Saturday, September 4, 2010

Our Structured Budget – August Test Month

Since we were married 8 years ago, we have always lived with an “unwritten budget”. We lived within our means but never paid too much attention to exactly where our money was going every month! If you have noticed I have been intensely reading David Ramsey books, check out my posts here and here. August was our first month with our Structured Budget plan in place. Our budget plan went as follows:

1. At the beginning of August we created a spreadsheet and allocated where we were going to spend (or save) our money for the month.
2. For the entire month we tracked every penny we spent in the appropriate categories.
3. We watched intensely what we spent and only bought what we needed.

I am proud to say for the month of August our Structured Budget plan was a SUCCESS!! We were able to stay within our total budgeted amount and even managed to begin funding our Christmas account. Our goal this year is to have no Christmas bills in January! This goes along with continuing to fund our boys’ college funds as well as our retirement accounts. Some of our allocations to certain categories will need to be adjusted for September (such as groceries, utilities, eating out, etc), but overall we stayed under budget for August. Our key takeaways for the month:

1. If you write down everything you spend you feel more accountable.
2. We were both questioning certain purchases, it makes you think more!
3. I was able to feed our family of 4 for only $280 for the month (I budgeted for $300 for groceries) so that breaks down to only $72 a week!
4. It really wasn’t that hard to follow the budget, my husband even got In 2 rounds of golf because we budgeted for it!
5. Dave Ramsey uses the envelope system; we used the spreadsheet system, works best for us since we do not use cash all the time.

So at the beginning of September once again we will “tell our money where to go” and continue on our Structured Budget!

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