the average person has been described
as someone driving on a bond-financed highway,
in a bank-financed car,
fueled by credit-card-financed gasoline,
going to purchase furniture on the installment plan
to put in his mortgaged-to-the-hilt home.
In addition, he forgot to mention wearing credit-card financed clothes!
Money is a hot topic these days with the cost of gas soaring and in turn affecting just about every other item we buy.
I tweaked and tightened up our budget this year in order to make room for big purchases, payments and changes coming up. I was concerned that we wouldn't be able to stick to it and it would end up too restrictive but happily so far it's been working out just fine.
I set up several different bank accounts for various goals and have been using mint to manage all of our transactions. Both have been an incredibly helpful to me in terms of visualizing everything and where it's all going. Money that we are saving towards particular categories (travel, insurance, cars, toys, house, emergencies, medical etc) is automatically transferred into the appropriate accounts so we don't even see it and thus don't feel more flush than we actually are.
I cut our grocery spend down drastically by upping our meal plans to monthly and only making one grocery trip a month. I love love love not having to go to the grocery store as much now and not having to meal plan as often. Seriously, I don't know why I didn't do this sooner!
We've also changed up the way we've been eating a bit and that's also helped in cutting down on the grocery bill and our eating out budget.
Home inventorying our house has been quite the ordeal (how do we have so much junk!?!) but it has been eye-opening seeing how much I already had, particularly in terms of clothes and shoes.
In order to combat both the feeling of having nothing to wear and wearing the same 10 items constantly, I've taken to devoting an hour of my Sunday afternoons to setting out clothes for the week ahead. This has done wonders for me! I am constantly rediscovering favorites now that I am taking the time to peruse my closet instead of the five minute grab in the morning of whatever is closest. I have a massive closet and certainly don't "need" much of anything so it's really helped me narrow down my shopping to those special little extras without feeling like I'm suffocating from "the budget".
Gas and electricity, not much can be helped there but we do commute together to save the wear and tear on our cars and we've also kept our heat at 52 all winter except for an evening or two during the weeks when it's freeeeezing and I bump it up to 58. Our house is pretty well insulated and in the evenings I just live it up in my north face pants and LEC sweatshirt and Uggs. Sexxxy!
I'm always interested to hear how other people manage their money, so share your tips! How do you budget?