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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2004
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    Ohio
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    287

    Setting a realistic budget

    I'm trying to save some money and I've started by setting a budget, but I'm afraid I may have set it too low. After buying gas and a couple of birthday presents, I hardly have any money left at all in my et cetera budget. How much money do you folks set aside for non-living expenses?

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  3. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Il
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    34
    my husband set up the budget...he is very good with money. We have two accounts, one account is for bills and the other is for groceries and the "extra" spending money that we have. He has calculated how much we spend in bills (utilities, rent, ect) and have a little more than that amount in the bill account (just in case we go over some). We put our gas on a credit card that gives us cash back and pay that off every month (he has averaged the amount that we spend in gas every month and that is in the bills account so when the bill comes we pay it off) the check book to the bills account stays at home and we use it for nothing else. I have the check book to the groceries and whatever account. we have to make sure we have enough for food, but whatever is left in their is spending money. We also have a savings account that automatically has money from his direct deposit put in it. I hope this was not too confusing. My advice is if you are writing a check or using a atm card make sure you write EVERYTHING DOWN im not good at that and when my husband and i balanced the check book it only had 2 dollars in it for 2 weeks!!! Good Luck!

  4. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boston Area
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    93
    Gas seems like something you should build into your budget specifically, instead of putting it in etc.. I also have a "gifts" category in my budget. I use Microsoft Money to maintain my budget and to keep track of everything I buy with a credit card or take out of my bank accounts. You can get Microsoft Money or Quicken free from Staples if you buy tax software from there. Or you could probably find last year's version pretty cheap, and it shouldn't matter what version you use. I find the software to be incredibly useful.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    212
    The best guide for budgeting, I've found, is Dave Ramsey's envelope system. Well, you do still have to figure out how much to budget, but you'll make some mistakes and adjustments the first few months. daveramsey.com

  6. #5
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2004
    Location
    Ohio
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    Gas seems like something you should build into your budget specifically, instead of putting it in etc..
    Well, I'm a spoiled college kid who lives with her dad, so my grocerties/rent/utilities are all free, which is why I'm asking about everyone's "extra" budget, because stuff like gifts, gas, clothes, fun stuff, and entertainment are all I have to pay for. I started the year with high hopes of $100 a month budgeted toward those things, but I'm beginning to think that's a little skimpy, since I've already overspent and the month's not even half over.

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Coaldale, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    507
    I find budgets can be really hard sometimes.
    With the rising in almost all prices, how can you have a grip on what your going to spend in a week/month?
    I just got a new car, and I'm tring to adjust to my slightly higher gas amount I need. I don't have a gas guzzler, but when you go from a 4 cylinder to a 6...it's a rude awakening.
    Milk, and milk products are high in PA. I can't cut out the dairy from my grocery list so I found that my usual $100 I spend every week is turning into $120. Ouch! Meats too. What's really annoying about the meat is that we pay so much for it and the cuts are horrible. I bought beef last week and it was like chewing a tire! I know I could cut out meats and go veggy, but my husband isn't going to want to do that.
    The only thing that works right now for me is the calculator with me at the grocery store. If you see what you are spending right in front of your face, you can sort of budget a limit to spending. Sometimes, it is hard to try to get items you need for meals within that limit though. I end up staring at my cart debating what I need most.

  8. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    9
    I'm in a similar position of being a uni student living with parents, so all income is pretty much "uni stuff" (textbooks, stationery, random fees, etc), "saving" and "etc".

    Admittedly, I'm not much of a budgeter - I just try to keep a certain minimum in my account, and then spend the rest as I need. I do try to anticipate major expenses (eg: textbooks at the beginning of semester) but don't always manage...

    But to give you some not-actually-from-my-experience advice: rather than set an arbitrary limit for a category in your budget, monitor your spending for a couple of months, and see whether you
    a: think that what you spend is reasonable or
    b: think you're overdoing it, and look for ways to cut back.
    Either way, stick to what you decide, and that's your budget.


 

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