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Resolution: Budget My Money January 7, 2011

Posted by Sindy in Uncategorized.
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Now here’s where the resolutions get tricky. I’ve set myself budgets before, I’ve done various tricks, but I still don’t have a handle on things.

One thing I tried, and that works to some extent is to divide my money into envelopes – one for each purpose like rent, bills, gas, groceries, etc. (This can be done with checks, but it works so much better with cash.) This works okay, but 1) I can only carry so many envelopes, and 2) with places like Walmart where you can get groceries and windshield washer fluid it’s kind of silly to pull out some from multiple different envelopes.

Another thing is to record my spending. I have a little notepad where I’ve divided the right-hand page into the categories I spend money on, then when I do my bookkeeping, on the left-hand page I write down the date and a short description and then I plug in the amount in the correct column on the right-hand page and then the far right has a running total of what’s left in my budget, and the bottom has a running total of everything I’ve spent in each category. The idea was that when I was getting close to my budget limit I’d highlight the category total, but I’d quickly forget which categories I was overrunning. Plus I would often forget to do my bookkeeping until I couldn’t remember what purchases I’d made. It also quickly became a major pain to record every nit-picky little thing I bought. Even after I reduced it to a general description of the category it fit in I still ended up neglecting it.

The shopping questions I mentioned yesterday do help, but I often get carried away in the moment.

So, this year I’m going to try a little bit of the envelope method, namely rent, bills and gas, and then the rest will go straight into my wallet like normal. I’ll write the shopping questions on a card and put that with my shopping list. I also need a card to write down purchases that don’t come with a receipt. Then the plan is to review the contents of my cart (or basket) before I head to the checkout. Finally, as soon as I get home with my purchases, it’s time for bookkeeping. We’ll have to see how that works.

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