Budgeting: Step 2

Back in February, I wrote a post about how I was starting to budget my money. And okay, so it didn't actually happen, I'm sad to admit. I sat down, wrote down my monthly take-home pay and all my expected monthly expenses, and realized I had more money than I expected that was unaccounted for. Money that was being spent, I just didn't realize where. I vowed to figure it out and make a budget for myself. You know, tell my money where to go. And I was serious.

And then I guess I realized that creating a budget and sticking with it is hard. And it takes discipline.


So for a while, I basically abandoned the idea of budgeting. Its much easier to live in denial, pretend a problem doesn't exist. You know what I'm talking about. But lately, God's put it on my heart again to be better with my money. It probably happened the Sunday I realized I didn't have enough money in my checking account to tithe at church that day. Ridiculous!

Being the stubborn sinner I am, though, I still pretty much ignored the problem for a little bit longer. But I just can't ignore it any longer. I have a money problem. There, I said it.

And still, I can't figure out where all that extra cash goes. Like I've said before, I don't get my hair dyed (or even cut regularly). I don't wear the latest designer fashions. I don't get my nails done. My vehicle is paid for. Where am I spending my money?!

I will now be taking a hard look at all my "expenses." I actually think my main problem is buying stuff for C. I'm much better about it than I used to be, but I still have a really hard time passing up cute stuff that she doesn't really need. In my mind the expense is justified since it wasn't money spent on me. (Mommy guilt, anyone?)

I've already decided I won't be depriving myself of things I really enjoy. Like my Kindle books. I read probably a book a week, sometimes more. I won't buy a book for more than $6.99, and most of the ones I purchase are $3.99-4.99. But that still adds up when you consider how much I read. (I've tried borrowing them from the library, but my Kindle doesn't support Wifi or somethin dumb like that. I have a really old one!) I could just say I won't buy any more books, but who wants to live like that? Books are vital to me. And yes, I could go to the library and borrow physical books, but I absolutely love reading on the Kindle - its so much easier. Plus, who has time to go to the library?

Besides, I know that if I "deprive" myself of something like that, eventually I'll go nuts and totally overspend. Or just become really bitter and stressed about it. And you know if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

So, I'll be budgeting for books. And Netflix. My little family has come to love Netflix! Its a new subscription for us, but we watch it all the time. Well, on weekends. Our new "thing" is to eat an early supper on Sunday nights and watch a family movie on Netflix. I love it!

My husband pays all the bills in our house. I mean, we both pay for everything, but he's the one that physically writes out the checks. So I'm sure there are some expenses I don't even realize we have. Which is why he's gonna have to help me with this budget. Right now, we have separate checking accounts, but I hope to eventually merge them into one. I think it will make budgeting a lot easier for us. We'll see what happens there.

I've been reading a lot on Dave Ramsey's site this week. I'm toying with the idea of the cash envelope system. Obviously, it won't work for every purchase I make. But I do like the idea of it, especially for stuff like groceries and clothes. I hate carrying cash around, though, so I'll probably do a modified version of the cash envelope system. I read somewhere recently where you can make the envelopes for cash, but just place a piece of paper in there and keep a running tally. Then you can use your debit card as normal. That method sounds much more doable to me. And its probably exactly what I'll do, once I get this thing figured out.

For now, I have printed out a monthly cash flow plan worksheet from Dave Ramsey. I filled it out as best I could (I need my husband's input for the rest). Its already starting to come together in my mind how I need to make up different categories for my money.

Wish me luck on this latest venture of mine! I feel like I'm all over the place lately. Well, always, haha. But I guess all my recent interests kind of meld together for the same goal. ( :

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