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Facing Checkbook Number One

April 16th, 2008 at 03:41 pm

With a fair amount of savings to draw on it was easy to be in denial about overspending from Checkbook Number One.

I've gradually been realizing that we can't keep doing that. Now I'm taking a bit more action.

All of our financial stuff is set up on Quicken so it's easy to see where the money goes. You can set up reports to dissect the data anyway your analytical heart desires.

From that I've come to the following plan:

Money coming in to this account each month: $1372.55

Money going out of this account each month:
Groceries: $500
Credit Card: $500
Everything else: $372.55

I expect to tweak the numbers as I actually use this plan.

A few comments:
We could probably spend less on groceries and eating out. (In fact, we've always spent more.) I like to eat organic and local as much as possible though. . . but I can cook from scratch. We'll come to some sort of balance with it.

The credit card is likely to have at least $300 on it per month. Some regular expenses are put to the credit card, and we use it to purchase gas. I would love to see it at less than $500 per month.

5 Responses to “Facing Checkbook Number One”

  1. merch Says:

    I look at the budget being the crucial step. Once this is set up and your are tracking your expense, I would then set up my plan to fund the budget.

    With me, I have over $4k in expenses in the first 2 weeks. So I have a plan to fund these expenses throughout the month. If you donít create that, it might me hard to stay on the budget.

    I also track my budget daily and make sure I am on course for the week and subsequently for the month. It may seem a little anal but it allows be to nip things in the bud. Iíll work with my wife to readjust the budget and go from there.

    As for credit cards, I disagree with Dave Ramsey and some people here. I look at the payment option as being irrelevant as long as you live within the budget.

    Last word is to keep an especially close eye on the variable expenses.

  2. snoopycool Says:

    Welcome, welcome! I may be seeking your advice on homeschooling somday.

  3. baselle Says:

    Well, if you can hold down the outgo on this account, you can use what's left to bulk up savings on the sly. It is the underhand advantage to your DH not being with the program.

    You can still save money even if you eat organic and local. You definitely want to eat seasonally, make and use a price book, so you know what the best prices are on organic produce. Also might want to think about saving for a CSA share to get local/organic produce over the growing season.

    Any way to move the regular expenses off the credit card? Since gas is bound to go up even if you drive the same number of miles, gas plus regular expenses are bound to go up also.

  4. Petunia Says:

    Merch - I think daily tracking is going to be key for me. This checking account is used for *all* variable expenses! (The regular bills come out of the other one.) So, even though "Everything else" is a little vague, it's things like clothes, gifts, church contributions, yard and garden expenses, recreation and entertainment, etc.

  5. Petunia Says:

    Baselle - LOL! Yes, that's sort of my plan.

    I have a pretty good idea of what we eat and how much. . . I'm going to work at tweaking it a bit to bring the cost down while still maintaining my food philosophy.

    The two regular expenses on the credit card total to $60. One of these, a $40 expense, should disappear by the end of the year. Gas is what kills us with the credit card. We both drive quite a bit, and last month the gas bill was about $250!

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