Saturday, July 31, 2010

First week on the envelope system of budgeting

Yesterday, Cliff's payday, I got enough cash to put some in the following envelopes:  groceries, dog, clothing, doctors-and-pills, and fun.  Hey, they're my envelopes, I'll name them as I please.  
I'll be fine-tuning this thing for awhile; I've designated $75 weekly for groceries, and I really don't think we'll be spending that much.  Yesterday I got by for under $50.  The only thing  that has made my grocery bill seem high in the past is that when we shop at Walmart, we're liable to be buying $20 worth of oil, a $30 pair of overalls, and so on.  For now, Cliff will buy oil out of his pocket money (he gets a pretty healthy allowance), and overalls will come out of the money in the clothing envelope.  I do count toilet paper and paper towels as grocery items.  Which reminds me, when did paper towels start costing $2 a roll?  I think I'll be using my micro-fiber cloths more, in the future.
The system sounds so simple.  And I will tell you that it made me quite conscious of what I was buying yesterday, which always means I spend less.  
I've allotted $20 a week for the dog, which sounds like a lot.  But there's her pricey dog food and those expensive heartworm pills and the monthly flea stuff.  Plus the fact that if we leave for more than one day, we get her boarded to the tune of $15 a day.  Now that I think about it, I may have to allow more for the dog!  Good grief, is it possible a dog can cost $80 a month?  
But that's what I like about this system; it makes you realize where your money is going. 
I had my first rude awakening yesterday when I stopped to pick up a couple of prescriptions I hadn't planned on.  My generic blood pressure tables are only $10 for a ninety-day supply, but Cliff's Niaspan is  $90.  Yes, friends, a dollar a day.  
Since I just started this envelope thing, I had set aside $35 for meds.  But my first $35 just covered Cliff's deductible at the cardiologist's office, leaving me with an empty envelope.   So, how would I pay for the prescriptions?  
Luckily, Cliff is still working, so we have the money.  And some extra money came in this morning, so I was able to put the allotted amounts in each envelope.  
It's a good thing I'm getting this going before he retires.  It's going to take a year just to get ahead of things.


Remo said...

The worst invention for poor spending habits? The debit card. I find that when I carry cash I'm much more aware of how fast my pocket is being emptied. It freaks me out a little bit - which is a good thing.

small farm girl said...

This is a good consept. I might give it a try.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I think it is a great idea and yes it sure does make one aware of where the money goes too. After spending some time with this system you'll be able to fine tune it much better.

Cliff said...

If you want to drive to Nebraska to board your dog I think my wife only charges $9.50 for large dogs. The gas thing might eat up your savings however.
(call ahead, she's usually at capacity from now till school starts.) hehe

Lori said...

I think it's great that you're getting this set up now.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Oh, but you will know so well where your money is going by then! And be able to make adjustments and modify.