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After Years of Searching, I Finally Found Something That Works

August 5th, 2016 at 06:06 pm

After years of searching, I have finally found something that works to help stabilize my budget so I don't run out of money before I run out of month. It's so simple that it's scary. It works for me anyway. I think each person has to find what works for them.

I have a skeleton budget on a 4x6 index card for the entire month with all usual expenses: mortgage, electric, gas for car, gas heat, groceries, insurance, cat food, savings deposit, and credit card payment, etc. Whenever a new payday rolls around, I use a new index card for the budget for that payday with the expenses and amounts for the next two weeks based on the skeleton budget referred to above. For each item, I have an amount budgeted for that item. Whenever each one gets paid, I mark through it and add the date paid. If I only use part of the allotted amount, I mark through it and add a note with the amount left in that category. If I am at a store and want to buy something out of the ordinary, I can check my card to see how much I have left and what I need to leave room for so that I know if I can afford to buy the item I want. It is for this reason that the budget be on an index card so that it is portable. I can keep it at all times in my purse. I found it does not help to have a budget on my computer because I can't see it when I really need it.

I have been doing this for about 6 months. At first, it was difficult, because I would want to buy something and see based on my card that I could not afford it. It helped me to really distinguish my wants from my needs and make better choices. I have also paid down my cc #1 from nearly $5000 to about $2900 in just around two years in a two adult, one income household.

Another cool thing I have been doing is to use the amount I save at the grocery store and make an equal payment to cc #1. I also use pocket change to pay part of the grocery bill and so I also make a payment to cc #1 equal to the pocket change amount. Sometimes, I don't really save anything, so I don't make a payment.

5 Responses to “After Years of Searching, I Finally Found Something That Works”

  1. Mrs. Frugalista Says:

    You are doing a fantastic job! Keep up the good work. What are your plans for the extra money once you've finished paying the credit card?

  2. snafu Says:

    Good on you for finding an easy to use system that works for you! I do something similar, look at balances with early AM coffee before anyone is up to add or strike out planned purchases or pay-outs. I was shocked by how much was spent on impulse. I'm trying hard to reign in 'impulse' spending. If it's not on the list - avoid..add to list for another time.

  3. CB in the City Says:

    Whatever method we use, the key is to refrain from spending when the budget says no! Good job!

  4. crazyliblady Says:

    Thank you. It's only taken over 25 years to "discover" this and that was by accident. I realized one day that having a sort of list of budget categories with amounts in my purse would come in handy. I started out with the list on a post it note and it just grew to a 4x6 card. ha-ha My plans for the extra money once the credit card is paid will be to divide it between beefing up all savings accounts and also retirement.

  5. rob62521 Says:

    What cool tools! Good job!

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