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 ...
- property taxes
- home insurance
- auto insurance
- life insurance
- cell phone
- bottled water (I consider this essential since we're on well water ... yuck!)
- Kevin's car (we bought mine with cash)
- my student loans
- credit cards
- 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)
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?