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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