Budget Scmudget

Well, hello there August... you look rather chipper today!

Can you believe that it's August already? It was like it was just the other day that we were enjoying the days of July...ahhh.. memories. Since it is the beginning of the month and the beginning of the week (Double Whamo!) I decided to take you on a walk with me through my monthly money management system.

But Joanna, isn't this a blog about food? Why yes, yes it is, but Hubby ain't huntin' for dinner and we have to budget right to get the most bang for our buck at the grocery store. Am I right or am I right?

Last year during mine and hubby's engagement, we took couple's counseling at our Church. Our pastor is so amazing and we learned so much, including how to manage our money. He taught us about Dave Ramsey's Envelope Management System. Truth be told, I have yet to master this system. This year, Hubby and I really want to buckle down so we can save up for a new house and some rugrats.

So, Mr. Budget, we meet again. Let's be friends and work as a team, instead of you pooping on my head this time. Ok? ::puppy dog eyes::

What is this infamous "Envelope System"?
It's a way to control your spending to the very last penny and get you to not spend beyond your means. When you use your debit card, you are essentially "swiping blindly", which is extremely dangerous for Mr. Budget, especially if you don't write your purchases down afterwards.

What do I need?
Besides a lot of will power, you will need a budget sheet, envelopes (DUH), and your cashola.

I created my own budget sheets on Microsoft Word according to the bills we have. I suggest that you make your own to accommodate to your own spending as well. Some of you might not have stupid association dues to pay, so it wouldn't make sense for you to have it on your sheet.
The first page has all of our household bills that we pay online. We do not have envelopes for these things because we pay them online, not in cash.
**Helpful Hint** After you pay your bill online, write down your confirmation numbers and date you paid it, just in case. If you lose the bill, you'll still have proof you paid it!

The second page has all of our miscellaneous items that we pay in cash from our envelopes.

I keep our monthly budget sheets in a binder I found at Target. I have pre-made one for each month of the year.
I've also added pocket dividers to hold any bills.
I've also included sheets of paper so I can write exactly what I spent and where. This is extremely eye-opening and can show you that you might be addicted to Target.
And at the very end, I have a paper folder to hold any receipts or bills I might need at the end of the year for tax purposes.

For the envelope part, I found this mini-accordion file that I've categorized to fit what we need cash for.
To fill your envelopes, first decide how much you want to budget in each category. Then, when you go to the bank, take out ONLY what you budgeted for and put them into your envelopes. I fill these up at the beginning of the month and once you've spent everything from that envelope, that's it! Once it's gone, it's gone. There are no re-fills!

You can dip into other envelopes, but that's on you. If you want to use grocery money for shopping at Target, then you better have a good explanation for your hubby as to why you're eating ham sandwiches for dinner again. Essplain yourself, LUCY!

I know, I know. This is where your will power comes in. Most of your spending will need to be pre-planned so you can remember to take out cash from that envelope. You have to really ask yourself if you need to buy that RIGHT NOW and if you don't have that cash on hand, the drive back home to get it will really put it into perspective for you.

In a Nutshell
  • Don't spend beyond your means and don't spend beyond what's in the envelopes
  • Think about your purchases beforehand
  • Stick to your budget and the pay off will be GRAND... hopefully a HUNDRED GRAND! teeheehee
  • Stay organized and be diligent with writing your purchases down.
  • Stay strong my friend.
  • Try to win the lottery.
As much as I want to hope that it'll help for you... I hope that it works for us, too. I'll update you guys at the end of the month. Hopefully by then, I will have saved enough money to move to the hills of Malibu. ::crosses fingers::

  • Share your best budgeting tip!


  1. We do this too! And the debt snowball! Oh and you shouldn't try to win the lottery! Dave is against that! He calls it the "poor man's tax" (but here's a confession, I still participate in the group lotto at work! =X)

  2. This is a great system. Very organized, very impressed.

  3. Wow this is so organized, Joanna! I hope you and hubby can master it fully! It looks pretty well thought out already.

    You really, realllyyyyy make me LOL btw! hahaha xD :D I love your writing! :)

    I don't really have any budget tips since I'm dep. on the rents. I do feel the need to use cash for the majority of spending and credit nearly never. (i don't even have a cc so no worries) and the biggest thing...don't spend beyond your means and DO YOU REALLY NEED IT? lol! great questions to ask!

  4. And how did you know that my husband chose tonight to go over our budget? ;) We're on Dave Ramsey's plan too, and are about to start his Financial Peach University this weekend. To be honest, I'm scared. I like Target a little too much. And Forever 21 and H&M. And... well, you get the picture.

  5. ...that would be "Financial Peace University," not Peach. Although that would be delicious.

  6. Budgeting sucks and I think everyone has to find a plan that works for them. I pay all my bills and my savings account when I get paid and then divide the rest up for the 4 (or 5) weeks remaining for food and fun. I keep most of my savings in a high interest online account that takes a few days to transfer to my checking, requiring my carefully think about taking money out. Good luck!

  7. Great post! Dave Ramsey has some terrific ideas on budgeting. Our pastor actually did a series on living within your means, it was very interesting! One thing my husband did before we outlined a budget was to write down everything we bought for a month, whether it be gas, a pack of gum, dog food, etc. THAT was eye opening!!!

  8. You're so organized! What a great system you've got. We're trying to set up something like this, it's hard when building a house because we have so many expenses that won't be typical.

  9. Wow, this is inspiring! We really need to start budgeting, but I've yet to figure out a system that works. I may try this out!

  10. This is great. My way of budgeting and organizing my expenses is by using a calender and jotting down every bill I have. I don't a certain budgeting system I do but man, you've convinced me to try this method out. Thanks!!



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