Need Budget Help, please

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Shari, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I need some budget help. I have searched and searched online, but I am just not getting what I'm looking for. I guess I'm looking for someone to just look at our family budget and say "oh, here's the problem....". LOL No, really, I'm looking for specific guidlines to live by - housing should be x% of your monthly income, food should be x%, cars should be x%, etc.

    Does anyone know where I can find this info?

    And heck, I'm not proud...if someone's willing to pick apart my budget, I'll be glad to send it to them! (or post it, I don't care)
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    check this site out

    Very pratical. Sign up to receive the free newsletters - they have great financial information. Navigate around the website and see if he has some budgeting information you can use. I've been using his advise for years!

  3. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    This is one of my favorite sites for finances. They also have daily radio broadcasts on your local Christian radio channel.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, I've never gone about it that way! I always just add up what the givens are that I know won't change anytime soon (rent/house payment, auto insurance,etc.), then see what I have left over and decide how much I want going to "luxeries" like cable tv, dinners out, etc., and balance that with what I think it will take for groceries and how much needs to be saved/invested. My income is normally depleted by the time I get through that process!!
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    A quick Google search on Household Budget Calculators turned up this site, which provides an Excel worksheet you can use to calculate your family budget. Combined with the other sites provided by others, it might help you to plan, track spending, etc.
    Household Budget Calculator . I haven't tried it myself, so I'm not sure exactly what it offers.

    There's a show that I enjoy watching, called Til Debt Do Us Part, that helps families get back on track with finances. The show has some really good hints about things you can do to track and cut spending.

    One simple technique that I use to track my family's spending is the receipt jar. For a month at a time, I collect receipts for all spending in a big glass jar. If I don't get a receipt for something, I scribble the item, date, amount spent and store name on a scrap of paper and drop it in the jar too. At the end of the month, I review all of the receipts and tally up all of the discretionary spending.

    To ensure that I am controlling the cash flow during Receipt Tracking month, I provide everyone with a weekly "allowance", not so much to restrict their spending, as to make sure that I know how much money is going where at any time. This way, even if someone forgets to get any receipts at all, I know that they started the week with $50 or whatever, and I can factor that in.

    When I do this, it gives me a very clear picture of expenses that can be cut or eliminated altogether, and those that need to be kept. Those things that cannot be removed, go into the Monthly Fixed Expenses portion of the family budget, along with mortgage payments, car payments, Residential Treatment Center (RTC) fees and other things that must be paid no matter what.

    Hope this helps,
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think it's great you are trying to get a realistic handle on your finances. My personal choice that has made any budget doable ( at least for awhile lol) is to not have money available
    to easily grab. I keep an "emergency bill" tucked away in a compartment in my wallet. I use a debit card for all my trips
    to the grocery store etc. I own way too many cards but I only
    carry for gasoline/auto and one for other purchases that are needed.

    Somehow I am just NOT mature enough to carry cash around and
    keeping track of how it disappeared. It's kinda like having
    candy/cookies in sight. If they are there I want some...if they
    are stored away, I don't think about it.

    Good luck. Four of our six adult children have learned from our
    mistakes and have done an outstanding job of living within their
    means and building security for their future. We were always
    playing "catchup" and are just thankful that we are not in debt
    up to our ears. DDD
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Thanks, guys. I know what we're spending in this house, I just don't know how far askew it is anymore. I want to sit down with recommended figures and see where we can make improvements.

    And I say "we" and I think a big part of my "problem" is husband pays his own child support now, and he bought our lawnmower, but other than that, doesn't contribute to the "pool". I make decent money, but not when you consider that I am supporting 4.5 people (easy child 2 part time). Anyway, that's a whole other can of worms that I need to deal with...

    Thanks for finding this for me, guys. I have been looking for a while.
  9. fedup

    fedup New Member

    I really like the Your Money part of MSN. different authors write for various days of the week, and there are forums. Several Insurance Companies also have money managing for women. I would also look at your local bank/Credit Union- I think CU's tend to be more helpful- but that is a personal observation, and I have had various ones available over the years. Our CU websties have money management lessons available online. If you want something more precise, perhaps a Financial Consultant could help.

    Have you looked at your past tax forms? You might glean helpful information from them. I know, there is so much out there, it's hard to know where to start.

    Good luck!
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Hi Shari,

    husband and I are starting the Total Money Makeover. The recommended percentages are:

    Housing 25-25%
    Saving 5-10%
    Charitable Gifts 10-15%
    Utilities 5-10%
    Food 5-15%
    Transportation 10-15%
    Clothing 2-7%
    Medical/Health 5-10%
    Personal 5-10%
    Recreation 5-10%
    Debts 5-10%

    Hope this helps you.