our goal is to be out of debt (except the house) in the next two years. No car payment, no credit cards, no student loan ... just a mortgage.

I'm not brave enough to lay out our entire financial system ... unlike this sweet girl I found, but I will give you the general idea of what we do.

We developed a spreadsheet and entered all our monthly 'fixed' expenses ...

  • mortgage
  • property taxes
  • home insurance
  • auto insurance
  • life insurance
  • phone
  • cable
  • gas
  • electric
  • sewage
  • trash
  • cell phone
  • bottled water (I consider this essential since we're on well water ... yuck!)
Then I list our debts ...

  • Kevin's car (we bought mine with cash)
  • my student loans
  • credit cards
Now comes the part I'd like to discuss with all my friends out there ... the discretionary spending. Three categories:

  • food (which includes food, toiletries, diapers, wipes, household items, and eating out)
  • Kevin's allowance (which he uses for eating out at lunch time, haircuts, and gas to get to and from work, and clothes)
  • my allowance (which I use for eating out at lunch time, haircuts for Lubbock and I, gas, toys, clothes for me)
Any amount of money left over at the end of the month goes toward our debt. This means, no extra money each month ... Dave calls this a zero-balance budget.

We've tried so many different amounts in the discretionary areas and really haven't come up with a good number. I tried making more categories ... separating out the food from toiletries from diapers & wipes, from household items ... you get the idea ... but it just got too confusing and I spent more time shifting money from category to category because sometimes we didn't need toiletries and sometimes we did. I digress ...

The question I pose to you, my dear readers, is ... do you budget? How much do you allocate to the discretionary areas? What do you find most difficult to budget? What tricks have you learned along the way?

2 comments:

Niki said...

It get into financial freedom, budgeting is absolutely necessary - so OF COURSE i budget! And thanks for the awesome blog love... that blog for me is a new one... my baby.

I have always been terrible with money. But putting exactly what I make, exactly what I owe, and exactly where my money is going for everyone and their mom to see, I am keeping myself in check. I wouldn't call it bravery so much as despriation. HAHA

Melisa said...

Ohhh, you said the b-word! Kidding! Okay, I totally need to work on this as we are in rough financial times. I need to make it a priority, but it hasn't made the list just yet...

I'll miss you!!!! Call me anytime!