November 23, 2008

How to Create a Budget Series

I think that I am going to start a "How to Create a Budget" series. During these hard economic times you wonder how many people even have a budget. We have a budget but are not following it very well. Now that I have a job and we can pay more of our bills, I have created a new budget and plan on following it. Before I start this series, I would like to know a few things.

1) Who has a budget?

2) Do you follow your budget?

3) What are your categories?
-without becoming too personal....I don't need to know that you are paying on an American Express card and a private student loan; just list the general categories

4) What would you like to know about budgeting?

5) How do you handle your flexible expenses (e.g. food, gas, entertainment)?
-do you use only cash, credit cards to track, envelopes, etc.

6) What would you like to change about your budgeting system?

Thanks for all of your help and I will be sharing my responses as well! Hopefully I will be able to help some people out and learn some things from my readers in the process!


  1. We started using Dave Ramsey's plan in earnest in January. We haven't gotten disciplined enough to follow it perfectly (maybe we never will), but it's the best budget we've used so far.

    Our mortgage & 2nd mortgage $1000
    Electricity - $120-200
    Water - $35-50 (I use cloth diapers)
    Trash - $30
    Auto insurance on one very old van - $45
    Life insurance for both of us - $71
    Health insurance - $450 (this is our rate beginning Jan 1, and it covers almost nothing unless we have a catastrophic event!)
    Groceries - about $400, but we are sloppy about going out
    Husband's Fund - $450 (this is where gas and oil changes come in - hubby gets a flat amount each month for lunches out, supplies for work, and gas. This amount was set when gas was a lot higher. Gas came way down so fast that we may reduce this by $100 or so)
    Hubby's Cell phone - $103
    Cable & Roadrunner - $62
    HOA dues - $50

    Some of these bills come periodically throughout the year, so we don't pay them every month.

    I can't think of anything else. We have 3 credit cards we are trying to pay off. We've been doing the debt snowball and have paid off about $8000 so far. It's been slow going because of lots of car repairs on our very old van. Also, I am not as disciplined as I need to be on everyday spending and sometimes go over my $400. We haven't cut up our credit cards yet, because our car repairs this past year have been over $1000 several times. The van is not worth the repairs sometimes, but we can't afford another car without taking out a loan, so we figure it's cheaper to repair the one we have rather than buy someone else's problem.

    We cash flow all medical visits. Our deductible is really high, so we almost never reach it. The insurance does cover well-baby and well-child checkups, but everything else we pay out of pocket. We don't have prescription drug coverage, so my husband pays for his prescriptions out of his money. His prescriptions probably run around $45 a month.

    I don't know if that helps you, but I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing! I plan on working on this as I get free time during the Thanksgiving Break. Hopefully I will have at least one post done by Monday! We have the kids this weekend so we'll see how that goes!


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