Post # 1
I have been wanting to do a budget for a while now, but just haven’t had the mindset yet. I’m wondering how you ladies do your budgets. The worst part (and the reason I think I’m dragging my heels) is because FI makes a different amount every paycheck depending on the amount of work he gets (he gets paid flat rate as a mechanic). I just don’t know where to start and how to budget for money from him when we have no idea what he’s going to get paid week to week…
Post # 3
I’m probably not much help because my husband does this for us, but there are some free templates out there to use as a base for getting started on your first budget. Excel and Tables (for Mac users) both have basic templates you can use to build your household budget.
Also, I’m not sure, and maybe other bees can weigh in on this, but if your Fi makes varying amounts from week to week, is there a minimum amount he will make? Like he could make up to $1000 in a week but always makes at least $100. You would want to plan on that minimum $100 and then everything else goes to savings, entertainment, general funds, etc… so that those amounts are varying but all your basic expenses are stable.
Hopefully the rest of the bees will have good suggestions for you!
Post # 4
This is a bit tricky because your FI’s paycheck isn’t consistent. Do you always split the bills 50/50 regardless of what he makes in a week or do you pick up if he doesn’t have a bigger pay check on a particular week? Even if you can’t do a long-term projected budget you can still set limits on things and that may help. Once FI and I got engaged and realized we’d be paying for a wedding we started to cut back and cut some things out completely. For example – we won’t spend any more than $120 a week on food shopping, I don’t get my nails done every 2 weeks anymore, we only eat out once a month, etc. Hope this can be of some help to you! Good Luck!
Post # 5
I think budgeting works differently for different couples. But one question I would ask is if you guys have combine finances? Or are you expecting that if expenses are $500 you each contribute $250 from your seperate account?
This is how *we* did it when we sat down and did our budget a couple years ago (we’ve had fully combined finances for about 3 years now).
I took a tally of all our monthly bills (utility, cell phone, TV, mortgage, car payments, gas to fill the car, etc). Then for about a month took a tally of our day to day expenses like grocery shopping, running into a gas station for a liter of cola, going to dinner/movies, etc. Took a hard look at that and decided what we can cut and decided on a budget for spending (not bills). For us it worked better to have our spending cash to be a weekly budget rather than a monthly budget. And it worked better for us in form of cash because then when the cash was gone that was it. For us using the debit card did not work out because no matter how good of a mental tally we kept we usually ended up going over.
The calculation of our weekly budget is a little confusing. I tallied up all monthly bills and multiply by 12 months. Wrote down that total. Then I tallied up all projected spendings birthdays, anniversaries, christmases for the year. Added all that up into a combined total.
Then tallied up both of our yearly earnings. Subtract the bills and gift total for the year. Divide the leftover number by 52 weeks. Made sure that the number left is enough for our weekly spending. It was. Then the left over total is transfered weekly from our checking (where all spending and bills come out of) into a savings account, keeping in mind to leave some flux of course.
We decided that our weekly spending budget is what it is. If there’s leftover money then it’s like fun rewarding money to go out to a movie or buy a nice bottle of wine, etc.
It’s not always a clear cut number because some weeks end up being more expensive than others. We make up for it by taking less cash out the next week for the weekly budget spending if we went over the week prior.
Hope that made some sense! Good Luck! I think the key is to agree to a set spending amount and try your best to stick to it. And I do think both need to be on board and commit to it.
P.S. As far as him not making the same amount week to week. I would agree to set your budget based on his minimum paycheck that he might make. Or an average paycheck amount. Then on weeks when he does make over that amount take the extra and put it into savings for the weeks that he will be making less.
Post # 6
Sorry so long but here goes…
What I do is make a table of all my bills in order of the day they are due. I include The due date, the frequency they are due, the company, the amount (or range) usually due, next due date, and any notes (such as if the bill is automatically withdrawn, etc).
7/1 – Monthly – Comcast – $35.89 – Due next 8/1 – Payment pending
7/5 – Monthly – Verizon – $32.99 – Due next 8/5 – Automatic Withdrawl
7/23 – Monthly – PSE – $25.00 to $35.00 – Due next 7/23 – No notes
7/31 – Every odd month – Waste Management – $65.00 to $75.00 – Due next 7/31 – No notes
Then after the table I make another table, more like a calendar, in a way. I list the 3 major events (current amount in checking, paydays, and groups of bills due within that pay period). My FI and I get paid on different days so it helps me keep track of money coming in and out of our account at any given time. Also my FI works at a shop and before he was salaried his paychecks fluctuated too so I would take one of the lowest paychecks and use that as a standard amount–and if his paycheck was bigger it would be like having extra money–if not, it wouldn’t feel like it hurt us since I already planned on it being low. I tend to round down paychecks to the nearest increment of 50 (so $1387 would just be $1350 for example) and I round bills up to the nearest $5 (so $32.96 would be $35 in my budget). It’s just so when I pay the $32.96 I budgeted for more so it leaves a few extra bucks to our account every time I pay a bill. It adds up and it gets us a bit of extra fun money out of it.
7/1 – CURRENTLY IN BANK ACCOUNT – $2100
7/5 – FI’S PAYDAY – $1300
7/5 – BILLS:
Company – amount
Company – amount
Company – amount
=TOTAL OF BILLS HERE
***$2100 (in bank) + $1300 (paychek) – $XXXX (bills) = $1000
7/6 – CURRENTLY IN BANK ACCOUNT – $1000
7/10 – MY PAYDAY – $1200
7/10 – BILLS:
Company – amount
Company – amount
Company – amount
=TOTAL OF BILLS HERE
***$1000 (in bank) + $1200 (paychek) – $XXXX (bills) = $1550
I calculate everything out a month or so, sometimes longer around the holidays or planned vacations. I update it weekly sometimes more if we have a lot of bills to pay. I use tables but I use to use a spreadsheet to do the math for me 🙂 Sorry if it looks a bit confusing but I tried to explain it without actually being able to paste my tables.
Dunno if that helped but good luck!
Post # 7
- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
Ours is set up bi-weekly, since thats’ how we get paid. I use a google spreadsheet so we can both access it from anywhere. We don’t have combined finances, so we’ve just figured out which bills each of us will pay, how much each bill is, and when it is due. Then, I assigned each bill to a person and a paycheck based on its duedate. For example (purely hypothetical)
Paycheck: First of the Month.
Mr MJ’s check
–pay car loan, due the 5th.
–pay cell phone bill, due the 10th.
Miss MJ’s check
–pay mortgage, due the 3rd
–pay netflix, due the 13th
Paycheck: 15th of the month
Mr. MJ’s check
–Pay gas bill, due the 22nd
–Pay car insurance, due the 18th
Miss MJ’s check
–pay car loan, due the 19th
–contribute to savings account, autowithdrawl on the 16th
This took a lot of thought and a lot of adjustments Some bills (i.e. mortgage) are bigger than I can afford to pay with my check (given that there are other bills I need to pay with it too!). So I will end up saving some money from one check, so I’ll have enough when the big bill comes around.
As far as figuring out food, gas and other expenses that tend to change, we just looked at how much we spend in a given week and estimated. This is a good thing to do anyway, ’cause you might see stuff on your bills that you realize you’re buying too much of. Like $20 a week at Starbucks, or simply seeing that you eat out/take out 15 times a week.
Post # 8
Thanks so much for all the great tips!!! I should elaborate a bit, FI makes at least $100 a week I would say, although about 3 weeks ago he didn’t even get paid cuz all the deductions were the same as his paycheck. He used to pay for the majority of our bills but now that hes making so much less money their pretty equal. i get paid twice a month, so I guess I should start with a monthly budget. I just get so overwhelmed with it all, I know what I need to do but I just can’t seem to know where to start.
You ladies are awesome!
Post # 9
Oh and we haven’t combined our finances officially yet, but we do have a joint checking account. So I figure we will find out how much gets paid out each month for bills and put that in the joint, send our savings to their designated savings accounts, and whatever money we have left over will stay in our separate accounts as our spend money. We talked and we think this will work. I’m hoping to get it done this weekend so I will let you know how it goes!
Post # 10
You could go through and list all bills you must pay every month, heat, water, electric, mortgage, rent, car, phone, food, etc. After they are all accounted for, do percentages for savings, and personal use, this way the random amount your hubby gets paid won’t matter because say 25% goes to shopping.
Post # 11
Like Mrs. Spring said, I would budget for his income to be the minimum amount (net, not gross), and anything extra is just a bonus. =)
Post # 12
Thanks everyone, FI just got paid today and he made a couple hundred more than I anticipated, so I’m hoping to start our budget out on a high note with some cushion in case he doesn’t do so well in the next few weeks
Post # 13
As for the actual budgeting part, I would put together a spreadsheet in Excel/Numbers detailing the basic things you need to spend money on, and how much you have. Before you start actually "budgeting", per se, you’ll want to track back a couple months to see how much you typically spend in each area, and whether or not you can cut back.
It also depends how detailed you want your budget to be. My fiance is very exact about budgeting…he tracks all his payments, withdrawls, and deposits. He also outlines what percentage he’s alloted to tithes, school, the wedding, a house, etc. and then the left-over percentage goes to spending money for entertainment, etc. I, on the other hand, am more lose with my budget. I am a natural saver, so for me, this works fine (my fiance tends to spend more than I do, so he needs to have an idea of how much he CAN spend, which is why he budgets exact amounts more). I have a column for my work income, a column for my misc. income (gifts, etc.), a column for my misc. out (right now, this includes bills, etc.; but later I may split it up into credit card payments, utility/etc. bills, groceries, and misc.), a column for my school output, a column for how much I’m giving to charity, and a column of how much I’m putting into my savings account. Then, in the final column, I keep track of the current balance in my bank account. I update my system monthly (and have a "total" row at the end of the year for each column), my fiance updates his each time he performs a transaction.
Post # 14
- Wedding: June 2008 - Imperia Hotel (modern chic hotel)
I created an excel document with all my info…
Its divided in 3 sections:
Conjoint Account Bills (monthly)
Rent, Phone Bill, Insurance, TV bill…etc
Personal Account Bills: (monthly)
Car, Credit Card, Insurance…etc
Other Expenses: (weekly)
Food, Spending Money, Savings, Gas
Post # 15
My fiance uses yodlee.com, sounds funny–but it tracks your purchases too! Check it out!
Post # 16
We tracked our expenses for a about 3 months to get more of an accurate amount that we were spending then we looked at what could be cut out like cable tv. We live within our means and we are trying to save for retirement. We use my FI’s BofA account to track everything and by seeing our networth as a whole it’s been easier to get motivated to save and to budget.