learning to budget help

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by cancer_survivor_06, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. cancer_survivor_06

    cancer_survivor_06 DIS Veteran

    Jul 12, 2006
    My dh and I are not the best at saving we pay our bills on time but lately that has not been the case. My bills are not 30 plus days late and we don't have credit cards. We have a small car loan and a mortgage and our basic utilities. Our younger daughter is disabled and while ideally we would love to have savings for her we spend a good bit on necessities for her as well.

    Paying our bills and all of our expenses hasn't been a problem until now. My dh works offshore and he provides the only income recently they changed the scheduling for their crew changes. While before he worked two weeks and was home for two weeks (only being paid during the two weeks he was home) now he goes to work for three and is home for three. His paychecks come while he is home but there is a four week gap every hitch from his last check to his first. We have had a hard time adjusting so that everything is paid out equally. It is even harder to do when every six months he only gets one paycheck during the month. Pay periods are never the same either they shift from the beginning to the end of the month consistently.

    To add the fact that we have had a hard time adjusting to this we will be getting temporary custody of my ex SIL's two boys and possibly even her daughter. This also puts us in need of a bigger vehicle so now we need to budget for that as well.

    I would really like to get a good book for my dh and I to read and use for guidance but not sure of the best one for our situation. I know there are a lot out there so I want to make sure I look into the right ones for us and I know a lot of disers have used different books or plans. Really at this point I am open to any options and ideas.
  2. prncess674

    prncess674 DIS Veteran

    Apr 8, 2003
    Well I would start out with a simple list of all your monthly bills and start the list with
      • needs that don't fluctuate much over the year (mortgage, car payment, fuel, income taxes, healthcare)
      • weekly grocery budget
      • needs that fluctuate over the year (house gas, electricity, water, etc)
      • weekly grocery budget
      • bills that are wants (fancy cable packages, big cell phone bundles, netflix, gym memberships
      • entertainment budget (eating out, movies, golf green fees, etc.)

      Next figure out your annual income is and divide by 12. Hopefully your outgoing expenses don't exceed your income.

      Your next step is to realize that just because you sometimes get 2 checks in one month doesn't mean you have more money to spend that month. It means you need to put the money that exceeds your alloted monthly income (1/12 of the yearly) into savings because you are going to need it next month.

      The next step is to start hacking away from the bottom to the top. Are you going out to dinner several nights a week, which can add up fact. Make an entertainment budget and when it is gone it is gone.

      Can you cut down your cable bill by getting rid of premium channels or can you cut down your mobile bill by cutting out some of the extra services?

      Next start looking at your food budget. Are you just shopping on a whim or are you scouring the ads for good deals. Can you trim to some lower budget meals.

      Any money that you save from trimming your bills should be transferred to an account for the car.
  3. GoofyFairie

    GoofyFairie DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2008
    It can also be very helpful to track your spending. Write down everything you buy or spend money for a couple of months. This will show you where all of your money goes and where you can easily cut back or cut out completely. You might be surprised to wher your money is going and how much of it. It will also help you determine need vs want. If you truly want to save money you need to work it into your budget and pay your self first. Good luck!
  4. chris31997

    chris31997 Disney Kid at Heart

    Dec 9, 2010
    You may find it helpful to pay cash for certain items like groceries, dining out, entertainment(moveis), and household. I find that by doing that I spend less when I go shopping. I pay my reoccuring bills online thru my bank.

    We do a budget on paper.

    You asked about books. I like Dave Ramsey's Total Money Make Over and Financial Peace University. Someone posted you should be able to borrow them from your library. He does show you a form for irregular income which it kinda sounds like what you have.

    Good luck

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