I posted on Facebook about the spreadsheet I created in order to track our expenses. Jon and I, prior to getting married, had some credit card debt to get rid of, so had to find out more about it all. We accomplished that before we got engaged, and then from that point on, lived off our debit & checking account rather than relying on credit cards. It went well. We saved. The items we paid for our wedding were done with cash rather than credit (except the groomsmen gifts. That was last minute and money was tight so it went on a card). Then, we got an offer for Bank of America’s 3,2,1 percent cash back. So in October 2010, we signed up for the card. We put everything on that and paid it off each month. Holidays were usually a bit tougher to pay it off since there was more expenses with gifts, but also home stuff – home warranty, home owner’s insurance, and both of our car tags. But we’d get it done in January and move on.
Except this year, it got a bit out of hand. We had things a bit backwards. We had plenty in savings to cover the credit card, but didn’t want to use it. I know, I know – wrong mentality. So, with the sale of our condo, and the goal of a new house for 2014, we had to get serious. No one likes talking about savings, debt, and goals. It’s not fun. It’s not fun to look over what you spend your money on each month. Target is my downfall. So many pretty things in one place. So easy to go there for all our household needs (and lets not forget my closet, and Aubrey’s). Jon has a downfall too – Sam’s club. He has the membership, so he’s the shopper there. Each trip usually entails one or two new things to try out – food, snack, or something else. We both have to keep each other accountable, and open back up the communication.
Communication? Yes. Because we’re not using our credit card anymore. This means every purchase has to be communicated to the other, to ensure our checking account is kept in line. We’re still saving and have bills to pay. So I created a worksheet. I’m trying it out for a few weeks to tweak it before I post it online. But don’t worry. I’ll have weekly updates for you, and you can eventually download to use, if you’d like.
The goal is simple – track the bills we have to pay each week, and every dollar that we spend. There’s categories, as well, to see where our money is going. We used a similar method early on in our marriage and it worked really well. It made me think twice before buying something, and Jon too. We just need to get back to that spot. We are trying to live slimmer, so we can save quicker. One thing we did was not get cable in our new house. We couldn’t get DirecTV again, and decided to just get Netflix instead. But, because our storage is lacking, we have to have a storage unit as well. So money traded.
So here’s the week one summary. I’m setting a monetary goal to get under each week. This does not include the bills that are due. What this does cover is food, gas, and anything else we buy. The first week the goal was $300. We were doing pretty well early on. But, then I remembered we needed to buy a wedding gift, and then my car battery died and needed replacement. So, even with those two expenses (and WOW are SUV batteries expensive!!), we came in over budget at $373.51 (the photo above had the original total scratched out, because I forgot I got Baja Fresh on Friday. oops.) But, I also somewhat “cheated” as the weeks run Mon-Sun and that weekend Jon stocked up at Sam’s club since we hadn’t been there in ages. So, the following weeks should be more representative of what we spend.
This week’s goal is also $300. I also have a baby shower to purchase for – let’s see how we do!