Thursday, August 6, 2009

Creating a Budget

This has been a LONG ongoing process for our family over the past few years, Originally we did just fine just paying bills whenever they came in and spending money on things we needed, when we needed it. We had that inflated sense of "we may not be rich but we can afford to live fairly comfortably".

Then, about 2 years ago, some things happened. I won't go into details what, but the husband was out of work for about a month. He was able to use his Vacation time to cover the loss of paychecks during that month, but vacation time doesn't take into consideration the amount of overtime he was receiving for all the hours he was usually working, so we started getting behind on bills, our regular bills as well as a few temporary extras we had incurred.

I took over paying the bills because although the husband always paid them, he rarely paid them on time, so there were overdue fees that began to stack up, not to mention not paying close attention to how much money was in the bank, plus some other details, causing overdraft fees (it took us about a year before we realized that at Key Bank, they don't process transactions in the order they happen... They take the ENTIRE days worth of Deductions, calculate those against your beginning balance, appoint any overdraft fees, and THEN they credit you any deposits... So even if you know you have say $5 and want to make a $10 purchase, and transfer the money from another account BEFORE making the purchase, you're still gonna get an overdraft fee for that purchase because the BEGINNING balance was still less than that deduction....) Oh how much money we lost because of them...

Anyway the budget I came up with worked out well for awhile, but then for a number of different reasons it stopped working for us, and we have been struggling for more than a year to try and figure something out that would.

Recently my mother suggested Sending out Weekly payments for the bills, she said that's what she's been doing and it seems a LOT more manageable and makes those LARGE numbers seem SO much smaller...

It has taken me some time to be able to get this started, but you know, I'm getting tired of getting those disconnect notices because I have a bit of an overdue balance and then am late sending the most recent payment out... So I got to work on it, I figure there are SOME bills I cant SEND weekly, like the Mortgage and the Kirby (yes, we have one of those SUPER expensive and really awesome, totally worth the $1200 vacuums LOL), and then there's the car insurance and the Netflix. All of those except for the Mortgage are automatically deducted from our account.

I figured out that for the month, our Bills come to approximately $1,329.69 (all of those are rounded up except the mortgage which is exactly $475 and Netflix is $14.69). Which divided by 4 weeks, is $332.42, which is a bit less than the husbands weekly paycheck... TOTALLY doable... I have a bit of income myself that we can use for Groceries and Gas, so this could work!

I created a list in my notebook that has all of our monthly bills, how much they are each month (all estimated and rounded up to make things easier and to help us get ahead), and made a column for how much they each will cost each week. Then I started out by scheduling 2 bills, one is for just $5 a week and the other is for $100 a week (the $100 is temporary as we have a past due balance, and I will be readjusting the amount to between $25 and $50 in a few months). After I scheduled those 2 weekly payments, I figured out which bills are already deducted from our bank account automatically, such as the Kirby and Car Insurance and Netflix. I ran the figures again and scheduled another small weekly payment ($10 a week) and now I am waiting to see how things go. We have a disconnect notice on one bill that I haven't scheduled yet, I have another week before the disconnection and after the husbands paycheck goes into the bank today and the scheduled payments go out tomorrow I will figure what we have available, make the necessary payment to get rid of the threat of disconnection, and then schedule the weekly payments of $25 to begin next week. Then there are just 2 more payments that need to be scheduled, Mortgage and Credit Card, and I will be waiting to make sure that everything goes smoothly with the already scheduled payments before I schedule those.

IF this works out the way I think it should, this will give us approximately $450 a month for Groceries and Gas, sometimes more, which is completely reasonable using coupons and Gas Rewards from Shaw's!

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