Friday, March 13, 2009
Finding Freedom Friday
This week on Finding Freedom Friday at Cents to Get Debt Free she's talking about budgeting :) Seems to be the topic of the week.
As usual she has some specific questions - some I answered yesterday but I'll answer some more today (I answered them backwards because that flowed better for me):
What are your tips for making a budget and sticking with it?
- my tips all come from using what other people have already done. I find no need at all to re-invent the wheel. Thus, I subscribe to the Grocery Game and have begun using the software program You Need A Budget. With 5 kids I don't have time to come up with any of these ideas on my own :) So, for me the best way to make a budget and stick with it is to use what has been already done.
Since you have been on a budget have you seen any positive changes? Negative?
- the biggest positive is that when I got my tax refund deposited into my account I didn't feel stressed or overwhelmed - I have this peace that the money will be spent how I plan for it to be spent rather then just flying out the window with no idea where it went!
- negative changes? We go out to eat less :) There are certainly days when I wish I could drop it all and just go "relax" - after all, the money's in the bank - it's not on a credit card, but then I think about the future - if I've given that money a task in my budget then it needs to stay in the bank till I'm supposed use it - I can either go out to eat 12 times this month and not at all until December or I can be patient and spread it out over the whole year. It's that whole being patient that I am NOT good at.
Do you feel more in control now?
- yes! For the most part. Like I said I now know where my tax return is going rather then wondering where it went and that is a wonderful feeling :) My brain is still adjusting to the whole idea of the budget so that is taking some time for me to be in control of my money and not the other way around but I'm getting there.
Have you been able to cut any categories or shave off in certain areas? Why have you been able to do this?
- I answered this the most yesterday - I have cut out our cell phone and transferred to a pay-as-you-go plan
- I have made a weekly grocery budget to keep from overspending on groceries and cut out eating out
- We have adjusted areas but not made them so restrictive that we can't breathe so that sticking to the budget has been more pleasant and as the months go on should become easier and more natural as we increase and decrease areas as necessary (I like flexibility which is why I haven't enjoyed budgets in the past!)
- Something I didn't add yesterday is that I'm going to cut out one meal a week - not that we won't eat but we will either eat leftovers or eat what is here - this should free up some weekly grocery money to not have to cover a full 6 meals (Sunday's are always crazy so we already eat whatever at home) - now we'll be down to 5 but generally at least one of my meals are quite large and provide plenty of food to eat again!
Still keeping your bottom line at zero have you been able to "find" any money?
- not really - I'm working to fit into my budget so right now, no I haven't "found" any money but I am finding creative ways to spend different areas without overspending :)
How have you been doing on your cash flow plan?
- pretty good - still working out the kinks which is why I keep blogging - helps to keep me on track!
What about you? How's your budgeting going? Leave a comment here or head over to Cents to Get Debt-Free and let her know :)