Budgeting

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

DH and I share our family’s expenses. We put all of our income in one big pot and everything comes from there. A while back, when we had only one (of three) children, we would just buy things when we felt like it. It seemed like we a ton of money. We had a loose rule that if something cost more than $100, we would consult the other before spending. I call it a ‘loose’ rule because I would often ignore it.

Once we decided we would be having more children and we would want one of us to stay home for a good portion of the preschool years, we had to tighten our belts. But first we moved into a bigger house. In my defence, we moved partially because we wanted to be in a better school district, and partially because our old house was so small, but more importantly, so poorly designed, that we would have been on top of each other around the kitchen table with our family of 5.

So we increased our expenses and reduced our income. Hmm. No wonder we don’t have buckets of money anymore.

So the ‘loose’ rule we had used for spending changed to a budget for family items, and a $100/week allocation each for personal spending. What expenses should come from the personal budget isn’t completely defined, but we have some recurring expenses on there and we discuss any about which we’re unsure. Anything we don’t absolutely need comes from our personal budget. For me, this includes eating out, clothes, magazines, hair cuts, visits to the spa, photographic equipment, scrapbook supplies, alcohol, sports fees and the like. It can be pretty tough to keep all of these expenses to under $100/week.

DH spends his money on eating out, beer, CDs, books, sports fees, and motorcycle insurance, which is obscenely expensive.

The down side to having this budget is that it limits what I can buy. The up side to the budget is that it keeps our expenses down. The best part of the budget is that I can buy whatever I like with ‘my’ money and I don’t have to answer to anyone.

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