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Old 02-24-2012, 07:09 AM   #1
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Budget

Right now my husband and I are doing well, but I'm wondering, who has a set budget and how do you stick to it? Is it on paper and strict? When husband first retired, he was amazed that I can't (OK, don't want to) live by the numbers but that he could say, "Claire, we need to spend $XX.XX less next month," and I'd beat that number every time .... without paper, pen, anything. In other words, if he asked me to spend $50 less, I'd spend $100 less. Part of this is keeping a full pantry (including freezer and fridge), part of it is just not buying any clothes at all. A big part of it is, as my mom says, I'm just not a high maintenance woman. But how do you do it? I'm curious because I have friends who are struggling.

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Old 02-24-2012, 08:00 AM   #2
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I have never stayed in a budget. But, making lists I stick to while shopping has helped. I do make sure the bills are paid first, then what is left is what we use until the next payday.
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:47 AM   #3
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We've never bought anything with borrowed money, make sure we have enough on hand to pay taxes, insurance, and repairs and only splurge on luxury food ingredients once or twice a month. We try to buy quality long lasting items and not having to go to work enables us to stretch our clothing expenses by mending stuff.
We try to use our bicycles to get around town.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:11 AM   #4
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We pay off our one credit card every month and make extra payments on our car whenever we can. We do not go into savings for usual expenses, but do use some of the savings when we need a huge repair or renovating job around the house. We re both retired and living on a fixed income, so we are very careful about expenditures, I can't remember the last time I paid retail for personal clothing, shoes, etc.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:17 AM   #5
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We are currently living with a strict budget, which makes me accutly aware of how much is in the bank. DH just gave up his debit card to me, which makes it easier to manage our cash flow issues. We are still working out the kinks {i need to do a freezer and pantry stock up} and figure on 15-20 per dinner menus. Wish me luck!
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
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no budget here. i just outwork whatever dw and i spend.

i'm not sure if i should consider myself lucky to be able to work so much overtime.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:42 PM   #7
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I spend several hours planning the menu for the week, checking the sale fliers, clipping coupons and making a detailed list. I also try to keep the basics stocked and if I see a really good sale I'll try and find a way to take advantage if it. Like last week the local market had chicken leg quarters marked down to 49-cents a lb because they were at their sell by date. So I grabbed a bunch of packages to toss in the freezer.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:56 PM   #8
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When I was in college, like Dave, I would coupon and look at flyers to see what was on-sale, then I would plan my menus for a week. Money was extremely tight, so I had to be eextremely careful.

Now days, we do pay attention to the budget, but we have some wiggle room. We do a lot of things like buy meats while they are on-sale to use in different things. We do not have a large freezer, so we will generally use what is bought in a timely manner.

Frank is good about sticking to a list, which helps. I'm better in stocking up on items we use often when they are on-sale. Of the two of us, he probably does better with money as he buys nothing extra. It's great until you really want a glass of milk or a cookie.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
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I use a budget and I usually come out OK on an annual basis. I sometimes mess up on a short term basis. One thing that helps me is to set the budget and then try to live on 80% of that, I make it some months and mess up others but in the end it all comes in on target or slightly under. I use a credit card and pay in full monthly. I also roughly budget for repairs and unusual expenses by keeping a small cash reserve. Another thing that helps me a great deal is to keep an expense ledger that contains a list of daily expenses. It allows me to see in black and white where the money goes. I think everyone should treat themselves as a small business owner and consider life to be the small business.

Like Mr. Micawber said in David Copperfield "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:22 PM   #10
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no paper budget but no credit cards either. my son owns the house i live on so major repairs are his thing. always i find a bargain whether for food or clothing , etc. i plan way ahead for bday gifts, christmas, etc. i think only shopping once a month saves me money on groceries. no running to the store for stuff and spending more than i intended. i don't buy much clothing. i do spend money on my hobbies, but they keep me interested in life. don't go for entertainment outside of the home, very often. somehow i make it month to month on the income i have. saving money for me is a game and i almost always win.
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