Post # 1
Tonight my husband and I are going to sit down and analyze our finances. Our goal is to create a budget and stick with it. I’ve heard people say that envelopes of cash are the best way, but I really like being able to track everything with credit card and debit card statements. But having those things at my disposal can make spending get out of hand.
Any suggestions or advice, or ideas where I can find some help? Thanks!!
Post # 3
- Wedding: September 2009 - Barr Mansion
Microsoft Excel! My husband uses it to track his finances, and he’s now working on a joint budget for both of us.
I think it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out how much you’re spending each month and how much you’re bringing in. Start with mandatory expenses: rent/mortgage, insurance, utilities, credit card bills, student loans, groceries, etc. and then from there you can see how much discretionary spending you have.
Post # 4
- Wedding: June 2008 - Winery in the Gold Country
A lot of people in the hive use http://www.mint.com/ to track their finances… it’s free and it keeps track of exactly what you spend!!! I don’t have a lot of advice as far as budgeting as newlyweds (we dont—it’s terrible) but I did want to throw that website out there as I hear it’s amazing… hopefully someone that uses it can chime in!
Post # 5
- Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union
We use Mint and it’s really nice. They send you text message alerts if your checking is getting low, when a bill is due, and it’ll analyze your spending habits as soon as you put in your banking info. For example, if you have a bad Starbucks habit, it’s going to stare you in the face.
Post # 6
FI and I are trying to do the same thing. Online bank access and Excel have made it a lot simpler.
We decided to start by looking at what we spend each month like Mrs. Mouse suggested. Fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, insurance, cable, internet, haircuts, etc. are pretty simple. We have found it easiest to estimate variable expenses like electricity, gasoline, groceries, and dry cleaning by collecting our receipts over a month’s time.
I think the most important thing is to be honest about what you spend on. If you go to a restaurant every week, make sure to budget for that.
Also, be willing to look over your spending and make changes to your discretionary spending in order to reach savings goals.
A lot of bank websites will classify your spending for you too if you are a chart and graph person.
Post # 7
I’m also here to recommend http://www.mint.com! I’ve used it for quite some time with zero issues and it’s free and easy (and sometimes fun!).
I also highly recommend the Money Matters board on The Nest.
Post # 8
The Mint looks like an awesome place to start! I’m signing up for it now. I’ve tried using Excel spreadsheets, but I’m just not disciplined to keep it going!
Post # 9
i use Microsoft Money but they stopped selling it. It’s nice because you can link ALL your accounts and billing to it and pay from a central place as well as run reports and track a budget (every line item on your accounts can be categorized to match your budget. My dad’s used Quicken for 15 years.
I think mint.com does something similar. You can use excel but you may end up manually entering all your figures in which is time consuming.
The best way to determine your actual budget is to keep every receipt for 1-2 months, pile them into categories and see what you really spend. You could also print out 2-3 months of statements and use them. Only after that do you have a good picture of where you can afford to tighten up. You might be surprised!
I’m always amazed at how much i spend on groceries (couponing, ugh. I need to do it!) because time constraints generally force me to just shop what I need in the moment rather than plan.
We started with the vitals (rent, bills, savings, etc) went on to necessities (groceries, toiletries, household) and we divided what was left for eating out, eterntainment, hobbies, etc.
My best advice: the hardest part about a budget is sticking to it, especially after a mentality of “money’s in the bank so I can spend it”. That’s why the envelope approach is helpful at least at first because it shows that even if the money is “there”, it’s set aside for a particular budget item. It helps you stay out of money binds and from over spending in one category.