This and That

Money Mondays: The “B” Word

Posted on: August 15, 2011

Today for Money Monday I am going to talk about the dreaded “B” word:  Budget.

Last week I challenged you to figure out what you spent most of your money on. To find out where your treasure is.  My hubby and I spend most of our money on food…at the grocery store and going out to eat.  We love good food and that is our treasure.  I have always had a love-hate relationship with our treasure because though I love going out to eat I always get eaters remorse immediately after.  I would kick myself for days about the money we spent.  I knew we had to get control of our spending, particularly on food, but didn’t know how.  These conversations would go on in my head every week for seven years.

Throughout the years we would try and cut back how much we spent on food and other random purchases to no avail.  We wanted to save more but somehow couldn’t.  Something would always come up.  Our really really good friend was having a birthday dinner celebration that we HAD to go to and each HAD get a three course meal plus drinks.  Or a great deal on a weekend getaway would magically appear and a deal like this would never come up again, so we HAD to buy it.  Something would always happen….or nothing would happen but once again our money would just disappear with every swipe of the debit card.

Then finally this year we got really serious about getting control of our money and getting on a…budget…gulp.  The “B” word!  We started listening to a lot of very intelligent people who know a lot about money.  We read Dave Ramsey’s book Money Makeover, we watched The Suze Orman Show, and I try and listen to my mom’s advice (which has always been difficult even though she is usually right).

We designated a certain amount each month for everything we needed: food, clothes, medical expenses, miscellaneous, date nights, etc.  But most importantly, we decided how much we wanted to save every month. A realistic number that was attainable but still challenging.  We cut back on everything, but mainly on our treasure…on food.  We decided we only had X amount of money to go out a month and let me tell you that number was small, painfully small.  I started planning our weekly meals and ONLY buying what I needed to make them…instead of buying the whole store.  I made an excel spreadsheet to track our spending as we went along each month.  Lastly we only use cash now, except for buying gas.  Having cash on hand is still very strange because for years hubby and I NEVER had cash on us.  NEVER!

Using cash and having a predetermined amount of money to spend each month really changes how you look at purchases.  I find myself researching a lot more for sales or better deals.  I wait and save up for things if I can’t afford it that month (which I would have never done before).  We have never saved so much money as we do now.

Before starting our budget we would only save about four hundred dollars a month and now we save eighteen hundred dollars a month.  NO JOKE!  We were throwing away fourteen hundred dollars a month on average.  Just on food or coffee or clothes we didn’t need or a hundred of other random, unimportant purchase.  But not any more!!

Now, I will be completely honest….it’s really hard.  We were so use to just buying whatever we wanted whenever we wanted it.  To put these hard restrictions on ourselves was and is very hard.  We both felt resentful the first two months and sometimes still do.  But then we remember how much we are saving and we stick with it.  We see the awesome rewards from the sacrifice every month.

For it to work you have to be completely committed.  You have to draw a line in the sand and refuse to cross it.  So, will you use a “B”?  Will you use a budget? You will be amazed at how much money you really have when you do.

Hubby and I use Dave Ramsey’s budget outlines from www.daveramsey.com

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2 Responses to "Money Mondays: The “B” Word"

Very well written – especially the part about how extremely hard it is. I think we all need to know that being on a budget is not fun but if you can do it then maybe I can do it also. Thanks

[…] first got serious about getting control of our money, we wrote out a budget (which I talked about last week) but a budget isn’t enough. As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good […]

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