Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reworking a Budget

I think it's really important to keep a budget a flowing, moving thing. Yeah, I used the "b" word...but it's necessary for us, or our money just disappears. (My other comment would be "grow up and stop being scared of a word", but that might just be mean...)

With the new beginning of the year paycheck (see last entry), we had to sit down together and figure out where our newfound wealth of an additional $177 after taxes per month would go. Actually, what usually happens is that I sit down and look it over, show it to him, he makes suggestions and changes, and on it goes until we're content.

Unfortunately, our cc minimums increased by almost $70 a month, and our electric/gas bill went up by $20/month. That sucked up $90 of that "extra" money. Then, we've been struggling with gasoline (it was over $3/gallon for awhile, and now, thank God, it's down to $2.39 for the moment), so we upped that category a little bit. Why is it that bills never go down, only up?

So we pushed and prodded and tweaked...until it's all accounted for. We do ZERO-BASED budgeting, which means that we start with our paycheck and account every dollar somewhere until we reach zero. The category might be something like "Blow" or "Treat Ourselves", but it goes into a category. If we don' disappears.

I think we have to treat our money with may not be a living thing, but if it doesn't know where to go, why would it go somewhere great - like paying off cc's or going into savings?

In the money saving category, I'm working on the grocery bill. It's just too high for two people, no kids. So today - pancakes for breakfast and homemade pizza for dinner. I got some chicken out of the freezer (el cheapo legs and thighs) which I plan to cook up this morning, let sit to get the fat out, and make chicken dumpling soup this afternoon (Yummmmmy!). That will take care of a couple of dinners and my lunches for the week.

Budget is not an evil word - it's a working word. I like that.

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