"" Three Ladies and a Dad: February 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A reader asked...

I got a question from Amy yesterday...

You talk about your budget. I'm always trying to stay on a budget but never seem to find a good way to set one up. How did you develop yours?

Thanks for asking Amy! Here is what I have found that works for us.

I started using a expandable 13 file folder for bills last year and I love it. It is compact, portable and easy to store.

Here is a picture of ours for this year. Each file is for one month...

Each month, when the bills are paid, I put the copy of the bill marked paid with the check number and date. Any unexpected bills that come in (doctors) get placed in the following months file. (Bills that come in February get placed in the March file. This will make sense, stick with me.)

But how do I figure out what gets paid when?

This is where the budget comes in. I use Dave Ramsey's budget software. I bought it mid-December and started January 1. Between this and the envelope system, our budget has drastically changed....for the good!

At the end of the month, I get our folder, my calendar, a calculator, the laptop and a pen. The budget software allows me to type in what I expect Jeremy and I to make during the month and what bills we have going out. This is when you would pull out all of those bills that came in the mail. You should know when all your other payments are due...utilities, car payments, rent/mortgage, phone, etc. I also plan for any haircuts we may need, medicines, oil changes... Try your hardest to spend every dime on paper before the month starts.

Once I have the budget done, I tell Jeremy it is time to go over it. I run through it with him and add anything he may need. We finalize it and that is that.

Dave's software also includes an 'Allocated Spending Plan'. This allows you to enter and plan where each paycheck is going. Every Friday in my calendar shows what I am doing with that check. I fill out the budget portion of my calendar at the same time I do my budget. I only deposit what I know I will be paying for with a check that week. That way, I know that we cannot use the debit card or write checks. Any leftover cash gets sorted into envelopes which I also plan every Friday.

This is the envelope system we use and it has changed the way we live and spend money.

I have it divided into five categories: Grocery, Eating Out, Blow Money, Entertainment, Gas

The hardest part I had figuring out with the envelope system is that they may have never be "Fully Funded". With our first check, I put ALL of our grocery money in it's and then fill the rest with what I can to get is through the next pay date. It seems to have helped a lot doing it this way instead of stressing because we never had ALL of our envelopes completely full.

Make sense?

I tired to explain this the best way I could....email me or leave me a comment if you have questions!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Time to play catch up.

While the girls enjoy a nice, warm bedtime snack of oatmeal, I thought I would try to catch you up. The past few weeks have been full. Weekends are full of birthday parties, church, a MDA fundraiser (Our team got most Team Spirit!), planning for our Annual Great Strides Walk in honor of Jessie and cleaning. The weeks have been full of homework, strep throat, sick days and homework.

And snow.

(I may or may not have made this back and white so you can not tell just
how mismatched their snow gear was. Just sayin'.)

My goodness has is snowed! And they are worried about global warming!?
Valentine's Day was low key and fabulous! Gifts were never discussed between Jeremy and I. When I planned my menu this month, I planned a family candlelit dinner with The Pioneer Woman's Ribeye Steaks with Onion Bleu Cheese Sauce, her Twice-Baked Potatoes and a veggie.

Happy Valentine's Day babe...here is a "Man-Pleasin' Meal".

It was sooo good! I do not like Bleu Cheese but she said if you do not like it, you still must try it.

And try I did. Boy am I glad I did!

My mom ended up at our house for Valentine's Day dinner and it was so much fun cooking in the kitchen with you mom! Thanks for coming over...after all you are family, like MJ told you.

After dinner, Jeremy brought out three bags. (He did not know mom would be there.) The girls and I got Snuggies. I have to admit, I thought these were a little silly when they first came out a while back. But being a "blanket at all times" kinda gal, I love it! In fact, I am snuggling now!

I also got a jacket I have been wanting. Here is a little back story for you:

About a month or so ago, I found some workout pants in longs at Target. LONGS! I never find pants in longs! Needless to say, I was thrilled so I got them. A few weeks ago, I told Jeremy that I wanted the matching jacket. Jokingly, he told me, " If it is something you think you need, then get it."

NO! I don't need it! I want it. I did not budget it in this month...we could put the money elsewhere. I just kind of made myself forget about the $20 jacket.

But he came through and bought it for me. So I was happy. Good job, babe!

This week I will try and post a bit more but with school starting one week from today, I am trying to catch up on everything so we will see how it turns out.

Happy Monday...time to go tuck these girls in.