I do a ten year budget

(yep ten years). its on a spreadsheet, and its a really good way to add in all the little things as they come up. I keep the “next one year” budget much more detailed than the rest, and “this month” – ie two paychecks – are the most detailed. we were required to do that in undergrad and I’ve just kept it going all this time. My financial problems were mostly related to my marriage. I divorced 4.5 years ago and this budget has saved me a few times since then. its easy to see when I will have a cash flow issue and I usually know far enough ahead to plan around it, unless its a true emergency such as mechanical breakdown, health, or something else that’s completely unexpected.

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My husband

is similar to yours. If he saw all of our funds lumped into one big account, he’d push for us to go to Aruba for Spring break – I kid you not. It’s easier for him to see a line by line breakdown where every dollar is going. Last week we came up a bit short (not really, but it wasn’t the surplus he was expecting us to have). When I showed him line for line that we put extra into our retirement accounts, the kids ESAs to get that over with asap, and we shopped at Sams (why does it always cost $200 to walk out of that place?) and a couple of other places together as a family one snow day, it all made sense to him. If I just told him the money went here and there rather than him seeing it written down line for line, he may not have come to terms with the “shortage” as readily. It would be the same thing if he looked at one big sinking fund. It just makes it easier to see, and to explain where the money is going if we can each see a line by line breakdown.

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I also do a menu plan for a week

I check the pantry and freezer and fridge for items I need for the menu. Then I make the grocery list. I also check the amount of meats I have in each type in case I need to look for deals on say chicken cuz I am running low. By doing this I can watch for good sales and pick up a few things here and there. I usually have about 50 every 2 weeks to buy things like this. Sales come around on a regular basis so I will get what I need until the next sale. It works for us.
I think if your general budget is relatively close to the same each 2 weeks you could do it like I do, but if there are huge variances in your pay every check or your outgoing expenses are not close in all categories every pay check or every month, could make it a lot harder.

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I finally think we are on the same page and we have found a plan that works for us

So far anything that has come up has been discussed and easily handled. Right now the snowball is only 300, we are looking at adding about 200 to 300 to the monthly snowball in a few months so that will be awesome.Generally when I say 300 for 2 weeks of groceries I will spend 150 to 200 the first week and then the 2nd week I would use the remainder for milk, dairy, fresh items and whatever we might need. I always try to space items that last a little while between pay days. For example a thing of cat litter will last about a month so every 1st I get 1 of those, cat food will usually last a month so that I get on the 15th. Laundry soap lasts about a month so we do that the opposite pay check of say cleaning supplies & dishwasher tabs. Instead of buying all of those on the same check.Reading other replies before I sent this off and I see some have one big sinking fund. That would be much easier for me to funnel all the money into one. But hubby would see all that money and think he could get a big item and then the other sinking funds would suffer. For us we need them separate. I did try a big account with all the money and then a spreadsheet when I put the amounts into different accounts on paper. But that was messing hubby up, its much better this new way.

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We plan out about 3 months

in advance and then do the monthly budget tweak on the 1st. When we tweak the 1st part of the month and pay all the bills. On the 15th I can tweak it again if we need to. We get paid on the 1st and 15th of each month. On the 1st I pay all bills, put money into the sinking fund, 300 for groceries, 50 for things that come up, gas money, blow money, school lunch money for the kids for the money. On the 15th we have 1 bill that is autopay, a bit in some of the sinking funds, more gas money, blow money, 300 for groceries, 50 for things that come up. And if there is something like school pictures or whatever we can tweak it to cover that.Our budget doesn’t need that much tweaking because generally the bills are the same every month.Now we don’t do a lot that costs money. DH & I use our blow money for a weekly lunch date & whatever comes up, we get 25 a week each. We have a sinking fund for the boys scouts that covers hubby & the 2 boys. We have sinking funds for other things as well. Also we have the BEF but I have another savings account that handles the small stuff. This is new for us this year so its very small but this is our safety net so we don’t need to use the BEF hopefully.

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I too have a type of slush fund in our account

It is for miscellaneous stuff we can’t plan a month in advance for like a field trip form needed in three days, some type of item my husband buys (albiet small) I don’t have a budget for that. We used to do blow money, but then we’d spend the blow money on food and snacks and still “debit” additional stuff. So now I just plan the blow money in the checking account budget instead. As far as unknown items, we don’t have much because we have a landlord that takes care of problems in the house right now. Usually it is a kid related item for us. So I just plan on a $50 line item labeled misc. Then I change it to reflect the actual items as they come up and subtract them from that amount.
So for someone on a farm, it might be an “outside”, “barn”, “equipment”, “feed”, or “animal” line items. For someone who has an old house, it might be separate line items or sinking funds for “electrical/plumbing”, “roof”, “hydro/heating/air”, etc. I probably would just make a lump sum payment into an account labeled farm or house or car repairs and go from there.

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I know there are quite a few member here

who have just one big sinking fund. I guess I’m truly anal because I like to see individual accounts funded. If I had one large sinking fund,I would think I had a boatload of money, but having them broken down into the many accounts that I do, I know I only have x amount of dollars allocated to spend on certain items. It’s just how I’m wired. I think it’s more of a control and visual thing for me, but it’s been very successful in keeping us on target so this wouldn’t be an option for us to combine all of the funds into one big fund, but, again, I know it’s very doable for many others.

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I think this is individual specific

I do it weekly because our income can change dramatically from week to week. Like I’ve mentioned before, we have a lot of ING subaccounts that I have weekly drafts for. These are things that are generally annual or biannual expenses so I can simply divide what last year’s numbers were by 52 and plan accordingly. I also am having weekly funds drafted for a big vacation the summer of 2015. This is what gives me sanity when I know things are close. I can see a reward for continuing to plow ahead. I will caution, if you do do this monthly, I think you’ll have to allow yourself a side slush fund or else everything can go to hell. An example would be two weeks ago. The geothermal has been having problems. It’s only 4 years old and it’s a top of the line system. We had to have a repairman over a couple of times to run dye through the system, amongst other things. We do have a house account, but that’s more for major repairs, such as replacing our dock this summer and buying trim to finish up the interior of our home. I really didn’t want to touch that money, and this is not an account we fund regularly, it’s something that we throw excess money into when we have excess funds. Stuff happens as we’ve all discussed a lot recently, so if you do plan for your budget on a monthly basis, I would certainly include an extra line on that budget for “just in case” items so you don’t throw yourself totally off. I guess you’ll have to do it on a trial and error basis. Again, it wouldn’t work for us, but it obviously worked beautifully for Jan and her family.

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The issue I’m running into is that the budget is too general

and we don’t catch little gaps here and there until after we’ve already totaled everything up. So for instance, if I allocate 800 for the groceries in a month, that’s 200×4 weeks. which would cover us nicely. But when I have five Fridays in a month, I’ll go to the grocery a fifth time. That particular example is easy enough to spot and I can usually adjust accordingly. But it’s issues like that where we keep having stuff fall through the cracks.I’m debating with myself this morning, about possibly doing a whole month’s worth of weekly cash flow spreadsheets, in advance. On the one hand, my goodness I can think of other things I’d rather do with my time. On the other hand, I know Jan and others on the list regularly plan that far out in advance. Furthermore, I know Jan used that recently to help her family get through their switcheroo in paycheck days/amounts. I suspect others have used it to similar good results. Sigh. I really didn’t need to give myself yet one more thing to tackle on a regular basis. But what’s the opinion of the group? Do a lot of you plan that far out in advance, to that kind of detail? If so, do you find yourself re-working the plan halfway through the month? How do you make your planning sessions as effective as possible, so you’re not spending every waking minute working in Excel? I sort of feel like that’s where this is headed. I have other entities I’d rather spend quality time with, besides Excel. So, any pointers would be wonderful.

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I’m up late tonight for a variety of reasons

An ongoing stiff-n-painful back/neck issue makes sleep uncomfortable and I have a lot on my mind right now as well. But I can say, thanks to all the IRS crap and family politics crap we’ve been through in the last few years, I SO feel your pain. Some words of suggestion (maybe not as strong as ‘words of advice’ but only a little less so):

1) learning to set boundaries with our family members is possibly the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But it is SO worth it. I have watched others NOT set boundaries with their family members and they went right into the ground with those family members when those family members crashed and burned. Our sense of obligation to our own blood is a potent instinct. But try to put this into terms of self preservation. You’re no good to anyone now, or in the future, if one family member pulls you down. Do whatever it takes to set those limits. You’ll get pushback, HARD pushback. I’ve been told, to my face, that I’m a failure as a daughter, a failure as a family member and a failure as a human being. By my own mother. Repeatedly. But having set those boundaries, and having heard it all (several times), I can safely say that riding out that roller coaster was better than flying into the ground at Mach 2. Because that’s where she was headed. And that’s where she landed about a year ago. And she’s still picking up the pieces. This is not a “good deeds go unpunished”. This is “sometimes family members will turn and bite the hand that feeds them.” When it happens repeatedly, we only have ourselves to blame because we keep volunteering for something that has burned us already. Do whatever it takes to let her know that her financial health is her responsibility now. Maybe start with baby steps and small boundaries so that you can get used to the idea, but keep going with it. Because no one will willingly give up a free ride. We have to cut those ties ourselves.

2) Of all the bills I have right now, which range from credit card debt to old collection items (and now a renewed argument with Chase), the IRS has been the absolute most reasonable to work with. Call them, tell them you made mistakes with filing, and/or that you can’t pay everything all at once, and get on an installment plan. Setting up our installment plan with them was about as difficult as falling off a log. They’ll ask you what amount per month you think you can afford, (and it can be a very small amount compared to what you owe), and when you can start. You can also file corrected returns, even after you’ve set up that installment plan, and perhaps revise your amount owed. If nothing else, yes we all make mistakes on our taxes (some of us have made BIG mistakes on our taxes). But if you’re up front with it and work in good conscience with the IRS, they’re actually fairly easy to work with.

I know you’re feeling clobbered right now. But hang in there. You can find ways to deal with Mom and you can work out something with the IRS such that you CAN deal with everything that is on your plate. Just break it down into smaller bite-sized pieces. Hope that helps.

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Don’t post here often, but I read lots from others (my friends)

Feeling WAY stressed out right now. Kinda want to just get it off my chest. Long story short, we “claimed” some winnings on the lottery for my mother so that she would be able to keep her medicare coverage and monthly disbility income in 2016. Taxes due (for DH & me) last yr at income tax time were 12K+. We obviously didn’t have any $$ to pay them as the winnings were gone. Used to fix her car (she could have purchased a newer, nicer one for less), get DH & myself out of check loan hell and get rid of another bill, buy some very needed furniture for the house she rents & purchase a house for my mother. (Due to some MAJOR renovations she “required” it is STILL under contruction – she isn’t living in it yet- and we are also footing those remodel bills ). Borrowlab.com — borrow money online, I know them!! Sooo, when we filed taxes this yr, I actually expected a big chunk of a “refund” to be put towards the tax bill. WRONG!! Somehow, DH’s job took out taxes on an income of aprox $30,000 less than he makes. He didn’t even claim all the exemptions we had on the W4! WTH??!! And subsequently, we owe AGAIN , aprox another $3000.
We make pretty good money, but this is killing us. Not just financially but mentally & emotionally. Overstressed, overwhelmed and emotionally spent.
Guess we’ll just have to pick up the pieces an regroup.
No good deed goes unpunished huh?

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Good for you!!

It’s nice to think you’re winning by getting a good deal at the car lot or furniture, but it’s really all those little choices that make or break you! I think the only reason I can resist drive thru fever is because there aren’t any on my commute. And when push comes to shove, I don’t think I’ve ever had anything at McDonalds and thought, “Man, this is so much better than the food I have at home!”

Or it might be because I watched Eddie Murphy’s Raw last night and am still giggling about his mom making “house burgers”

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Had to chuckle at this

Here we are, raising top quality foods, organic, sustainable, all that jazz, but both the #2 Supersize from McD’s or a Medium Beef-n-Cheddar from Arby’s are potent siren calls. Heck, I can taste ’em right now as I sit here writing this. Proud of you that you resisted the call. I have succumbed in recent days and weeks to that temptation. Maybe I’ll think of you as my role model and virtual courage, the next time I feel The Call.

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Just a teney thing I wanted to mention

I worked my 12+ hr shift (that as usual evolved into 13) had a crap day an am going back for more fun and games tomorrow. Yee haw.
Heading home @ 8:30 p.m., I was hungry. I had packed lunch &it was pretty good ….8+ hrs ago….
Boy was that quarter pounder w/cheeses value meal and lg sweet tea calling my name. Beckoning to me, tempting me …
And so……., i went home an ate a microwave pot pie.
I’m kinda proud of myself. I didnt go blow $ when I had plenty of food at home! My mini victory. I was an adult.

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I took a good dose of Pollyanna pills and have already found some silver linings in all of this

1) Maybe dh will finally get to see his mother, even for a short time—It’s been about 18 months and we are worried about her.

2) When it all hit the fan in 2011 we told the other sil and dbil that she had demanded all of dmil’s money and a co-signing to buy a house and a car. She told them both we were lying that she’d never done such a thing and never would. We also laid bets she’d try again in under 2 years. The second sil believed her. Well we’ve just been vindicated. I’ve heard she’s driving a newer car than we drive, and now she’s bought a house.

3) If sil pushes dmil to close the account and insists that it be done we can equally insist that since dmil owes us over $64,000 that yes the account can be closed, but that the check will be made out to dh as a partial payment. That money would pay off our next three debts. But then that would mean we’d not have an ffef for dmil. So we’d have to look at making a budget line item with at least part of that snowball money to put back for that just in case, because no matter what happens if she has a true emergency we need to make certain she is taken care of no matter how angry we are with the sil. Sil will never go for that, although she really has no say in the matter. Perhaps removing dmil’s name off of the account would be the best solution.

On a brighter note the snow has stopped and so far it’s not melted any to cause an icing problem. So things are looking up.

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Thank you for your kind words

At this point I don’t have a way to put logos on. I am using stamps and various colors of ink by Stazon. However, if I could find a way to do it, that would a whole new avenue of marketing. I will have to talk to dh to see if he has any ideas on that front.

My product costs so far have been low. It would be hard for me to offer coasters at a lower retail price than what I am doing. I am not going to “give” them away (not make any money) and I don’t feel that is what you’re saying. It is just hard to cut it down from $12/set of 4 and $20 for 2 sets. Some people are selling these sets up to $25/set of 4. However I am not having to rent a building, pay employees, etc. In fact, I am probably going to have to go up a little to cover the cost of taking credit/debit cards. I hate to do that but the costs I pay for that will eat in to profit.

Thanks for the input and I will talk to dh about your suggestion.

BTW, my dd’s name is Ashley as well. 😀

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Personally, I don’t have a need for coasters

but the company I work for has some very generic coasters for the conference room. I went to your FB page and they are very nice! I was wondering if you had the ability to put a company logo on them? That might be something you could look into doing locally… making a few samples and leaving it with the receptionist and whoever is in charge of buying marketing materials. Or a free set (not sure what your costs are) for hair salons with your info on the bottom (they love free stuff and will give out cards on your behalf!!). Talk to the high end restaurants in your area and see if they would be interested in them at a bulk rate.
I can’t remember if you are working on consignment with stores, but that’s an idea too, although they’ll take a lovely chunk out for themselves! I know for my quilts, it’s 40%, so prices reflect that.
Good luck! They’re really nice!

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No, I have not looked into etsy for myself. I have looked at other’s work there and there are some beautiful crafts done there.

Currently I have my stuff priced to make a nice profit but still be reasonably priced. I will probably have an adjustment for accepting cc’s strictly because of the fees they charge. I am not sure how much work is involved in it so that is a bit of a hold up … you know, making that commitment. Do have stuff listed there and what is your experience?

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Just an update on my coaster business

I am accepted into 3 craft shows, each a week apart beginning this Saturday. Each show is a Saturday only show. Please pray for me that I can make new friends, gain new/potential customers, and actually fill a niche out there in the marketplace.
I am boxing up the sets and getting the boxes labeled. I had to quit for the night … my back has been bothering me the last few days.
Please pray for good weather …. specifically NO rain. I don’t mind it being cool. We have rain predicted for the weekend and I am concerned about the turn out if it does rain.
If you would like to see my work, take a look at facebook and if you like my work, please “like” my page and pass it on. I do take orders and ship.
dh surprised me this evening saying he got me signed up with Square. The equipment won’t be in in time for this show but for the next one it will. I am excited about a new payment method …. debit cards, but I really have qualms about taking cc’s. I don’t want it to seem I am encouraging debt. Need prayers on that part. Due to the costs of using the equipment, I may have to go up slightly on my products. I’ll talk it over with dh to see how much he thinks it should go up. He is pretty good at that since he does it all day at work.
Good night for now.

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