After my last post about managing money, I thought I would share some of the ways that our family manages ours.
As I said last time, we don’t have an actual budget. I know how much our bills are each month and we kind of go from there. Having said that, however, I will tell you that I am currently trying You Need a Budget to see if it will work for us and make a positive difference in how we handle our money.
Here are some of the things we do now, in no particular order:
We have our paychecks deposited automatically. No more depositing the check every Friday and taking spending money out for the weekend while we’re there. This is more for convenience than anything else.
We have an automatic deposit to savings each week. This comes out of my husband’s paycheck before he gets it so we never miss it. Also, since we live in Indiana and he works in Chicago, the credit union is located in Illinois. That makes it much harder to get money unless you really need it. 🙂
We have a second checking account just for bills. Years ago, we used a system called The B Word and that was one of the things it suggested. It makes sure that bill money is separate from spending money. The B Word has since gone techy – the old one used Excel spreadsheets – and is now called Money Slinger. I find it more difficult to use.
We pay our home and auto insurance monthly. No more giant bills every 6 months. This makes it much easier to keep up on.
We are lucky to have our car payment taken out of my husband’s paycheck weekly. A bonus of working for Ford. 😉 Seriously, though, you can do the same thing with any payment if you have the discipline and maybe a second account.
We don’t have credit cards. We got rid of them years ago and pay cash for all of our purchases (except our new car). This is probably the best thing we ever did. Most budget and money management programs will tell you to pay down debt first. We are that much ahead because our only debt is our car and our home.
We do almost everything ourselves. If something breaks, I’m lucky enough to have a husband who can usually fix it. If not, we ask our friends if they know someone who can. We’ve managed to build a nice network of people – many working on the side from their regular job – who can do the work for us and give us a break on the cost.
We rarely go out to eat. Now, don’t get me wrong. We’re not punishing ourselves here. Since I broke my arm, you can bet this rule has been broken more than once. And we do like to go out to breakfast once a week. But other than that, we eat meals at home. I like to cook, and I’m pretty good at it, so I plan meals for each day of the week. I’m always trying new things, which helps too.
And here are a few things we don’t do:
We don’t use coupons. Yes, I’ve watched those shows with extreme couponers, but in reality, I just can’t make it work. Plus, since I buy very little prepared or processed foods, there really aren’t coupons out there for me to use.
We rarely buy discount stuff. Sure, we go to those discount stores now and then for things like shampoo or socks, but we also shop department stores for clothing. I feel that buying quality for a little more is better than buying cheap. My opinion.
We don’t suffer to save. I’m talking things like utilities now. As I write this, it’s 3 degrees outside. But I’m warm inside because I keep the thermostat on a comfortable temp and turn it down at night. We also have good windows and insulation, which helps. I do try to be super careful about leaving lights on though, and using water.
Well that sounds like enough tips for now. If you’re not doing these things, you might want to give some of them a try to see if they help you.