Q&A Tuesday: How do you track your money?

“What kind of system do you use to track your money?” -Ruthanne

[My apologies that it’s Wednesday and I’m just now getting the Q&A Tuesday up. I had good intentions, but it just didn’t happen yesterday!]

First off, contrary to what people might think, I’m more the creative and entrepreneurial one in our family and my husband is the numbers nerd. Without my husband’s attention to detail and love of spreadsheets, we’d be sunk.

What’s crazy is that over the last seven and a half years that we’ve been married, my creative and entrepreneurial spirit has rubbed off on Jesse a great deal, but, unfortunately, I’ve not become any more of a spreadsheet-lover.

So that’s why I’m so thankful for my husband. He has a sophisticated system he uses to track all of the money which comes in and goes out and he keeps us on track with our budget. We review these numbers quite often together to make sure we’re headed in the right direction and on the same page.

In the beginning years of our marriage, he used a ledger to keep track of all of our finances. This worked well, but it took at least an hour each week to stay on top of. He switched over to Quicken a few years ago and it’s been a huge time-saver. Plus, it’s so fun to be able to see all the instant graphs and spreadsheets available with a click or two of a mouse. (If you don’t already have access to Quicken, Mint.com is a very comparable free software which my husband recommends.)

Every single debit card transaction and check we write is accounted for in Quicken so that we can know exactly where we are financially at all times. Since we actually don’t spend a whole lot of money outside our regular bills and what we purchase from our cash envelopes, it usually just takes Jesse about 1-2 hours per month to input our receipts and make sure everything reconciles.

Unlike many people, we keep our cash envelopes separate from our regular accounting. We just take out $425 per month to fund these envelopes and we don’t track the expenditures in these accounts.

Our current cash envelopes are:

::Gifts — $30 per month which covers wedding, baby shower, birthday gifts and so forth.

::Vacation — $50 each month for family vacations (or, if we decide, a fun family outing).

::Clothes — $15 per month per family member (except Jesse, since he has a separate non-cash budget category for his clothing). This covers shoes, socks, clothes, under things, coats, etc.

::Eating Out — $20 per week ($80 per month) which covers our once-a-week dinner out. We usually vary whether we do something really inexpensive or a little on the nicer side.

::Groceries — $40 per week ($160 per month)

::Home — $30 per month which covers home furnishings, decorations and any other home items we need to buy (for instance, last month, we used the money in the envelope to replace our DVD player which had been on its last life for quite some time).

::Homeschooling — $15 per month which covers any supplies we need to purchase and some of our curriculum (I also used the proceeds from our garage sales to purchase some of our curriculum as we splurged on the Bob Jones Distance Learning DVDs for some of our curriculum this year.)

Instead of tracking all the expenditures in each of our cash envelopes, we’ve found that just adopting the “When it’s gone, it’s gone” approach works well for us. Because in reality, after using cash for so long, we’ve found that we rarely have empty envelopes!

How do you track the finances at your house? I’d love to hear! And if you’re married, are you the numbers nerd or is your spouse?

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Comments

  1. Elisa says

    Not a question about this, but what does your husband look like anyway? I have seen pictures of your adorable kids, but never of your husband! I am just curious I guess :)

  2. Sarah says

    Crystal,

    My husband and I have been taking the Financial Peace Univ class at our church and I’ve been following you for about a year now. I’m really starting to get the hang of couponing and becoming fairly successful at it. My problem is that my husband is not as “cooperative” as I wish he could be. Basically he’s kicking and screaming the entire way. I don’t want to complain anything because he is an incredible man but how do I get his buy-in for all of this? Even after hearing everything Dave says he’s not ready to get on board! He’s still convinced that he just needs to make more money, not that we need to be better stuarts of the money we have. Suggestions?

  3. says

    Crystal- do you think you could do an open post where people could comment on what envelopes they have…how much….how many kids…general location?! I think that would be extremely helpful for those of us who are considering switching to a cash envelope system!

    • Dani says

      @Courtney, I agree, I have my strict budget but have considered the envelpope system myself. Plus its nice to see what people that are in your situation or close to are doing just to see if you can cut back spending a little more!

      Also, is there anything cute to use for this envelope system? (lol I know, but envelopes get all bent and torn in my purse!!)

  4. Angie says

    Crystal, How do you only spend $15/month on clothes for each person? I find it especially difficult in the winter when there are boots, coats, snow pants, etc. top buy in addition to the regular clothes, church clothes, shoes, church shoes, underwear, socks, etc., etc.,

    • Dani says

      @Angie, My budget is also comparable to this. I don’t have to buy clothes each month though so some carries over. (also, if I know I won’t need anything, I might use mine for the kids, they go through more) I shop sales a lot!! I also have a Kohls card, so I recieve a 30% off once a year and I stock up then, still usually shopping the clearance and sales rack. I also buy off season. For example, at the end of winter I bought about 75% of my son’s clothes for this fall and winter and about 50% of my daughter’s ( didn’t find as mcuh for her). I got long sleeve shirts at Target for $1.50 to $2.00. I got two hoodies from Kohls for about $4.00 a piece (toddler sized). One hoodie was Nike and one was Osh Kosh. My kids actually have really cute clothes and often get comments on how cute they are dressed too!! Also, when family ask what my kids want for birthdays and Chrismas, I tell them clothes! Of sourse they also seem to through in a toy lol, but they understand what they need! This helps out greatly! For Birthdays I ask for summer clothes and for Christmas, I ask for winter. That really only leaves me getting fall clothes and things they need along the way.

      Sorry so long! Hope this helps a bit.

    • says

      Well, it probably helps that we don’t live in a place where there are long, cold winters. Usually, a warm coat and hat and scarf will do. And we’ve found that if we buy these a little big at the end of the season, we can get a great deal and they’ll last for 2-3 years per child and then can be handed down to the next child!

      • Dani says

        @Crystal, I actually did that for my daughter, well my dad did. He bought her a winter coat (she was about 7 months old) in a size 2T. We used it for two winters! Best thing was he got it on clearance at Walmart for $8.00!!!! It was plain, just pink, but cute!

        • Lisa says

          LOL!! I think winters are really long and cold in Kansas! But, that is a former Florida girl talking. I think my winter clothing budget is bigger than yours!

    • says

      @Angie, We are from Oklahoma but lived in Michigan for a time….they had great sales on winter items at the end of the season(same thing in Oklahoma). We are a family of 4 and our clothes budget is $30/month. I stock up on things at the end of the season and save a ton!! Last year at the end of summer, I got adorable shorts from Children’t Place for $0.99/pair and golf shirts for $1.99/each. I bought about 4 of each size and color in 12M, 18M, 2T, 3T, and 4T. I have two boys who were a 3month’s old and 2 years old at the time. They are wondeful shots with botton sizing waists and I just have them packed in the trundle until we need them. We usuall don’t spend $30/month regularly, but since I have the money stockpiled from each month, when a great sale comes along, I snag up all we need. It’s truly been a blessing!

      JCPenney’s also has fabulous clearance racks for the entire family. Most of the times I can get sweaters, tops, bottoms, skirts, dress pants, or anthing else we need for under $6/piece for us grownups, and under $3/piece for the kiddos. I hit the jackpot one time and got lots of pairs of dress pants in different color’s and sizes for$1.29/pair. Use those awesome coupons too!!!

      Good luck, and have fun!

  5. Dani says

    I’d have to say I am the numbers nerd!! At the beginning of every year I write out every single check I will get throughout the year and what each check will be used for. I do this in excel. I have columns for each bill, savings, and my spending money money. My spending money varies from week to week based upon the bills due that week. By writing out each week, I know if I need to stock up on extras the week before if the next week is going to have less spending money.

    Also my mom and I each write out one financial goal (ex. pay off credit card or save $100.00) and one personal goal (go through old clothes or clean out kitchen cabinets). Then at the end of the year we see who reach the most goals!!! Believe it or not, this helps so much! It’s like a competition to see who can achieve the most (in a friendly way of course!). Our goals can be completely different, and usually are based upon our needs. Its fun to do and keeps me motivated. I have always found telling someone my goals helps me to satay motivated because people usually ask how you are doing towards that goal!

    On my spreadsheet I will keep track of how much money I need to save to reach my financial goals each month.

    I check this sheet at least once a week to adjust total savings and keep on track to which bills are due!!

  6. Leah says

    How do those of you who make irregular paychecks (I am a server, so my checks are extremely irregular, not to mention that I get paid bi-weekly, so I have 2 “extra” checks/year) track your incoming/outgoing? I have a hard time doing cash envelopes, because I my incoming is so sporadic.
    My problem becomes particularly complex due to the fact that I can take home cash tips, but receive credit card tips in my bi-weekly paychecks (this is not the norm for servers), so I might have a lot of cash coming in and a small paycheck at the end of the pay period or little cash and a large paycheck. I realize this is uncommon, but if anyone has any good ideas for how to manage/track this I would be grateful!

    • Dawn says

      @Leah, We have irregular paychecks due to my husbands job. We have a ‘master budget’ with all the necessities on it (mortgage, food, gas, utilities, etc) based on what I know his smallest paycheck could be. Then we split the budget in half (he gets paid every two weeks.) according to when then bills are due. When he gets paid, I sit down with this budget and a list of upcoming needs or events and work in what I can after necessities are covered. When I have spent everything on paper, I stop. (Dave Ramsey says if you’re below the line, you’re out of luck :)

      Twice a year, when we have an ‘extra’ paycheck, I save as much of it as I can and use that money to pay ahead on as many things as I can. With 3 kids, that is usually paying ahead on their school lunches, putting away for summer camp/activities, school clothes/supplies,etc. Or it could be knowing the car will be needing new tires in the next few months… That way I don’t have to fit those things into my monthly budget.

      Hope that helps!

  7. Dani says

    I have a question! I am about to start the envelope system. My bills are all due at random times throughout the month. I get six pay checks a month. (two jobs, one pays out bi weekly and one weekly). I’m not sure how to get started with this. Do you fill envelopes weekly or monthly? (probably doesn’t matter, but I feel like this is important. I have done my budgeting the same way for so long that switching makes me nervous. I know it will help because there has been a few times I went over my weekly budget from using my debit card due to being in a hurry or something coming up and not writing a transaction down. My kids are the same age as your two youngest and things don’t go as planned sometimes lol. My balance of 0 in my bank is actually $100 so I never overdraw my account, but I have gone over my budget.) Any advice for switching and doing it smoothly would be greatly appreciated!

  8. says

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE working with numbers! I manage an Accounting dept by day and then do the accounting for 3 small businesses in my spare time one of which is a bookeeping/tax biz. Lots of fun.

    Anywhoo, I use Excel and track everything to the penny. I’ve been doing this for 13 years now and it’s so fun (shocking) to look back at my old budgets from 1997.

    My best advice to people is that you don’t have to love crunching numbers to have a good budget that works for you and your family. It is not really necesary to go to the degree that I do and make yourself miserable if numbers are not your thing. I just do this because I like to.

    I’ve had several clients over the years that have done very well, just by working with a rough outline of their expenses, living on a mostly cash system and doing direct deposit for saving for bigger bills, special stuff and a rainy day. Find a way that works for you (and your spouse can live with without feeling like you are ordering them to “do it my way or else”.” and stick with it.

    I’m a big beliver in having different savings accounts for the things we want to do. Right now I’ve got some going for vacation (now THAT’s a fun account to squirrel away every extra penny into!), one for some new furniture, a new wardrobe (I recently has Weight Loss Surgery and am needing a replace all my clothes) and of course our normal “if we become unemployed” and ” regular” savings accounts.

  9. Monica M. says

    Hi Crystal, thanks so much for sharing. I have a question. We are debt free besides our home. I was wondering when you where saving for your home did you stop everything else like roth iras, vacations, going out eat, etc and just put all that money toward saving for your home?

  10. says

    I would like to know how you budget $40 a month in groceries!!! We are feeding 4 people (baby is breastfed and WIC supplies baby food), we get WIC for me and the two other kids, but we still can’t seem to budget less than $75 a month for groceries.

  11. says

    We each have a notebook (since we think COMPLETELY opposite!) Since we have 2 different savings accounts, and each one has catagories for specific things ( christmas, extra heat money, vacation, school clothes, and regular savings) it gets kinda crazy. I keep track of the actual checking account money (when checks clear, when money transfers, etc). Every payday we sit down together for 10-15 minutes and go over the budget and numbers. Just like you, we have cash for certain items that we get out every payday. But it is most important that we are both on the same track and know exactly where are money is going. Every single dollar has a destination and is accounted for. (except our spending money of course! ) This works for us!

  12. Martha says

    We use the envelope system for our food, eating out, fun money and date money and the rest I track via Budgettracker.com. I import my transactions and put evething in categories. I love the graphs i use. That cost $29 a year and its awesome

  13. Jenn says

    Has anyone mentioned Moneydance yet? (http://www.moneydance.com) It’s a nice, light alternative to Quicken. Most of the same functionality without the bloat, especially if you use a Mac. Pretty much, anyone who raves about Quicken has a PC.

    Now here is my best tip for organizing your categories in any application: Name them “01-Rent,” “02-Auto,” etc. Most reports print your categories alphabetically, not in order of importance. Using the number prefix allows you to choose how things are organized. It can get a little hairy when you factor in subcategories but here’s where my other piece of advice comes in: keep your categories as broad as possible, use subcategories sparingly, and use search to drill-down when you need it. So instead of 04-Heat, 05-Phone, 06-Electric. Have 04-Utilities. You only ever pay one company for phone service so you can search for that company name when you need details. It will save you a ton of time in data entry and your reports will be short and sweet.

  14. juli says

    I have the same question someone else posted about but since there are no responses to it thought I’d ask it again:) Where do people keep their envelopes? My husband and I just started the envelope system but we can’t decide where to keep the cash. It just seems so much safer in a bank…which is why we have always used debit cards in the past. We don’t want to put it where it can be easily stolen but we want to be able to get to it quickly if we need it. We’re just curious about what other’s do with theirs.

    • Keri says

      We keep our’s in platic reciept container. It already has the devided sleeves with tabs to lable!

  15. says

    We keep it much more simple than most. No spreadsheets, lol.

    I have a binder that has a folder for each month. In each month’s folder is an expense sheet and a pocket for reciepts. I go through the receipts and write expenses/income down 1-2 times a month, and at the end of the month add up the totals.

    We do not have a set budget. It’s very much a personality issue for us. Our goal and our method is to spend as little as possible, and pile up as much cash as possible. :p

  16. Mary says

    $40 a week for food? Seriously? How?? For three meals and snacks every day (except that one meal out)? I just don’t get it…

      • Mary says

        @frances, I know. :) 40 a week seems like a goal I could never accomplish..I do the coupon thing and feel like I’m saving all I can..I can’t seem to get below 70 a week… ??

        • says

          @Mary, Crystal has been couponing for years and she’s mentioned that she uses fairly simple recipes. She did recently mention that she may have to increase her grocery budget due to her growing kids and husband’s request for fewer casseroles.

  17. Cindy Diaz says

    We have four in our house , my husband and I and a 3 and 2 year old. I understand the frustrations of others trying to lower the grocery budget. We have lower the budget successfully from $150 to $75 a week. I would LOVE to see this cut even more. We are dealing with milk and soy free allergies though. I has gotten easier now this year because the youngest is potty trained. We are going to the envelope system next month and I am looking into software for tracking money. I would prefer peachtree, because that is what I use at work.

    any suggestions for kids with allergies?

  18. Jerilyn says

    I like mint.com. It’s so helpful. We used to have a program (microsoft money) but it stopped working and then we got a new computer.

    We don’t have a rigid budget. We set a certain amount in our categories- the exact amount for certain things: rent, ultilities, insurances, etc.- and then overestimate in other areas (gas, etc.) so we don’t track those rigidly. We do cash for groceries, misc/hygiene, eating out (which is rare) and our blow money.

    Everything else that does fit will have to be worked from another category, or when we get birthday money, or when we get our tax return. We don’t keep really tight numbers because it sucks the fun out of it and makes me want to throw the huge budget out of the window- but we keep track of it and we’re on the frugal side so we usually don’t spend a lot and the savings add up.

    I put our spare change in a jar and use it to buy my newspaper and other fun things we like to do (date nights!) All of my savings from rebates, etc. go to my special envelope for the next thing we’re saving for. Spending this envelope this weekend on a get-away and starting to save for our next family weekend in November!

  19. Kim says

    First of all I’m the numbers nerd. When we started FPU classes we didn’t have a computer so we’ve been using Dave Ramsey’s budget sheets that I’ve modified to meet our needs. We thought about switching over to the computer now but ….if it’s not broke don’t fix it :) We have a combination of things for tracking spending. We have cash envelopes but I keep the grocery, household, baby, and my “blow” money in my wallet with a index card of how much is left in each category. I go through my receipts when I’m home. I don’t keep change in the envelopes. All the change goes in my wallet. We also have a checking account for “non-monthly” expenses, such as vacation, gifts, car repairs, insurance, etc. My husband has cash as well but with business trips and such we still have the credit card too. We have to pay for hotels, dining, flights, etc. then get reimbursed when the expense reports get done. (Don’t like this but have to be happy he has a job.)

    • says

      @Kim, it’s the same for my hubby, too… he has to use our own card for business expenses, then gets reimbursed from his company. Since we have to use our own card, we chose a card that gives points towards vacation stays (the Marriott card from Chase). All the points my hubby accrues through the year for business travel and expenses are used for our annual winter vacation :) Little does his company know that they are enabling us to take a nice vacation by placing us under this “burden,” lol! Just an idea, if you aren’t doing this already! Good luck!

  20. Keri says

    I loved reading about all of the different budget systems that work for you ladies..gave me some great ideas. We currently use Excel (love it!) and sync it with our back account/bill pay.

    Crystal~ I was impressed by your $160 a month budget for groceries.
    We are a family of six, 4 of them males:) and my allowance for groceries is more that twice what yours is. I’m a huge coupon/bargan/meal planning shopper.. but would apreciate any other tips you have on stretching those dollers.
    Thanks & blessings.
    Keri.

  21. Star says

    Crystal, I just wanted to say how very much I needed this Q & A right now! My husband and I are working very hard to pay off debt and get our finances under control, but tracking has been the hardest part for me! Neither of us are numbers nerds LOL.

  22. says

    This is very very similar to our budget!! We only have one kid and use WIC, which helps a lot! Hope I can still keep it down if we ever have more kids. My husband says we can’t afford more kids, I’m praying he gets paid more or something!

  23. Debbie says

    I keep track of our money. Crystal, I also want to let you know that we will begin making substantial payments to the principal of our house starting August 1st. We already send $250 every month, but now we will be sending between $500-$1000 toward the principal. I know we can do it! Thank you for being such an inspiration. God is good!

  24. Kristi says

    I am curious to know what is considered groceries in your grocery envelope. We also do the envelope system in our home. I am learning daily how to become more frugal with coupons, stocking up when there are sales, etc. We are a family of 5 and I constantly struggle to stay under budget. I usually shop at Walmart. This includes many things besides actual food that I feed my family through the week. I buy diapers and wipes for my 16 month old twins, cleaning supplies, makeup and hair products, paper goods, personal item, etc. I don’t know if I am just not doing a good job at managing my money or if this is typical. Any advice?

    • Alea says

      @Kristi,

      Every time I’ve shopped at Walmart for food I have been amazed at how expensive it is. Especially for as often as they brag about their great prices.
      And I think you can usually get all the other stuff you mentioned at a pharmacy store (walgreens, riteaid) for cheaper too, if you watch the sales.

  25. Laura says

    I had a question my husband made to me, If we are using “CASH ONLY” whats the point of Quicken, or any other software. Seems that for these softwares you would use your debit card more frequently.

  26. says

    My husband has tried to get me to use Quicken, but I just don’t have the patience to figure it out. I made my own spreadsheet for our budget. I have tried to use the envelope system, but I almost lost my mind! I hate having cash and it was screwing me up all of the time.

    What works for us, is every payday I divide the money up into different accounts:
    Savings
    Quarterly & Yearly Bills
    My Account
    My Husband’s Account

    Then I leave the rest of the money in the main house account to pay the bills for that payday.

    My husband usually just buys gas and some groceries. I buy the rest of the household items, clothing, gifts, etc, etc. Creating the Q&Y account was the best thing we ever did. Now when the quarterly or yearly bill is due, that money is already sitting in the account.

    Even though I have a budget for each category, I am with you and just figure when the money is gone, it’s gone.

  27. Kim says

    I may have missed this question already, but what do you do with your online purchases? Do you take money out of your cash envelopes and put it back in the bank or how do you keep track when you buy groceries or clothes online but obviously don’t use the cash out of your envelope to do so?

    Thanks!

  28. Kara says

    Crystal:
    Do you take out the $425 at the beginning of the month or do you take out the weekly/ biweekly amount? Also, do you and Jesse get “personal” spending money each week?

    • says

      We take it out at the beginning of the month. We don’t get personal spending money, per se, outside of the categories listed. But we do use our Swagbucks-earned gift cards to get little treats here and there. If we didn’t have the luxury of some free gift cards from Swagbucks, we’d likely put some “blow” money into our categories to allow for some fun wiggle room.

      • Tara says

        @Crystal, You said “we take it out at the beginning of the month” (referring to the cash for your envelopes). My question is take it out of where?

        I want to start using this system but am having a hard time figuring out how to get the actual cash into an actual envelope. My husband works FT, I work PT, we both get paid every other week (opposite weeks), so there is a direct deposit every week to our joint ckng. acct., but the week I get paid the deposit is much lower than the week he gets paid. So while we may have $ budgeted monthly for groceries, I usually don’t have ALL of the actual $ budgeted until the last paycheck of the month. But I can’t wait until the end of the month to buy groceries or gas, etc. We are pretty much a month behind in paying all of our bills cuz we can’t get any company (gas/electric/phone) to change our due date to a day that works better for our paychecks. (ex. our mortgate/school tuition/car payment are all due the same day, but if I pay them all out of the same paycheck (my husband’s)I literally have no money to buy food.

        Anyway it’s all a big mess and I’m trying desperately to figure it all out. Any advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

  29. christina says

    We have been married 9 years. We are only 27 years old. We don’t have a financial plan. We are total mess. I families were never able to give money advice because they are worse off then us. We have a lot of debt. We took the Dave Ramsey class but we are still trying to figure out how to use it. Because we have three jobs between us and we hardly just get the monthly have to haves paid. Not sure how to take care of anything else. I would like any advice it all possible. Please keep it simple to start us out. We would love to be debt free and purchase a home. We have three children.

  30. Tricia Young says

    Hi Crystal! I just made my budget based on your example and I think we can do it!!! I’ve been working on a budget in my mind and we know how successful that is! I’m starting the envelope method August 1. This isn’t tested yet so I’m not posting it as a ‘successful budget’, but it is another example of how a family is going to break it down. A question that just arose for me that I thought I’d ask: I am making a lasagna for a sick neighbor this evening. I have to run to the grocery because I do not have noodles, ricotta, sauce, onion, or mozzarella…a lot I know! We’re leaving for a week in a week and cleaning out our pantry and fridge so not much is stocked…bummer! Question: Would you take these items out of your gift budget? I’m thinking I would if I had started, but curious how you figure these spendings in.

    Thanks so much for all you do!

    Oh yeah…our breakdown…
    Gifts $30
    Kids activities $100 (dance is $55 so this will be anything we do as a stay at home mom all day)
    Clothing $15 (for our family of 2 adults and 2 kids) I’m also going to shop consignment stores with my trade money from my consigning as well as seasonal large consignment sales…this works for our family and while I understand only a few outfits I like kid’s clothes too much!
    Eating out during day $50 (This is something my girls and I love to do, but this may be lowered after August when I see it can be around $30…we pack a lot of picnics.)
    Groceries $280…we eat strictly organic so $70/week is typical for us, but I aim for $250/month.
    Home $30…same as Crystal.

    I really hope this budget works! In addition will be my husband’s lunch out everyday (part of his job and something he enjoys and won’t quit), gas for my vehicle, and $200/month for preschool for one child.

    Total: $505

  31. Michelle says

    I’m definitely the nerd in our marriage and we use YNAB for budgeting and absolutely love it. I’ve looked at about four different budgeting software options and just can’t find anything I like better than YNAB!

  32. Kris says

    Thanks for all your inspiring posts! We did the cash envelope system for the first time this week (well we didn’t use an actual envelope, the cash went straight into my husbands wallet) . It was exhilirating and a little scary, to be honest. We went over $2 but kept enough aside from our pay check to account for that as we get use to this way of living. I learned a good lesson from it and am excited to keep doing this from week to week. It really made me more aware of my spending and to prioritize more on what grocery deals we’d pursue. My husband is more the money cruncher. He has all our bills and expendisures on a spreadsheet. I think the cash only system may change our life! Hopefully one day once we’ve paid off all our debt we’ll be able to pay cash for a house. God bless you an your family!

  33. Leslie says

    Just a question: How do you only spend $40 a week on groceries? I know it is catching sales and using coupons and things, but we go through 3 gallons of milk a week and that costs me $11 which leaves $30 for 3 meals a day for 5-6 days a week. (I know, I should probably get better at coupons!!)

    • Tabatha says

      @Leslie, I just started the budget plan & I was going to do $80 every 2 weeks(which we know equals 40 a week) I was not sure I could do it..But I have so far.I did the one B1G1 meats at Winn-Dixie..I looked at the sales paper matched the sales & planned my dinner around that..Also looked in my cabinets for all the side stuff to see what we needed & bought a little more to go with it that I did not have & I think I should have about $4 left which will buy the gallon of milk we will need around the midddle of next week…It really me think while I was buying..I use to pick up stuff jsut because it was on sale or because I wanted it..(not because we needed it). We have food in our cabinets but not stuff we eat all the time because it was impulse buying..Which is not good!! Then I went to Walmart matched sales and bought the snack, breakfast, and lunch foods we needed.. Hope this helps I have a family of 3

  34. Jennifer says

    As I was a CPA before kiddos, I’m definitely the number person here. I’ve used Quicken for over 10 years, but have only updated the software once, so I’m still on the 2004 version! If it works, why change, right?

    I’m an Excel junkie as well, but when tax time comes, it so much easier to glance through Quicken categories. I don’t use nearly all of the features, but the reports alone are worth using it — especially since we have 2 home businesses.

    I’m so NOT a cash envelope person that I record any cash transaction we make (like the farmer’s market or garage sales) in Quicken as well. Keeping it up-to-date probably takes me 30 minutes each week, but that includes business stuff, not just household.

  35. Tabatha says

    Well we started this week the envelopes & I am really liking it so far & have stuck to budget so far…But I was just sitting here thinking..Shouldn’t I really try to start getting out of debt before I start the envelopes…I know the grocery one is a envelope to def. have it really makes me think.I found myself picking stuff up & then using my caculator & then not liking the number on there & putting back the stuff that was not on my list to begin with..So this is FOR SURE helping me in that area. But I was just wondering instead of me doing alot of envelopes I really need to get myself out of debt…Right???Just wondering how everyone else is getting out of debt & also able to do envelopes dont think I could do both.

  36. Julie says

    I dont see an envelope for household items? Toilet paper, diapers, soaps, etc. What envelope do you use for those items? I have a very similar envelope budget to yours but I also have a household items envelope.