Budget Help!

Updated on August 16, 2009
K.H. asks from Wichita Falls, TX
42 answers

Mu husband and are first time homebuyers, newly married, and new parents. We have no credit cards and only one car payment. However, we can't manage to stay ahead, either something breaks or something comes up and we are housebroke again. It seems like all we're doing is paying bills every month such as our phone, cable, electricity, gas, water, etc. I've tried to make a budget sheet to follow, but it's hopeless. My husband and I make decent money and I have come to the conclusion that we are just young and don't really know what we're doing yet. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please let me know! TIA!

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers

S.M.

answers from Dallas on

Dave Ramsey!!! www.daveramsey.com financial Peace University is the best out there, you can also listen to him on talk radio every day

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.

answers from Dallas on

I highly recommend that you pick up the book "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. He talks about budgeting, and has several budget forms at the back of his book. He also has a daily radio show on KLIF (570 Am) from 1-4. Dave is awesome! Good luck, you can do it!!!

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.B.

answers from Dallas on

K....

Hi. I am a K. as well. I am also a young mother/wife, 21, married 1 year with an almost 4 month old. I am what my husband likes to call a "bargain shopper". He says I could go to the store with 100.00 and eat for 3 weeks. There is way to much to talk about on here. Email me! [email protected]____.com or find me at www.myspace.com/kountrykristin

K. B

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.T.

answers from Dallas on

Look into Dave Ramsey's plan. It works! I am staying at home, and we just paid off our house. We have no bills. I am not trying to brag- just letting you know that it is possible to get out of the money rut.
We did not go out for dinner very often- about one time a month- maybe even less. We also do not drive fancy cars- my husband's car has over 260,000 miles on it while mine has about 110,000. But, we are now saving for him to get another car. But, this plan will help you take control over your finances. We are in our mid- thirties with a young child.
http://www.daveramsey.com/tdrs/

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

V.T.

answers from Dallas on

when my husband and i were young and first married (still in college) we took a dave ramsey course. It has changed our lives. 7 years later we still follow his budget and his suggestions. living off of one fairly simple income we have a nice house, two paid for cars, no credit debt and money in the bank! you can do it!! i have heard people say all the time that you can't live off of x amount of dollars but we do it everyday and do well.

keep track of all that extra money that you have no idea where it went. and don't eat out so much. you can have a steak dinner at home for the same price as going to taco bell!!!

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,
I can send you a budget worksheet that we use in our business. I've filled it out for us and it really helps us know where the money goes too. My cousin uses it too and they were able to "find" and extra $2000 the month that they implemented it. It's a pretty simple Excel sheet.

C.
[email protected]____.com

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.M.

answers from Dallas on

Dave Ramsey! His books and/or Financial Peace University would be a great start. You are doing good with only a mortgage and car payment, but don't let those little things (stuff breaking, etc.) put you in debt! The main way to stay on a budget is to use case. Get a coupon holder and lable categories such as groceries, dining out, haircuts, mad money, etc. I don't use the cash for bill payment, but by controlling the other spending, we pretty much stay on budget. If you can figure out where your money is going (like if you eat out too much or get starbucks every morning), you'll find out where you are breaking your budget. Key is, when you run out of clothing money for the month, you don't buy any more clothes. When you run out of grocery money, you figure out how to eat what you already have. You should also check out www.grocerygame.com and/or couponmom.com Grocery game tells you what is on sale at your local store, then what coupons to use with it to get it at a rock bottom price. You can use my name as your refferal and you can contact me if you want more info - [email protected]____.com. Coupon mom is the same, but is free. I like grocerygame better, but you can either use both or just one. By doing grocery game I have got my food budget to about $400/month for a family of 5. That includes diapers, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, etc. It can make a huge difference in your budget. Just remember that a budget frees you to spend money on the things you want to spend money on and you have permission to get things, it's not a way to deprive you. It's just a tool to keep your money under control. Feel free to contact me if you want more info.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.F.

answers from Dallas on

We did the Crown ministries program at our church, too. While I found it was a good program, I really enjoyed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University better b/c I feel like it had more day-to-day practical applications of how to reach your goals (the principles are similar in both). Dave Ramsey's books are great like many of the previous posters have said, and very helpful. However if you go to his website you can find a class in your area (Financial Peace University - they are held at churches for the most part) for you and your husband to attend. It made a world of difference for my husband and me b/c we worked through it together and got on the same page. Finances are hard, you're smart to figure it out early!! Good luck whatever you do!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.A.

answers from Dallas on

Dave Ramsey is awesome go to the library and check out his dvds or audio cds and listen to them I know he has a book but I've never read it. He is great it is all about common sense and how the sellers work to trick you into buying things. Also, I noticed you said cable bill. There is some extra money.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,

All of this may have nothing to do with your age. The economy has been hard on all during the last couple of years. One thing you might consider is a financial planner. They can be very helpful with this. There are also, some online budget classes that can be very helpful as well.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.S.

answers from Dallas on

Do you have Quicken? It helps to see where your money is going and by entering your receipts every time you have one you can see your daily balance at a glance.

Something I did that helped:
~~~~~~~~~~
1. We each have a separate checking account for our allowance. I of course get the grocery money and if he goes to the store, I reimburse him. This has helped us considerably. Stops the over spending.
~~~~~~~~~
2. I allocate a certain amt to groceries every month (say $500) and every paycheck I set back half that money. You can put it in an envelope and when its gone, its gone but its budgeted up front so you always get to eat.
~~~~~~~~~
3. Give yourselves an allowance. Figure how much is needed for work, haircut, clothing, etc and average it out then allocate that much to your partner and yourself. Take yourselves out of the main checking acct.
~~~~~~~~~
4. Stay out of wal-mart. Does one of you have a better shopping to the point habit than the other? I am terribly distracted but my hubby sticks to the list.
~~~~~~~~
5. Clip coupons. We save at least $40 a month. Reduce your cable bill, cell phone bill, expendables like clothing, eating out (treat yourselves once a month from your grocery money - you don't have to eat steak!) Take a lunch.
~~~~~~~
6. Stay home. Do free things.
~~~~~~~
7. If the house is a burden sell it. Try staying in an apt for a year and reduce your extra homeowner bills.
~~~~
You have to either make more or spend less. Try doing a little at a time and always put some money back every month for emergencies (like $100 to start- $50 every 2 weeks)
~~~~~~
YOU CAN DO THIS! You can beat the 'I wannas' I know you can. :)

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.R.

answers from Dallas on

I agree with Dave Ramsey. We just checked out his book at the library. He has several, but I believe it was Total Money Makeover that was the most helpful. You can download his budget forms online as well. Just google allocated spending form and monthly cash flow for pdf printouts for Ramsey. He also has suggested percentages of what you should be spending in each section. It's an easy read book and I would highly recommend as your next step in deciding how to handle financial affairs.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.M.

answers from Dallas on

Dear K.,

The worse thing you can do is give up. You need to be proactive as you seem to be in asking for help. Crown Financial, a Christian Organization, is there to help people just like you. I'd try checking out from the library some of their books. They also have a daily radio program on KCBI in the afternoons. I have no doubt that if you follow their guidelines, no matter how tough they seem at the moment, you'll prevent catastrophe down the road.

I'm 47, and have 2 older kids, 20 and 21, as well as a 6 yr. old. The difference between moms' view of finances since I had the first 2 is incredible. We used to pride ourselves in re-using items, finding new uses for things, and making recipes from scratch. Much of that is gone now. The first thing I'd consider if you aren't already doing it is having a cooking day where you cook for the week in advance. Spaghetti sauce freezes well and is pretty cheap to make. If you like veggies, there's an abundance right now, so stock up and make dishes with what you can and freeze what you can. Look for other moms or even older ladies who can trade services with you. Angel Food Ministries has food that can feed a family of 4 for a week for $25 and it's not just for the poor- it's for anyone. The more that participate, the better it is for the program. It's usually run by churches.

Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. I'm sure there's a bright future out there for you if you're willing to change a few things. I think you'll find it's even pretty fun!

L.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.M.

answers from Dallas on

First thing to do is not give up! It can be done and you guys are in a good starting position. Larry Burkett has great resources out there to help you do what you need.
Second thing I would do is set up a savings account and start with direct depositing a $25 or $50 a paycheck. The direct deposit is an amazing thing. If you don't see it, you don't spend. This is the thing of paying yourself first. Then learn to live off of the remaining income. Set a certain amount aside for spending money for each of you. Seperate accounts work great and again the direct deposit thing is great. Don't spend if you don't have it ie credit cards...

You are in a great position, don't get discouraged.

Cut back where you can. Take a lesser level on your cable. Turn off the lights and unplug those appliances that draw power while not being on. Eat out less, don't buy drinks at the drive thru, buy a big mug and drink water on your trips for errands...

Those little things add up over time and you will see the savings account grow.

Take Care and God Bless!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.M.

answers from Dallas on

www.daveramsey.com

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University saved my marriage!!! It is worth every penney.

Best of luck!

God Bless,
K.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.C.

answers from Dallas on

A friend of mine's church is doing a financial class in Arlington and this is the 2nd week of 7. The workbook we are using is called Managing our Finances God's Way. The got the information through the Saddleback Church's website. It is through Crown Financial Ministries at www.crown.org. If you belong to a church you might suggest to them to see if someone there might be able to get a class going there. Hope you get your answers.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.M.

answers from Dallas on

www.daveramsey.com Check out DAve! Listen to him on 570am, KLIF 1-4pm weekdays. It will change your life! Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.J.

answers from Dallas on

Log on to www.prudentmoney.com. Bob Brooks has great ideas on learning how to monitor your spending and get ahead. He says that budgets are not effective for most people so he gives you other tools. No cost to log on and you'll get lots of good information about financial principles. You can even e-mail Bob directly from this site with specific questions.

1 mom found this helpful

J.L.

answers from Dallas on

Gateway Church offers the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University classes. You can sign up online at
www.gatewaypeople.com I listened to his radio show for years and his system really works. He is on locally on am570 from 12-4 or sometime around there. Another good talk show was The Clark Howard show. I'm sure you can find his website as well. He is good at money saving tips, consumer report type issues. As the current Dave Ramsey billboard says....
act your wage!!!!(LOL)

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.L.

answers from Dallas on

Great advice from others. I signed up for these 10 free emails about budgeting from YNAB U (YouNeedABudget.com link is on the bottom right). I do not own the software, though from my research it is the best REAL budgeting software on the market if you want to buy something (and cheap by comparison). I read his emails and they changed my view of budgets and money forever - well worth the little bit of time to read. After I found his site, I found Suze Orman's TV show and website - LOVE HER! After that I found Dave Ramsey, also very good.

Here's the real kicker to budgeting..most people stop at the the bills you pay monthly (house, groc, gas, etc) and forget about budgeting for incidentals. Those little $5, $10, $50 ticket items can eat you alive very quickly! One thing that Suze Orman said on a show once, was that she could tell the girl she was talking to was not a true "business person" (her business was failing and she was asking for advice) because there was nothing budgeted for building maintenance, vehicle maintenance, etc... From that I realized that our home budget was failing because I wasn't budgeting for a clothing allowance, birthday gifts for parties my kids go to, car tags, inspections, hair cuts, some for our emergency fund, etc... and I had to learn that there are no "clearance sale emergencies...or toy emergencies"....or even "car repair emergencies" if you have another means of getting work (albeit inconvenient). You have to ask yourself if there is any other possible way to get to work or resolve what ever problem it is before hitting your emergency fund.

This is how I do it...I'd advise you to setup a spreadsheet with your pay periods from now to the end of the year (assuming you're not buying that software), setup your outflow categories (and any monthly due dates) and start filling in what's coming out of each check (be sure to have a carryover category to carry $$ from what payperiod to the next - you'll need it!). Add a couple of categories for the maintenance and incidental items (and any others you think of-dont forget xmas) and try to realistically guesstimate how much you'll need for each...divide it out by paycheck for the rest of the year and include that in your budget (this amount will go into your savings account each paycheck, if not used,for when you DO need the $$) and don't forget to pay yourselves! put some amount, even if its $5 in your savings! And give yourselves some spending money, even if it's just $5 - so you don't feel stifled.

I also keep a 2nd spreadsheet that's my "checking register", I enter all expenditures here and put them into the categories i have on my spreadsheet along with the amounts i have available at the beginning of each pay cycle, so I know what category has money left to spend as I go. It sounds like alot of work but when you enter the 1 or 2 items you may have daily as you go, it's really just seconds of your time.

This is all just an electronic version of the envelope system - but I really love how much control I have over everything and I know exactly how much I have left in any given category at any time. If I go over in 1 category I know I have to steal from another category (YNAB calls that reassigning workers) and I hate reassigning my workers since it usually comes from my play money. ;) It's made me really take a hard look at what I want to spend my money on...and what we can really afford. We live on a VERY tight budget - but if you just based our budget on the bills we pay out and not all the other incidentals, you'd never think that things are as "tight" as they are.

The last thing that I want to say is....maybe you are house poor. You need to look hard at whether or not you truly can afford the house (or car) that you have and any other bills. Look at it as an outsider and set your personal feelings aside - we all get emotional about our homes, especially when they're new to us. I am so thankful that we told our realtor and loan officer that they must be smokin crack when they tried to tell us we could afford 2.5 times our yearly income (!?!?!) when we bought.

Oh and do look into the coupons...I get soooo much FREE stuff from using coupons....toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, tissue, toilet paper, snacks, food, medicines, bandaids, dishwashing detergent, etc etc...Check out couponing101.com, dealseekingmom.com, couponmom.com, neverpayretailagain.com, iheartwags.com, iheartcvs.com and links off their sites. You'd be amazed how much you can save on your groceries and how much FREE stuff you can get! CVS and Walgreens often "pays" me to buy their stuff after coupons and their reward bucks! I haven't spent money out of my pocket at CVS in over 2months, yet I walk out of there WEEKLY with bags and bags of groceries, medical and household supplies, school supplies, etc..It's all from use of coupons and knowing how to work their ECB (Extra Care Bucks) program - same with Walgreens! Those blogs will explain all this.

I hope that helps some!! Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions. (sorry to be so chatty!)

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.T.

answers from Dallas on

For me, the easiest way to save is to set up an automatic monthly withdrawal from my checking to a savings account ... when there is less in your checking, your spending will automatically lessen. I would start small (say $250 / month) then, once you get used to withdrawing that amount, increase it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.D.

answers from Lubbock on

Hi K.,

1) PAy tithes …. God is the best investment and will always provide!!!!

2) Buy in bulk when you can….and buy the generic brand to save $.

3) Find a nice thrift shop to buy baby clothes…they grow to fast to spend so much $ on something they will wear once.

4) Only allow one person to hold on to the bank card…and discuss all purchase. Bargain shop..research before making big purchase. no emotional purchase.

5) Pack a lunch for work. Allow one day to eat out.

6) Rent movies instead of going to the movies.

7) Unplug any appliances that you are not using...to save on electricity. Turn off Lights and fans...

8) Consider lower package in cable or cell phone.

9) Continue to Stay away from credit cards...great job on that!!

I'm not sure if this helps...these are somethings we do as a family with 2 children and a mortgage.

A.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.Z.

answers from Dallas on

Write down every thing you buy! You'll be surprised where your $ goes. Open a savings and start even with $20/month. You want at least $3000 in there for emergencies such as appliances, AC unit, etc. Sounds like a lot of money but we started with $20/pay check and got there quick. Writing everything down really helps b/c you stop spending on stuff you really don't need - for example, don't buy paper towels; get napkins from Sam's. That saves a lot and saves on the landfill. Much luck. **Just read the other comments...these tips I gave you are from Dave Ramsey...don't spend the $100 on the class if you can avoid it, normally the church will help families that can not. Great tips tho.**

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.B.

answers from Dallas on

I'm sure others have already said this, but DAVE RAMSEY!!! Go to his website- read his book- Amazing!!!! My husband and I will be debt free except the house next year!!!
anyway- the first thing you do is $1000 emergency fund. I can't tell you how many times that has saved us from going over our budget when an emergency comes up.
Budgeting is hard, but stick to it. After about 3-4 months you will have a more definate idea of what is going out and where it is going to, so you will have less "emergencies" coming up. You also need to be really honest with what you spend also. You can budget $30 a week for gas, but if you have a long commute or you drive more, that isn't reasonable and you might have to move it up.
The envelope system is a great way to stay on budget too.
Put your food money into one envelope, gas money into another, ect. and when the money is gone from that envelope you can't spend anymore. No borrowing form another envelope, you either need to budet more money for that next time, or reconsider what you are buying and if it is something you really want or really need.
This is the way I do my grocery shopping and I always have a few dollars left over because I don't want to get to the registar and have to put things back! I add everything up in my head as I shop(rounding up).
Good luck!
~C.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University begins Sept. 8th at Richland Hills Church of Christ. Register here:
http://www.rhchurch.org/events/?id=317
or call ###-###-####.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.C.

answers from Dallas on

My best advice is to use "Mint.com" It is COMPLETELY free and we were set up (with 15+ accounts) in less than 20 minutes. We have been using it for 8 months now with NO trouble at all. I was hesitant to sign-on, since we had our identity stolen in the past, and you have to give Mint some personal info, but we have had no issues at all. And I trust them 100% for sure. Mint will 'categorize' your spending from all accounts and tell you where you are "over-average" so that you and the Mr can maybe see where you are going wrong. It also analyzes your accounts to see if there are better rates on any of your accounts out there (very cool).
There are a hundred other things that it does, but you will see when you log on... I heard about it from an article in Fortune magazine, good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.H.

answers from Dallas on

K.
Congrats on the purchase of your first home. My husband and I have been married for twenty years and just yesterday the upstairs AC went out! God always provides. We have seemed to always have trouble making ends meet but somehow they do. I have always did a little something on the side to help that happen. Work at a Mother's Day Out......Delivery pizza.....Cut Grass.......Made and sold jewelry....Cleaned homes......but my latest has helped the most! I am working with Ambit Energy (Dallas Company) and help others switch and save on their home electricity bill. This company has a program that once you switch, you have friends switch with your account referenced. After 15 switch, they will deduct the average of those bills from your bill!! Getting a deduction from your electric bill REALLY helps. For more information, just call me, T. ###-###-####.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.F.

answers from Dallas on

I agree with a lot of the responses listed recommending Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class. My husband and I have been married 16 yrs and wished we would have had this information before we got married, bought a house, cars, etc.

Not sure where you are located, but many churches offer this class. In Mansfield First United Methodist on Walnut Creek will be starting a class in the fall. If interested check out the website for more info http://www.firstmethodistmansfield.org

Good Luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.H.

answers from Dallas on

We did the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace study and it was VERY helpful to us. We just had a baby in May and wanted to be ready financially, but felt a lot like you do.
I learned so much and now feel confident about how we spend our money and our financial future. The classes are offered all over DFW area or he has some books that are easy to read. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.C.

answers from Dallas on

I haven't read other responses, but I will tell you what helps me as far as keeping track of all the bills every month. I made a spreadsheet on Excel, something very simple, that has what bill it is, and the due date (I put them in order of the due dates, from the first of the month to the last), then a column for each month. I have it hanging on the fridge, and as I pay each bill, I mark it off for that month, to be sure I don't forget to pay anything. I also find that I keep up better and don't run out of money if I pay the bill within a couple of days of getting it in the mail, even if it's not due for another 15-20 days, that way I don't forget about it or lose the bill, or whatever.
I think once you get a system going that works for you and your husband, it will be much easier to keep track of things. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.W.

answers from Dallas on

You're in a great position--you make good $$, don't have credit card debt, just need some guidance. Try Dave Ramsey's course--he preaches no credit card use, building in 'baby steps' and 'live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later'. It's a great investment with worksheets etc.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.C.

answers from Dallas on

Our church offers crown financial classes which help you with your budget and they also offer financial peace. Both classes are awesome. It would help you to both get on the same page about your finances and have a plan!
clifec.com

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

V.R.

answers from Dallas on

two words for you Dave Ramsey. He wrote a book about getting out of debt and getting on a budget. go to daveramsey.com he is on the radio 1-4pm 570 am I hope that helps.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.T.

answers from Dallas on

I've been listening to a book on CD by David Bach, entitled The Absolute Millionaire, which reveals a simple plan for handling your finances in such a way as to guarantee that you not only have what you need in your youthful years, but also guarantees that you will have plenty of retirement money set aside for your older years. You might want to check that out, maybe from the library, and listen to it a few times. It's kind of "pep-talk-y" in tone, but makes a lot of sense, about paying yourself first, and benefitting from the financial stream which that plan sets in motion.
Also, my daughter and son-in-law have been reading Dave Ramsey's book Act Your Wage, or something like that, and are implementing that approach. Either one will help you get a firm handle on how to deal with money in honest, sensible ways, how to avoid debt, how to get out of debt if you're already in it, how NOT to live from paycheck to paycheck, ...and you're young enough at this point for such an approach to make a great deal of sense.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.D.

answers from Dallas on

You need to take a close look at your spending and figure out how to cut back...is it cell phones, cable TV, eating out, groceries, entertainment... all of these are not fixed like your mortgage, car pmt, electric/gas, etc... Use coupons and try to only buy what's necessary and on sale. Keep track of where all of your money goes by writing it down for a couple of weeks and then analyze it. You maybe spending a lot more money than you think on impulse buys, eating out, stuff like Starbucks, etc...Then you need to start an emergency savings for those unplanned expenses that arise...car repair, home repairs, medical expenses, etc...you should also try to get at the very least 3 months of living expenses saved up just in case one of you would lose your job or be unable to work. I know this sounds hard when you're living paycheck to paycheck, but you need to do this whatever way you can. Pay yourself first!!! Once you get the savings to where it needs to be you need to start saving for your retirement ASAP even if it's just 50-100.00 per month. Your children can get student loans, you can't get loans for your retirement so save for yourself first then think about college. I wish someone would have told me this when I was in my 20's! My husband and I have these issues too, but he won't cut back on our discretionary spending. SO frustrating! good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from Dallas on

K.,

The best thing you can do is have part or all of your check put into another account directly that way you don't ever even see the money and you learn to do without that money. But as the month goes on and if you need some of it you can transfer the money.

Good luck and it can be hard to get started but you can do it.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.R.

answers from Dallas on

Dave Ramsey. He has a course you can take and has many books on how to manage money, become and stay debt free and still have money left over. Total Money Makeover is one of his best books. Invest in it, follow his plan and you won't fail.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

V.T.

answers from Dallas on

DAve Ramsey is the way to go. HIs class Financial Peace University is a great reference, but to get you started NOW, and cheaper, buy his book Total Money Makeover. It has a very detailed budget sheet inside the book that you can just copy and fill in immediately. Believe me, once you do a written budget, and commit to it the way he tells you to, you will be amazed how much more money you have. You'll be in control of the money instead of letting money control you.

C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Dave's Total Money Makeover! It is simple to use, but it works!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.S.

answers from Abilene on

When I was younger and married, we really got in hot water with debt. I did my budget the old fashioned way. I got a card box and on each card, I listed my payment or budget for that object. I put the cash behind that card. If it had to be mailed, I bought a money order. On the card for food, I made it realistic, but when that money was gone, it was gone until the next payday. I did have an entertainment card too, that's important. If we ate out, it came out from the food money. I followed this budget for a year and finally got out of debt. I then made my budget and went back to using the check book etc or now days, it would be the internet to pay. I had also cut up all my credit cards except for one for emergencies. Hope this helps. Good Luck

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.D.

answers from Amarillo on

I've been with my husband for 3 years only married 1 year and 3 months. We have a beautiful 18 month old daughter. 6 months ago he got laid off from his job and hasn't had any luck since then with getting another job. We bearly made it when we were both working. The first thing we did was cut down on phone costs, we got rid of the home phone since cellphones are more convieniant for us. We also stopped buying junk food n pop. Also, we stopped buying in bulk: such as getting the 6 roll of tp instead of the 12 roll. Same with alot of other things, we only got what we would need for a week at a time. It meant more time at the grocery store but it really has helped keep a little more money in our checkbook. But most importantly every paycheck I "forget" about $30 to $50 on my budget and put it away. At first it was really hard, but as the last few months have passed it really has worked for us. Hope it helps for you.....

Next question: Does Anyone Stick to a Real Budget- Monthly or Weekly? Willing to Share Ideas?