baby i got yer money…or not

Yesterday I talked about me not having money.

I realize now that it’s hard to read stuff about me needing money after I just post pictures of our basement remodel and after I spend and hour tweeting about what I am watching on cable and talking about my favorite satellite radio channel.

Because that might make you read my post about a donation button and go, “whaaaa???”

And I tried to explain to some people, but really?  It’s too much for a 140-character tweet or a comment.

That is when the Budget Post was born. (Thanks, Emily for the idea…even if that is not really what you meant to happen at ALL).

My parents taught me to be VERY budgeted with my money.

And then I went to college and was offered a credit card and I was all like, “weeeeeeeee FREE MONEY!!!!”

Ahem.  I blame the alcohol.

Anyway, after college but when I was living alone pre-Cortney, I had a simple budget:  Do what I have to do to get by and pay for my stupid debt that I accrued by being a moron with plastic without having to sign up for surgery to sell innards.

It was stressful.

I lived on Doritos and diet coke.

I had NO internet connection for a LONG time.

I did not have a cell phone because I refused to pay for one.

My only splurge was cable TV.

Did I mention it was stressful?

When Cort and I got engaged, part of our pre-wedding/marriage stuff with our minister was talking about budget.

Lucky for us, Cort was just as much of an idiot carefree with his little pieces of plastic as I was.  Plus he had college loans to colleges he didn’t graduate from.

We had a wee bit of the debt.

We were told to sit down with a veteran married couple to talk about how they budget.

So we sat down with my mom, the accountant, and asked her how in Hades they have so little debt she and my dad work their budgeting.

And from that minute on, it has pretty much been the way we budget…for the past seven years.  Even through 17 months of unemployment it has never failed us.

Here are the basics:

  • money coming in is OURS. There is NO room to get prideful and possessive. For a LONG time Cort made more than I did.  Even though I had two degrees and he had none.  And then I made more than he did because he was unemployed.  Money in is money in.
  • We have a separate checking for our mortgage.  And we have more than 2 payments in there at all times.  In case of emergency.

 

The "General Fund" checkbook.

 

 

  • We have a “General Fund” checking account.  All other bills, groceries, gas, etc. get paid out of this.  The general fund is not for personal use…only household things.

 

The blue basket where the bills and reciepts go and wait for Bill Day.

 

  • We each get a “Personal Allowance” each week. And yes, they are equal.  It doesn’t matter who makes more, money in is money in.  We each get the same amount and we each have chosen to open checking accounts for our Allowances.  We use these for things that are for just us:  golf, shopping, bowling, hair cuts, magazine subscriptions, new laptops, blogging stuff, fun tech gadgets, fantasy sports team leagues, dinner/drinks with a friend, gifts to each other, etc.  Allowances are the first things cut when we are short on cash.

 

My "allowance" checkbook. My "fun" money, if you will.

 

  • Eddie has a college fund that is deposit only.
  • We have a savings account for vacations.  We put a tiny bit in each month with hopes that in a couple years we will be able to start taking family vacations in the summer when Cort has vacation time at his new job.
  • We have a “general” savings account for emergencies and house projects.  This is where we saved for six years to finish the two rooms in the basement.  We were able to pay for it with cash.
  • Cort pays bills once a week.  Once a week we think about money.  Once a week is enough.
  • Cort is in charge of all money except my allowance.  We like it this way.

 

Two debit cards are the only plastic I have now: General Fund and My Allowance. and yes, the one with a "K"? My Allowance

 

  • We have monthly Sluiter Nation Money Meetings where I get filled in on that stuff I hate our money.

But most importantly?

We discuss what is worth it to us to spend money on.

For instance, Cort’s cousin cleans our house once a week.  We could save that money and clean it ourselves, but in the precious time we have together as a family, we don’t want to be cleaning.  I stress out about my house being a wreck, this calms my anxiety which makes us all happier.  We also keep our cable because, while we are not home much during the day?  We are home during prime time and Cort and I enjoy watching Pawn Stars or Human Planet as we discuss our days together in bed.

We weigh what we could save by going without with what our happiness level would be.  How whiny and stabby we would feel.  For instance we downgraded our internet and cable…but we didn’t get RID of them altogether.

And we don’t do much spending unless we have a good deal.  I mean, we aren’t sporting gator boots or pimped out gucci suits over here.  Unless we have a wicked good groupon, that is.

 

Organization? Yeah, daddy, we ’bout dat.

 

Because of our turbo organization and Cort’s mad skills at getting us deals (buy a Droid2, get ANY other phone for FREE!) and keeping us on budget without stressing me out, we not only did not go further into debt while he was out of work, but we kept making headway on our current debt, kept putting money in ALL of our savings accounts (even if it was just a little), and still managed to keep some of the “fun” stuff that we had previously decided were important to our happiness.

Like Tivo.  And someone to clean up our filth.

Anyway, my point is this:  BlogHer comes out of my own personal allowance.  When Cort was laid off, we needed to save and since we both enjoy watching crappy cable too much together, we cut out of our allowance–or bought things for the family out of our allowances.

So it is on me to pay for BlogHer.  That isn’t coming out of any accounts except my allowance.

Which is exactly how I want it.  I don’t feel like my family has to sacrifice their wants OR needs in order to send me to something that is all about me.

Cuz money ain’t a thang…or at least I wish it wasn’t.

Ok spill…How do you handle budgeting?

 

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About Katie

Just a small town girl…wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Love it. In our house money is OURS too but sometimes I miss making as much as the hubs. I love the allowance idea – great one. And I am in the midst of making a closet organization board. I am almost done and I am so excited! Yours look awesome!

    • I LOVE the organization board! It hangs inside our pantry so the whole world isn’t looking at it, but we are constantly aware of the things that our money goes toward.

      And I rock the organization. I might suck and keeping stress out of money issues, but I can ROCK the organization 🙂

  2. Wow you guys are really organized. And disciplined. And good on you two!

    Our budgeting? He works, I don’t. He pays all the bills, vacations (which isn’t often!) and I get monthly allowance, which I use it for my stuff (eating out, stuff for myself and the boy, blog stuff). Our son has a savings account set up by his grandfather (my in-laws) which no one touches. It’s simple and I’m happy with that.

    I do hope you get enough to go to Blogher. Rooting for ya!

    • i found out later that our system is a lot like the one that Dave Ramsey promotes with envelopes and no plastic. I thought it would be overwhelming at first to have so many accounts, but each has a purpose so we don’t have to keep track anywhere of how much in each account goes toward what.

      works for us!

      I hope I get to BlogHer too! It will all be because of support ($$ and emotional) of my readers. You guys rock!

  3. When Chris got a new job and we moved to a place with real high speed internet, we downgraded our cable immensely and upgraded our internet immensely. We save about $40 a month on that. The only reason we haven’t completely did away with cable completely and live off the internet for entertainment is because I refuse to deal with the inconvenience of having to manually start a new show during the day with both kids awake. But at night, we don’t even use it. Otherwise, that would save us another $35.

    And I deal with all money matters. He did when we first got married, but he is so disorganized that it didn’t help at all. Once I started staying home, I took over and got us completely organized. We discuss things when they need to be, otherwise he just lets me take care of it all. We are finally building our savings back up, along with a vacation savings as well. We don’t even think about allowances honestly. It was just never in the budget until now…

    • Cable saves my sanity. I agree with that. We could save maybe $40ish a month too, but I can’t give up the non-network shows. They are my brain candy. 🙂

      I used to deal with all money matters before we got married and it was the original deal that I would do so once we were married too. But the anxiety was just too much for me and my spreadsheet lovin’ boo took over money matters 🙂

      I love knowing what other people do. Last year I read that some people have a savings JUST for vacations or something “fun” and we decided we need to do that because we weren’t working toward anything “fun”…only paying off bills.

  4. I love your closet organization board. Maybe that’s what we need to do. We currently live in a tiny apartment and have zero organization habits (not good ones, anyway!).

    • oh it works so well! we have a coupon pocket, a grocery list pocket (which we have a strict grocery budget, so we have to agree on the list each week), a pocket for reminders/stuff we get in the mail like save the dates and such (because eventually those will be shower gifts and wedding gifts that we will have to budget for), there is a calendar pocket, etc. it’s just fun.

      plus it hangs inside our pantry, so it doesn’t take up wall space 🙂

  5. Love the organization board! In our house the money is OURS as well, even though my husband works and I stay home with the kids. He never makes me feel like that is HIS money. Thanks for sharing – I love the allowance idea!

    • i have never understood the idea that just because one makes more (or all) of the money, it’s not shared.

      because you staying home with the kids? SUCH a full time job! You are clearly earning his pay too! 🙂

      And my fave thing about the allowance? I never have to “hide” a purchase or feel like I have to ask to buy something. It’s my “fun” money to save or spend.

      And right now you better bet I am saving! 🙂

  6. Oh, wow. My head is spinning! If I had that many accounts, I’d need another account to save money to pay someone to manage all the accounts!

    But, no, seriously. My husband is not allowed to touch money or bills. EVER. He just has no concept of money or how to spend it (or not spend it). His check is direct deposited into our checking account (just one of those!) and I handle all bill paying and shopping for necessities. I have a bill book and a bill calendar. He’s paid bi-weekly, so when it goes into our account I pay bills for the next two weeks or more.

    As far as spending, we are strict. Any purchases over $5 must be approved by the other, with the exception of gas money and money to buy his lunch (at the grocery store, not restaurants) if he forgets to take it. Our budget is tight, so we really don’t get allowances, honestly. Any extra money is put toward vacations because we all love a couple of good breaks a year. Our savings account is for nothing in particular. We do have Netflix and cable and internet and nice electronics, and we’re not willing to give up those things. Like you said, we like to enjoy them together. And we also like to do fun things like the zoo or aquarium occasionally.

    As far as debt, we only have our mortgage and one car payment. We just finished paying off medical bills and our credit card, but we’ve kept the card for emergencies.

    I realized that this makes us sound so very boring, and I promise we aren’t! It’s just that three kids and one income makes for not much
    wiggle room.

    And is that organizer from Thirty-One? LOVE.

    • At first i hated the idea of a million accounts. We both took our allowance weekly as cash and we had two accounts: savings and checking.

      But then it sort of sucked to have cash when I wanted to buy something online because I would have to ask to use the checking account and then pay it back in cash.

      annoying.

      so each of us opened our own checking.

      and then I read something by Suze Orman in O Magazine about needing something that you are both putting money toward that is “frivolous” and “fun”. That is when the vacation fund was born.

      And when eddie was born, if people gave us money instead of gifts? we put it in his piggy bank, but decided it was smarter for him to have an account. Plus it’s easy for his grandparents to deposit money for him on his bday.

      So yeah.

      I am told we do this similar to the Dave Ramsey method of using envelopes, but we use accounts.

      And yes, the organizer is from Thirty-One. Got it with my hostess rewards! Yay!

  7. Holy hell. I know I couldn’t keep up with all those accounts. Too much for me & our household. We have one joint savings {our e-fund} that’s connected with one joint checking. We each have our own credit card {that we almost pay off monthly} as well as a few together. I love all your organization tools & tips. Y’all are rocking it & I’m impressed. I can.not.wait. to meet you in 3 months!

    • we do have a credit card. it’s in the safe 🙂

      I love hearing what others do…it’s interesting to me to know what works for others, and we are always tweaking our budget when we hear of an idea that might be good for us (the vacation account, for example was something I read in my O magazine).

      I also cannot wait to meet you! Squeeee!!!

  8. We have a dry erase board on our refrigerator that is part calendar, part blank area for lists. ALL of our organizing happens on that board.

    Right now, my husband works and I stay home with our daughter, but all of the money is ours. Money is tight, so we don’t do the allowance thing (but in the past, when we were first married, we did).

    All purchase decisions go through both of us (mostly that means deciding what kind of peanut butter to get each week at the grocery store) and we don’t do too many extras. We do have cable and internet because they are part of our rent package, if we were paying for both of them separately, the cable would be the first to go. We don’t have cell phones.

    As far as debt is concerned, thankfully we don’t have very much. Our 9 year old car was bought used, so we don’t owe anything on that.

    We would love to have savings set up, but right now there just isn’t any extra for that….but one day, we hope to be able to grow some savings.

    • sounds like you are doing just what we did when we first started out. we only started adding things like accounts and internet and things as we could fit them in the budget.

      our savings only had $150 in it for like a year! We would always laugh that our emergency fund was in a state of emergency!

      Our cars are used and paid off too, so that helps. And we just paid off Cort’s old student loans (however we now have new ones since he is back in school).

      i get mad sometimes as the debt hole we put ourselves in by being idiots in our college days, but I can’t change the past, only deal with it responsibly now.

      And we have cut SUCH a HUGE chunk out of it, I am proud of us 🙂

  9. We accumulated a lot of debt when my husband was out of work for a year. We are slowly paying it off. It’s tough – especially with the hefty school loans hanging over our heads and an even heftier mortgage (thanks to living in one of the highest cost of living areas in NY). I handle the money. I pay what I can each month on the credit cards. I don’t buy anything that’s not on sale or I don’t have a coupon for. We don’t go on fancy vacations or go out to eat. We live simply. We have to, for now. I hope we can change things in the future.

    • We almost never go out to eat either. Everything we buy lately is with a gift card (I bought Eddie new jammies and pants with my birthday gift card because he needed them and I don’t NEED new clothes). Our life is work, home to eat a planned meal we cook ourselves, and hang out together.

      People think we are boring. But we like it. Plus it saves money.

  10. We also have multiple accounts. We used to do allowances and may go back to that but with me just subbing it is a pitiful amount so we don’t usually bother. But all my tutoring money is mine and all of his side business money is his. BUT.. we use the side business money a ton to go out to eat/vacations/house upgrades. I also treat us out to dinners with my money. But we have in our budget an amount we expect to plan on groceries each month, on eating out and entertainment. We also have our bills all automatically taken out of our account otherwise we forget to pay them. We also have them spread out over the course of a month so everything isn’t all due at once. We put all of our gas on a credit card and pay it once a month. But this credit card gets us points and with gas so high and my husband commuting, we get a free 25 dollar gas card every month now. Oh our savings account as different ‘sections’ we have money for rainy days, kids, vacations, home improvement.. Our only debt is our student loan, mortgage and 1 car payment. We used our tax money to pay off 2 student loans this year and last year we paid off my car. We also use ING for our savings and earn interest on it. We are the house of the spreadsheet. And I word vomitted here. Sorry. 😉

    • I love your word vomit 🙂

      We are a spreadsheet house too. Cort would have married a spreadsheet if he could, but he settled for me.

  11. We’re pretty simple – one joint checking account, a joint savings account that is fast to access (we keep about 1 week’s pay in it), & a joint savings account that has our e-fund in it that we (thankfully) haven’t had to touch yet.

    For awhile we did the “fun money” allowance, but we’re thankful to be in a place where that’s not really needed at this point in our lives – we just run purchases by each other. (note: we have had slim years where “fun money” is NECESSARY down to the last penny, so I totally get & support it.)

    Thankfully, we have very minimal debt & the only “consumer” debt we have is my car payment. The other is mortgage & my husband’s small school loans. We do have my hospital bill from last year, but that’s an interest-free loan from the hospital that will be paid off in about 6 months, so I don’t even count it.

    For the record, we LOVED reading Smart Couples Finish Rich. That was a good book to help us get on track!

    • We are on the track to what you guys have, it sounds like.

      We have paid off our vehicles (but they are OLD and we will need to replace…boo, but sort of fun).

      And I am writing down Smart Couples Finish Rich.

      We like to read about money organization and management. Because we are nerds like that.

  12. The fact that you can keep up with all of those accounts makes you far more organized than me, woman! 🙂

    We have joint checking and savings accounts. We also have a CD, which holds our “emergency” funds. My husband manages all the money and I’m fine with that.

    We’re lucky in that we have NO debt beyond our mortgage (which is enough in this housing market) and one car payment (my car is paid off). We also only have one major credit card (although I have my beloved Ann Taylor Loft retail card, which is used sparingly – maybe once or twice a year). No debt definitely gives us a bit more freedom in our spending. We don’t have “fun” money, but we do run big purchases by each other and make major purchasing decisions together.

    • Cort is the organized one. He would make out with a spreadsheet if it was socially acceptable 🙂 I love that the hubs takes care of our money too. It’s one less stress in my life.

      Our debt is getting chipped away all the time. Even when Cort was unemployed we made paying off our debt a priority over “fun” stuff.

  13. mrshiggison says:

    I took over our family budgeting 3 years ago. We were one short sickness away from total ruin. There isn’t a word invented for the level of my stress.
    We are strict because we have to be. EVERYTHING goes on a spreadsheet for each two week pay period (we get pd the same week), including a teeny-tiny pool of disposable income that we each pick at for “fun”.We have one joint checking account that everything comes out of & one savings account that we put money into when we have it (sometimes husband gets bonuses etc…we haven’t decided what we’re saving for yet).
    Scarily, we have 3 kids & no emergency fund. Yet. We’re working on it.

    • when we sat down with my mom? she told me that she planned out their entire month at a time down to the last penny in my dad’s paycheck. They were extremely strict because they had NO EXTRA.

      We started out the same way to get a handle on our debt which meant we had no emergency fund except maybe $100 for YEARS.

      But we kept at it and I am way proud of how far we’ve come. Sounds like you guys have a good handle on what your situation is.

  14. Lots of very, very good things here!

    We do a modified Dave Ramsey plan. For now, we’ve paid off two or three credit cards via monthly payments, selling a car, and income tax returns. Each week we take money out of the bank and divide it into our envelopes, making sure to budget for fun. As the cost of gas has gone up, the fun money has gone down. But it’s still in there.

    I’m ridiculously good at keeping us at or under our grocery budget, so sometimes we use extra money in the grocery budget to go out to eat on the weekends.

    We also have all of our bills direct-debited from our account since they’re paid from my paycheck and I only get paid once a month. Basically, our goal is to try to swipe a debit card as few times as possible and just let money accrue in the checking account.

    I should also say that we’ve made and revised this plan and fallen off the wagon and climbed back on to it so many times my head gets a little spin-y.

    Budgeting and sticking with it is hard, yo.

    • this sounds a LOT like a version of what we have set up too.

      Sticking to it is hard.

      It’s such a grown up thing to have to do. Boo.

  15. Oh, and I got Kanye, Big Timer, and Master P. What’d I miss?

  16. I understand completely the whoas of budgeting. My husband and I both only had college debt, but that’s still a lot. I’m the primary bill payer (every two weeks). Merging our two lifestyles was hard, because I’m a planner and my husband wasn’t. Before we got married we had tons of money talks and started good habits. Now we do well and try to communicate and never fight about money.

    • you know what? I just realized we NEVER fight about money either. Never! It’s all about communication and agreeing on a plan. Which apparently you have! ::fist bump::

      • Huh. I have just realized that since we started this Dave Ramsey business, we don’t fight about money either.

        Bonus!

  17. One savings account and one checking account. Both are joint. My husband is a financial adviser so just imagine…he is pretty good with money! We have no debt besides our mortgage.

    Ironically, I pay all the bills month to month out of our checking account when they are due. My husband pays the mortgage when he gets paid. We save a good deal of money each month without having to “try”.
    I feel very fortunate that we don’t live month to month nor do we track what we spend or live with a budget. We are able to spend when we want to and buy what we want. We have automatic deposits into Brady’s 529 Plan, my 403(b) and IRA and my husband’s 401(K).

    I will admit there are times that I wish an “allowance” system was in place. My husband has learned to accept the clothinig purchases (I love to shop), the daily Starbucks and other “fun” things I buy. By not having an allowance, I am deterred from hitting buy on etsy sometimes because my husbands only question is, “Do you need it?”

    I guess these posts remind me how lucky I am! I am loving your organization system. Ours is not quite as cute or as hidden.

    • I do have to say we are very blessed to both have jobs and to actually have money to budget. 🙂

      We are learning to deal with our past mistakes with money. Which sucks, but it is what it is. We are VERY good about our decisions and communication now.

      And I do LOVE buying what I want with my allowance without having to run anything by Cort or feel like I have to justify it. 🙂

  18. OMGosh. MOney? What’s that? I used to know what it was, way back when the economy was generous enough to employ me. Now we budget and we do ok. If we hadn’t had savings before the lay off, we’d be hurting. But we’re ok. AND I have an interview on Monday! (so wish me luck, cause I sure could use some luck).
    Hugs,
    T

    • Our savings and our ability to cut back was what saved us during unemployment too.

      GOOD LUCK on Monday!!! I will be praying and doing luck dances for you!!!

  19. I’m the money person in my house, and I think about budgeting Way Too Much. We only have one checking account, but we have about 10 savings accounts. We use ING Direct, and they let you make as many sub accounts as you want and link them all together, so we have accounts for car maintenance, Christmas, vacations, clothes, and anything else that we pay for only periodically.

    As for allowances – instead of separate allowances, we have a joint “spendy” fund that we can both draw from every month. Which generally means that hubby uses it all because he likes Stuff way more than I do. (Also? Because I’m a martyr. So Bad. I even annoy myself.) When he was in grad school and I taught full time, it was a pretty short leash, but now that he makes the fat cash and I’m a SAHM, we have to put more in there or he gets all pouty. And a non-pouty husband? Worth so much money.

    • you are a saint. If Cort and I had a joint spendy account? I would be a pouty pants ALL THE TIME.

      Sometimes I think it’s because we were 27 when we got married, and had lived on our own for so long, there are just some things…like fun money…that we need to keep separate just for our own egos.

  20. I just wrote a post the other day about how we’ve had no money since the first of the year and it was bugging me b/c I coudn’t figure out why and then it hit my like the dumabss that I am – we now have a van and between that and gas prices being $4/gal, DH and I spend $200 more every month on gas. Oh and, DUH, the van payment. Plus we moved Baby R to daycare – another $500/month. So we’re spending $1000 more every month on necessities – CLEARLY we have no free $! but just bcause I know why, doesn’t make me less frustrated. Though I do wonder WTH we were spending that $1K on previously. Which is why I’m all about us having a budget. But DH feels like a budget is too constricting. Sigh….

    • to me? a budget doesn’t have to constrict, it can free.

      It’s just a visual of where all your money goes at the very least…and I am a visual person.

      Also? I would TOTALLY lose $1000 a month. Which is why Cort is in charge 🙂

  21. Ok, seriously? I have ALWAYS been bad at budgeting. My parents didn’t teach me about money AT ALL. My dad paid for all of my gas throughout college, and even a few years after, with a credit card for “emergencies”. Yes, sometimes the emergency was pizza or a new shirt (with his approval!).

    Reading this actually gave me some great ideas. I’ll probably come back and read the comments, but I’m short on time. Thanks for this. Seriously. I can use all the suggestions I can get. 😉

    • my mom has always been a budget machine. I grew up in a VERY money-conscious household.

      Even now that they are nice and comfy and in their 60’s? They use the same system as when the were married at 20. It’s cute. and smart. I hope to be where they are financially when we are that age.

  22. Wow, great job. I wish that I would have been smarter about a budget earlier on. It’s been only within the last few months that we have put our foot down about the budget.

    Here’s our problem though…Clif’s 18 months of unemployment did put us in more debt and behind on a rental property…plus, his new job being 2 hours away from our old house, means we have to sell in a down market. Which means anything we have saved, is probably going to have to go towards unloading our house…or we’ll have to short sell.

    We just can’t seem to save anything. And we just can’t seem to make a dent in our debt. I feel like we finally have a nice system which allows for some extras and some savings (some = pennies), it’s just getting out from under that 18 months has not been easy…and it’s tough to even see the light at the end of the tunnel right now.

    Okay, maybe I should write about this on my own blog and not hijack yours 🙂

    Great post, I like to see how others manage.

    • you can blog in my comments any day, Jaime! 🙂

      I like to see how others manage too…what their systems are and what works. We are constantly tweaking our budget when we hear new ideas that we think will work for us.

  23. I’m married to one of the most frugal men alive, who just happens to have a masters degree in finance. So yeah, I am not in charge of our money. I did though just in the last 6 months learn what the pin was to the ATM. I trust him completely with the finances.

    I don’t get an allowance, although he give me cash every week to run errands with. Pretty much the only “fun” or “personal” money I have is money I make from blogging. Oh, and buying and selling other people’s junk online.

    • I married the opposite of your husband. But he is learning. We are learning together how to make it all work.

      Anything I make via the blog is my “fun” money too.

      I do love that you buy and sell junk. It’s a gift.

    • wait? making money through the blog? This still doesn’t compute for me.

      sigh.

  24. Holy crap! That’s an impressive system! We are currently working on digging ourselves out of the hole we’ve been in for the last couple years (unemployment is a &!$@%) but hope to be able to focus our spending goals similarly in the next year.

    We just started allowances, but we can’t seem to agree on what that money should be used for. I think I shouldn’t have to budget for cigarettes, fast food, etc. Hubs thinks that shouldn’t come out of his spending money. *Sigh*

    • when Cort smoked? that came out of his allowance because it was HIS habit.

      Our rule was, “if it’s for YOU and not the family? it comes out of your allowance.”

      So if I want to run out for fast food at lunch instead of packing something from home? I have to use my own money.

      But that is what works for us.

      I think the key is to find something your family can all agree on. Not everything will work for everyone, ya know?

  25. I am so impressed, because John and I are drowning in debt right now and I hate it. Plus the IVF and then having twins really pushed us over the edge…and now we are both out of ideas, but have started a budget and although it’s hurting a little to give up some stuff, we know that if we can, we’ll be much better off.

    Like I said, you’re system is AMAZING, you should teach classes to other couples! (hint hint)

    • and the time you have to give up stuff goes by so fast. it wasn’t long before we were adding things back in…like tivo. boom.

      I could NEVER teach a class about finances. i get WAY too stressed. Hence Cort being the main bill payer in our house!

  26. First of all, this BLOWS my mind. Seriously.
    Secondly, I feel like a child. We don’t own a home or have car payments or any debt. I know this is all amazing and we are so blessed… But I kinda don’t feel like an adult compared to you 🙂

    • i don’t feel like an adult. I feel like a kid being told to do something grown up.

      and then throwing a tantrum about it.

      ha!

  27. I love this! I’m so inspired now. I am really horrible about budgeting and have a tendency to spend money when we have it (our grocery bill goes up if we’ve got it to spend, for instance). But I just love the idea of the allowances, and all the separate accounts, and I know my husband would love the extra payments in the mortgage account idea. I forwarded him the email with this post as soon as I read it this morning. Thanks for laying it all out for us!

    • you are so cute! we budget out of necessity for sure, but we try to follow the advice of people like Suze Orman who say the most important place to have extra money is in the mortgage account. Which makes sense in this crazy economy! Eek!

  28. Wow! I was intimidated by the amount of bank accounts you said you had, but then I realized that it is much like the Dave Ramsey plan, and I love Dave Ramsey! Like you, my husband and I have worked (hard) to pay off some debt, and feeling the rewards of saving and sacrificing is so worth it!

    Also, I happen to think that too many young people (including my husband) aren’t made aware of the “dangers” of a credit card when they’re old enough to get one. So many of my friends, at age 18, signed their life away on a credit card application and are still paying it off. I mostly blame the credit card companies. They market to the young and naive! 🙂

    P.S. I NEED one of those wall organizers!

    • It’s true. The sad part of it is that I KNEW the dangers. When I first got my CC, I paid it off every time…but the temptation was too great to spend on frivolous things for this college student.

      Sigh.

      College kids shouldn’t even be able to get a credit card.

      The organizer is awesome! I got it from Thirty-One Gifts.

  29. Whew budgeting…what’s that?
    Kidding. We’ve been budgeting ever since I blew my back out. I’m not sure how we really do it but we do. I also suffer from HUGE buyers remorse. I think it stems back from when I was living at home with a family of 5 kids, my dad was laid off and my mom was only working part time. I think I worry when I spend a lot of money because “You never know what could” happen mentality.
    PS. Where did you get that door organizer? I may need that.

    • I used to get soooooo stressed by money. Then Cort’s dad told me before he died that you can’t take it with you and your debt won’t follow you to heaven.

      Not that it’s not important to be responsible, but it brought down a LOT of my stress about buyer’s remorse and such, ya know?

      And that organizer? Came from Thirty-One Gifts. LOVE.

  30. Holy comments on this one! Obviously a tough issue for everyone. We suck at budgeting. We’re trying to get a handle on the money system, because we have to deal with some unexpected debt. But we’re doing okay. And I’ve recently decided to screw my anxiety about that debt and go to BlogHer because I want to. And I need to. And I think I’m meant to. So yeah, tht’s what I’m gonna do.

  31. So, do expenses for children come out of the ‘general’ account? And do you ever have instances where 1 of you thinks an expense should come from the general account, but the other thinks it should come out of allowance? How do you handle that? And do your own clothes come out of your allowance or the general account? And what about eating out?

    Sorry for all the questions! I love the way you have your set up and I’m going to steal it, I mean use it as a guide for my own money management. Right now we have 1 checking and 1 savings and it’s just not working well for us.

    Thanks!!!

    Amy

    • Children expenses come from general account. Unless I am out shopping and I totally know Eddie does NOT need whatever I REALLY want to get him? Then I use my allowance. Clothes come from our allowances. Any time I go shopping it’s either birthday/Christmas money or gift cards or with my own money. Stuff we HAVE to have (like bridesmaids dresses, tux rental, etc) come from the general fund.

      I honestly can’t remember the last time we disagreed on whether something should come from general fund or allowance. I will ask sometimes things like, “hey, I want to get a Scentsy warmer for the downstairs bathroom. Can we do that or should I just use my money?” 9 times out of 10 he will say use the general fund if it’s something that we clearly are all going to use and it’s a good idea to have. Once in a while he will say, “we really dont have the money to splurge on that, but if you wait maybe. Otherwise use your money.”

      Having allowances really just makes each of us consider EVERY purchase more carefully, so there aren’t that many conversations about buying things we don’t really need.

      Does that make sense?