I too struggle to keep within my budget. My main shortcoming is in groceries and dining. Even when I use cash, I still tend to overspend by borrowing from other envelopes or using my debit card for the excess. I am really trying to overcome this one.
What do you struggle with?
Are you doing a zero based budget at the beginning of every month?
You must do a budget every month because every month will be different. If it is February, you may need extra in dining for a Valentine’s dinner or flowers. If it is March, you may need extra gas to travel to your parents home 3 hours away for a visit. If it is April, you may need to put a deposit on your son’s preschool. If it is May, you may need to buy all new sandals and shorts for the kiddies, etc, etc, etc.
Make sure you budget some spending “blow” money too. You know you are going to spend it, so make sure you budget it!
You can’t do a “perfect” yearly budget. I used to do that. I would budget $50 for clothing, $120 for dining, $120 for gas, etc. I would always go over or under in a category. With zero based budgetting you get much closer to the actual numbers for that particular month.
The bottom line is, you MUST try zero based budgeting for at least 3 months before you decide if it works.
I’m on month 2 and it is much better than month 1, but I hope for better management next month.
Good luck and send us some examples of your struggles.
I have been a subscriber to this group for a while, have never posted though… could you please explain what you mean by zero based budgeting? I read this loop and it has helped me a lot, but I still haven’t worked out a “sound” plan for my finances… what works one month doesn’t seem to last very long. Thanks!
I know you are going to laugh, but save all of your change. Put it in a piggy bank, an empty jar, a bowl on your dresser. Every single day, put your change in the container. Leave it there.
When you need gas for that road trip, take the change to the bank and have it put into bills for your trip. You will be amazed at how much money you have just in change. Do it every day. I only let myself keep $2 in change per day. At the end of the day, everything else goes into the piggy bank. We vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and save our change from year to year, it pays for our trip down. One night in a Comfort Inn, meals (generally fast food), and our gas going down. By doing this we are not touching the vacation money until we are on the beach.
I’ve been doing that too. It’s my eggs,bread and milk money in an old coffee can. And you’re right,it does add up. Another thing I do is round UP in my checking account. (My round up point is 40 cents and over.)If something is $15.43, I deduct $16.00 in my check register. At the end of last year, I ended up w/$17.00 over the actual amount. Not a lot,but a start. And, I always know that there’s “extra” in the checking account, in case I get in a bind between pay days. If anyone else has other tips,please share.