Budget Ideas

Updated on March 15, 2012
C.Z. asks from Manning, IA
10 answers

Hi mommas,

Ok so my bf just got a job so it is not all up to me anymore. I am so happy! Here is the delema, I have this fear that we will blow money because we have it for once. We usually go through about $100 worth of groceries a week. Then we have rent $400. Then utilities which average about $150 to $175 a month. Gas is high so I will not put that yet. ( 84' ford gas guzzler) We do not have cable and I use the works break computer for internet. Insurance is taken out of my checks automatically. Is there something I am forgetting? What do you budget for?

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answers from New York on

Congratulations on your bf having a job. You must develop a habit of saving. Save for a rainy day, save for emergencies, save for college, save for your first new home, save for that new furniture you always wanted, save for that dream vacation, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE.

It is advised by financial advisors that you have at least 6 months or more of your monthly expenses set aside before you even begin to invest. This is good and sound advice.

Since bf isn't a husband, I would advise you be wise and always have money enough to support you and yours. Yes I'm old fashioned but I have also lived long enough to see too many women burned by life when a bf dies unexpectedly or leaves or whatever else could go wrong.

Let him hold down all he can, preferably everything while you squirrel your money away. This can help the family if he decides to become your husband or help you and the kids should he or life decides til death do you part isn't going to happen either.

Again congrats on the new job and endless possibilities of positive change.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

Congrats on the 2nd income, and yay to you for wanting to be wise with it! What do we budget for? A lot....I'll list it in a minute. First, you could search dave ramsey budgeting forms and there are 3 there that you can print out. A "quickie" form for basics (and easy if you're just starting out), a much more in-depth "cash flow plan" (that's the one I used as a template to make my own), and a sheet for "irregular income" for those that don't make about the same every week/month. See which of those will work best to suit your needs and personalities. You will need to go back through your expenses a few months to get an AVERAGE of what you're spending (although if you're like us and have gas heat and electric air, things will be very different from summer to winter....we have low electricity in the winter but much higher with the ac on in summer, and almost no gas bills in summer but that goes up when we need heat). Get a basket or something and ask your bf to throw ALL receipts in there. Then one day a week (so it doesn't get to be too daunting a task later), go through them together real quick to keep track of what you're spending and how on a daily basis. How you divide up the money should be just what works for you guys (especially not married, this can be a little tricky). Don't fight over money though; realize it takes teamwork on both sides. I would suggest saving asap for a newer vehicle b/c you have to have a vehicle to go to work unless you live in a place with great public transportation. Do concentrate, when first starting out, on a little for savings, a little for debt reduction, and a little for what you REALLY need. As your situation improves, you'll have more room to maneuver and more money to add other things in. We didn't rush at all. We stayed in a 1 bedroom apartment until our son was 18 months old (because we were both working hard on building our credit and putting money towards a nice house we could afford, and a cushion "just in case"). Once we were debt free (except the house) awhile, we started adding things in. It's amazing what you can save for and buy debt free once you don't have debts to pay for every month.
Now you asked what we budget for:
Some money goes to our savings, our tax/tithes account, the 401(k), health, life, and dental insurances as automatic deductions and the rest goes to the checking account. We are still working on our emergency fund a little at a time. College savings: we have a 529 for that. Tithes and charity. Then it's the house payments, electric, water, gas, phone/cable/internet, groceries & household goods (detergents, toiletries, etc) that I do together since I buy them together, we have no car payments but we "pretend" we do and put $250 into savings every month for when we'll have to get newer cars again (soon). Fuel and oil changes, car insurances, a little for car maintenance, our regular prescriptions & doctor visits, salon/barber for 4 of us every 6 weeks, miscellaneous stuff that comes up (home maintenance, guests coming for a visit, whatever). Recreational (family fun, date nights, and babysitter). HOA, YMCA, MOPS, and World Affairs Council dues. Then our own "allowance money": that's cosmetics, school supplies, subscriptions, gifts, going to have lunch or coffee with a friend, or saving for clothes or whatever). I also budget for "enrichment" for the kids, but that is never taken out of paychecks; I have a part time job and the money (minus 10% for tithes and 10% for savings) goes completely to their sports, lessons, clubs, etc. There's often a little side project or two I'm working on that I "siphon" money when I can and add to the savings.....this year I want to take the boys to Disney in November (a joint birthday gift, since their birthdays are 4 weeks apart), and I'm also working on Jeremy's "end of the world birthday bash" since his birthday is 12/22. I don't just splurge and spend money though---we plan and save for nearly everything. We don't do without, but we don't jump up and into debt either.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We have a 5 year financial plan. This determines what we budget for, on top of our regular bills. I have a list of our monthly expenses (water, mortage, car payments, etc.) and then a list of long-term and short term goals. We always pay ourselves first, so any extra money goes to max out the retirement fund. Then money goes to short and long term goals. These goals include things like summer beach holiday, trip to Ireland to visit the family in 2015, house expansion fund, etc. We have college funds for teh kids, and we need to do better there, but it isn't all that high on my list right now. I need a bigger house first, for instance, so it's all about listing everything and then prioritizing where the money should go.

I highly recommend doing some research on financial planning and sitting down together and discussing your long and short term goals.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Yay, good for you! :)
Add 2 components:
$ into savings each month even 10% of your monthly income
$ into 401k for retirement

If you take these right off the top of your payroll checks you won't miss

These 2 savings are essential for an emergency fund AND for retirement

-Buy store brand groceries to save $
-Shop around for the cheapest gas NEAR (don't drive 20 mins to save on gas) your home
-one day in the future you can buy an inexpensive, fuel efficient car
-make sure you have health insurance!!!! (that is a must)
-keep energy costs down at home (turn off lights to the front porch, any room you are not using, the hall light after you've walked down the hall etc
-keep all extra spending still cut out (basic cable only, cheapest cell phone coverage/bill etc, no dinners out except once in awhile)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Ditto Kimberly F. =)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

SAVINGS!!! Retirement, emergency fund, college for the kids, vacations, Christmas/Holiday gifts, etc.

Do you have any debt? Does he? That should be paid down first. And if you're really driving a 28 year old car, that's got to go eventually.

Other incidentals...gifts, charitable donations, toiletries and household supplies (if not covered by your grocery budget). Keep track of every penny you both spend for a month and see where it goes, then figure out how much of that you need to spend (you don't have to live from hand to mouth but don't want to waste money on things like coffee and lunch out every day either). The figure out what the difference is between what you have to spend and what your take home pay is and plan on using that wisely to build up emergency savings, pay down debt, and save for long-term (and short-term) goals.

It's great that you're asking this - many couples end up spending every penny that comes in regardless of whether or not they need to and never set or reach long-term goals.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

Daycare. Cell phone- unless you include that as utilities(which I do not) Any other monthly bills you may have. I had credit cards and student loans and car insurance that all came out monthly. You have already included food, did you include eating out, and I always include 20.00 per week for toiletries- whether I use it or not. And a monthly hair cut.


answers from Dallas on

Start saving toward a fuel efficient car.



answers from San Francisco on

Water (if not included in your utilities)

Auto insurance (I'm assuming the insurance taken out of your check is health insurance.)

Toiletries (not sure if that's included in groceries)
Emergency Fund
Incidentals (birthday gifts, etc)



answers from Rapid City on

If you have direct deposit on your pay checks have a savings account set up for 10% of each of your paychecks go to it so you don't even miss this amount. Sit down and make a graft sheet, with columns for set monthly bills morgage, carpayments, unset amount for monthly bills (like phone, electricity, water that changes each month), nessessities such as groceries, gas for the car, babysitting, one for everything else, clothing, dinners out, movies. Then make one for your credits, your paychecks any money you have coming in. Go through your checkbook for the past year and put the items in the catogories you have. This will give you an idea on what you have and where it is going. Take those bills like groceries and phone bills, add them up and divide them by 12 (52 for groceries) to give you an adverage amount. Then make your budget by what you spent last year, adjusting for things that had changed, cars that were paid off, a child going into school cuts down on child care. Then take a big monthly calender and on the days you get paid, put the bills and the amounts needed on each payday they are to be paid. This will help keep in mind how much extra you have on each check without cutting yourself short.

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