Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow? and Cash!

I say "Snow?" because our weatherman in Atlanta told us that we were supposed to get 1 to 3 inches of snow.  Well, we got a light dusting at our house.  I was kind of disappointed with the outcome.  I was hoping for our first snow at our house and to get a pretty picture of the house.  I guess this one will have to do!

Something that I really really enjoy is budgeting.  It gives me a peace about spending money on the everyday things like groceries and gas.  MR.P and I started doing the envelope system about 2 months ago.  But, let me clarify what the cash system means to us (its different for each couple).  We pay all of our bills, like the mortgage and utilities with our debit card, then transfer money to various savings accounts, but everything else is cash.  So really, each month we are only taking cash out for eating out, gas, groceries, and misc. stuff.  We take the cash out on a bi-weekly basis so we aren't taking very much cash out at one time.  So NO, we don't have tons of cash just laying around.  For us, this works.  Our struggle was spending too much on these categories.  But let me tell you...doing the cash system has totally worked for us!  We took a set amount into the grocery store the other day and at the end I thought I had done the math wrong and almost told the cash register to take an item off!  It was a little embarrassing, but totally made my day too because it meant I wasn't about to use the debit card instead!!!

To implement the budget we use a spreadsheet to map out each month.  Sometimes things have to get moved around so its nice to have the spreadsheet to play around with and see how everything fits together.  I think of it as a puzzle.  In order to make sure we are staying within the budget we use .  This site allows you to set a budget (same as our spreadsheet) then downloads all of your transactions automatically.  Then you can put them in the correct category.  At the end of each month it shows you how well you have stayed on budget, your trends of spending, and where you could have saved more.  I have totally fallen in love with this site!  The first few months I didn't like it.  Too many transactions going through and it was a little convicting!  Well, once we started the cash system it has made things so much easier.  The only transactions going through are the cash we are taking out (which can be split into different categories) and our bills!  Makes life so much simplier.

It took us about 2.5 years of marriage to figure out what works best for us.  I am thankful that we finally figured it out!  I have such a peace about this.  I am trying to pray daily that the Lord will help us to be disciplined with this and that we will continue to do this for a long time. 

Ok, so what about Credit Cards?  Well, they are difficult.  Our goal is to use them occationally for big purchases to keep our credit up, BUT only if we have the cash to pay it off immediately.  My friend Emily at imperfect had a great post today on the cash system and CCs.  You should see what she has to say about it! 


Emily said...

Love reading other budget posts, why am I such a budget geek?!

I've tried Mint a couple different times and get frustrated - if I remember correctly they don't have access to all of our different accounts so things aren't accurate. Might have to give it another try!

Brian and Ashley said...

I'm from Birmingham and our weather was a bummer too. I was so sad.
Budgets are so hard! We use the envelope system too, but not so hard core. It gives me a feeling of where we are money wise without over spending on the debit card.

Well, have a great weekend! said...

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