Do you set a budget? Do you have everything spelled out in black and white? Do you have a very specific plan for your money?
I really dislike the word budget. I always have. It makes me feel very constrained for some reason. The logic we always used - we made X amount of money, therefore we HAD to spend less than that.
Luckily, that worked for us.
There are so many things and ways for people to budget. Some divide money into jars or envelopes. Some use spreadsheets, notebooks, special accounts - the list goes on and on.
I have to admit (sheepishly) I have never read a Dave Ramsey book nor have I watched any videos, etc. of his. It just never appealed to me.
Now I have read Tightwad Gazette and a ton of books on ways to do things cheaply - but no real budget material.
I/we just always used the simple principle of never spend more than we made. We tried to work it out that either one of us could pay the bills in case the other was without pay for a certain amount of time.
Yes, that meant we didn't go out shopping a lot. Yes, that meant we bought a smaller and less expensive home than most people we knew. Yes, it meant learning how to do things ourselves. Yes, it meant we took our lunches to work or came home for lunch. Yes, it meant we learned to have quality fun with friends cheaply (movie nights, camping, etc.). Yes, that meant for most of our lives we drove older vehicles. We only purchased a brand new vehicle (a first for us both) after our house was paid in full.
Lot's of people didn't understand us - but we eventually rubbed off on some of them!!! I think they began to see we saved and had some money for the future and we weren't in horrible debt - and they wanted to taste that treat as well!
Some things we did:
- ALWAYS saved 10% - 15% of our pay right off the top
- Didn't just shop whenever we felt like it - we set specific days and weeks to shop
- We got on the budget plans for all utilities that would let us. We paid the same amount every month - versus huge payments in some months
- We talked about and saved for bigger purchases
- Found new ways to do things - husband was a mechanic and could take care of our vehicles. He was handy. I was crafty and learned older ways from my parents.
- Cooked at home
- Loved clearance and mark downs
- Joined in 401K or other programs offered to the full extent
- Gardened and put up a lot of our own food
You get the idea. We just LIVED WITHIN OUR MEANS! That is the big statement! Don't try to keep up with the Jones - keep your life simple and within YOUR means.
I hear people say "I can't cut out anything else". Bet you can. You don't HAVE to have cable, internet, cell phones, morning lattes, lunches out, shopping all the time, tons of junk food, etc.
There is always something that can be cut out - you may not like it - but if you are having money problems, you need to do whatever you can to get above water. WHATEVER IT TAKES.
Like if you go overboard at the grocery and just buy because you see it and it says 'buy me'. Shop online and have your groceries delivered. Stay out of the store.
If your internet bill is too high - either shop around for better service or just go to the library and use their connection (free). Maybe you and a neighbor can share both connection and cost.
Read books from the library - quit buying them
Take lunches (leftovers are great) and quit going out
Stop bad habits - smoking, drinking fancy coffees, pop, etc.
Read blogs, watch Vlogs about new ways of doing things (cheaply)
Reuse, reduce, recycle everything you can - it does make a difference
I am curious how others BUDGET. Share your ideas and hopefully those ideas will help someone else. We all need new ways and ideas of doing things.
What say you?
I loved this post Cheryl. It showed just how practical and down to earth one can live without fancy plans and fancy living.ReplyDelete
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage
Thank you. Our life together was simple and practical, as is my life now. I know some don't get it - but it has just been our way. It worked too!Delete
Sounds like you did great! And you didn't have the stress of being in debt or paying the bills. My Daddy always said, it wasn't how much you made, but what you did with what you made.ReplyDelete
As for me, I have tried to save and do many of the things that you did. I married a spender though, but I made sure we paid the cc in full each month, but we never seemed to get ahead. Then I read Dave Ramsey, and we did his Financial Peace University. We got serious then, dropped directv, paper etc etc, and paid off our mortgage in 10 years. Trying to save half of our income now, plus paying cash for our son's college.
Peace of mind is worth any small sacrifice now, and it helps that I hate to shop. ;)
Thanks for your blog, it helps me learn new things and ways to save money. I love your recipes too.
Being with a spender can be a detrimental for sure. Sounds like Dave Ramsey got you BOTH on track. That is wonderful. I love reading success stories!Delete
I agree with your Daddy. It is about what you do with what you have and being HAPPY with it.
Peace of mind is priceless.
Thanks for being here and contributing!
I'm like you in this. My husband could make or mend anything and I gardened, preserved, cooked and sewed. I have never liked shopping and charity shops are my first port of call if I need anything. I keep a record of what I spend but happily now on a pension with low outgoings, I don't have to worry about spending the odd pound or two extra.ReplyDelete
My husband used to keep a chart of where the money went each month, just because he was curious. It never stopped us from doing things.Delete
I am pretty secure now and although I would think long and hard about a big expenditure - I can do things.
Planning and watching pennies sure does pay off.
I am glad for you.
Well let's just say that you were old school and you didn't let society change you. As we became more affluent you stayed the same. Good for you.ReplyDelete
Yeppers, old school would best describe me. The only time I was ever really swayed by society was as a teen - and I always heard the old saying "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you"? (Daddy) I guess that kind of stuck.Delete
Never been swayed by the love of things or money.
I guess I am one of the lucky ones.
We have more of targets that we use. We are lucky in that we can make adjustments to many of our categories. We always start by maxing out our retirement. Then, we live off of one component of our income (our salaries) & don't plan for bonus & stock. This allows us some flexibility, but still ensures we're staying on track.ReplyDelete
We also track all of our expenses, and report in on some of the categories that have the most fluctuations.
Good for you on not counting bonuses or extras. So many people do. I so often hear - "wait till we get our tax check". Drives me crazy.Delete
Glad you are a planner and saver. Sounds like you are doing it great.
I was/am a single mom so things were very tight when my children were young. Budgeting then meant planning a menu around the groceries I could afford that month (after paying the mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc.) Usually by the end of the month the kids were fed, while I ate once a day.ReplyDelete
Then I quit my low paying job and took on student loan debt to go to university. That's a decision I'll never regret. I struggled for a few years post graduation but we managed, and then I got two promotions within a year - the difference in gross salary was about $1000 a month. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! I must admit I did spend more than I ought to then.
I retired last year and took a significant drop in my income but I had been planning for it for about 10 years so I'm doing okay. I've definitely cut out the non-essentials and have become more frugal. I'm having fun with it!
Sorry for the blog post in my response!
I love your response. That is another side, that hasn't been talked about. You had a lot on your plate, and you made it work. That is so admirable. You and your children should be proud of what you accomplished.Delete
I would think that it might be easy to over spend a bit when a big windfall happens suddenly in life.
Planning for retirement is so helpful. Makes life easier for sure.
I love your attitude. "I'm having fun with it!" That is the way to do it.
We also track all of our expenses. After ridiculous spending through our 20s (with the advice from my in-laws that drove us nearly to bankruptcy), I read Your Money or Your Life in 1999. I asked hubby if he would do the work with me (he is not a reader). We learned rather quickly what was stupid spending and what we really wanted.ReplyDelete
So no, we don't budget. We don't need to in order to live beneath our means. Even now that I've retired and am drawing 1/10 of what I earned, we're fine.
So grateful for learning about money early!
I am so happy you learned early in life what was important. I went through a phase with my ex - he was a huge spender, and that was inviting at the time. I sure learned a lot from that experience. God rest his soul, when he passed away his family had to have a Go Fund Me to pay funeral costs. It seems some people never learn.Delete
You are lucky that hubby jumped on board. You did great!
Thank you. We honestly owe the credit to "Your Money or Your Life" for giving us the guiding principles. Then decided to commit to the discipline of doing the work.Delete
I cannot recommend that book highly enough for anyone struggling with $. The investments don't apply in today's economy, but the remaining chapters will apply forever.
We budget on an Excel spreed sheet. We have been doing it that way for years. All 3 of my kids use Everydollar from Dave Ramsey. They use the free version. They do most of it from their phones.ReplyDelete
In the last 10 years I have fallen in love with reading finance books and blogs. So many people have different approaches but it basically all boils down to spend less then you earn.
It amazes me how many people think of a budget as a bad thing. I think it gives us more freedom. When we are on vacation we know how much we can spend. Then we use the money to have fun knowing that when we get home we won't have credit card bills that we can't pay. It makes the vacation more relaxing. I would stress more not knowing how much I could spend.
Exactly. Spend less than you earn! That is the main component to all plans.Delete
You used some key words and phrases - 'more freedom', 'relaxing', ' no stress'. These are major words describing - spend less than you earn.
Love this post! We have never budgeted; and when I would mention it to my husband, he always said that we don't spend what we don't have. We didn't go into debt for furniture, clothes, etc. Our only debt was a home, paid for early, a move for ministry change and that home paid off quickly. We buy on sale, thrift shop, etc. and have NEVER lacked. God has faithfully met our needs and often our wants!ReplyDelete
Thanks. I love your response. Don't spend what you don't have - best advice!!!!!Delete
You have definitely figured it out and made a good life. God manages to make sure we have what we need.
I love a budget. I HATE not having enough money or freaking out from nasty surprises. With a budget I can keep on top of things. I am fairly cautious. I like to save, be ahead... the only way is with some kind of plan and budget. To me it is a safeguard. xxxReplyDelete
It sure is a safeguard. I hate surprises as well - and being caught without funds for those is not fun. Plan for the worst and hope for the best!Delete
I love a budget too. I agree with you and many of your readers who find it more freeing to be prepared and not more limiting.ReplyDelete
I like saving my money. I like having it in case I need it. It's so comforting to sleep well at night due to years and years of good spending habits.
Thanks for this great post, Cheryl.
I've enjoyed reading all the comments too
Well thank you for chiming in. It sure is a comfort to know that an emergency won't be just devastating. Yes indeed.Delete
Good spending habits = comfort and peace of mind!