Practical Penny Pinching: The Value of a Budget

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I mentioned recently that our family budgets a certain amount of money ($50-$60 each week) for groceries.  We also budget for just about everything in our home (really, everything!)  I can’t remember ever living without a budget, in fact before we got married I even sat doodling in college classes trying to figure out how we would make it on my husband’s slim salary.  Our budget has allowed us to do things that never seemed possible and enjoy them because we know they’re paid for.  (We’re heading to Montana on a ski trip in just a few weeks, something we’ve dreamed of  for years and never could have done without the budget!)    

 

For us, living within a budget really is incredibly freeing.  It allows us to determine exactly where each penny goes before it’s spent, and stops us from purchasing things that there just isn’t money for. Over the years we’ve changed and tweaked our budget to adjust to our family’s needs, but we’ve consistently lived (for the most part!) within the budget. 

 

If you’re new to budgeting, please know that it’s way more fun to budget now that we are finally at a place of financial peace in our lives.  We are by no means wealthy, but we do have so much more than we ever imagined, thanks to my husband’s diligent work at his job, and years of practicing some serious penny pinching :)   If you haven’t already, I encourage you to sit down and take a realistic look at your family’s finances.  If things are tight in your home, fill in your budget with just the basics, and determine to live as frugally as you’re able while you walk towards financial freedom.  I promise, you can change your family’s financial future when you decide where you want to go (and stick with it!)

 

Your turn now:  Do you have a budget in your home?  Do you know where your money goes on a day to day basis?  Or are you living haphazardly hoping the bills get paid at the end of the month?  (That’s okay too. . . we all have to start somewhere!)  If you’d like to take a peak at how we’ve set up our budget you can check it out over HERE (note the different tab for saving on the bottom of the page), and I’d love to hear how budgeting works in your home!

 

To see the budget, click the “download now” button. 

 

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Comments

  1. Tracy Abney says:

    We, too, have had a budget since we got married. We had to, being broke college students.

    • Laurie says:

      It’s amazing what we learned as “broke college students”. James already had a job when we got married, but it was so tight during those first few years for us too . . .

  2. Ginger says:

    I’ll be getting married two weeks from tomorrow (*gasp* as the thought of what else needs to be done!) and we are combining families for a total of 7 kids! All the kids are with us most days and every night except every other weekend. As a single/sole custody/often sole provider for my 3, I’ve had to budget. I’m teaching my soon-to-be-husband how it works. :) He’s loving what I’ve saved on groceries (I’m stocking up his house for when we move in). And I’ve managed to keep a budget for a wedding by doing most everything myself or with the help of friends and family.

    Thanks for your suggestions! :)

    • Laurie says:

      Congratulations Ginger! I know you have your hands full, but WOW that you’re couponing through the midst of it. Yayyyyy for your new family :)

  3. Angela says:

    My husband allots me money for household expenses. I usually try to keep groceries and all household goods (including clothing) to no more than $100 per week even if he gives me more. My problem is internet shopping since I am a stay at home mom. Recently, I am only spending what I make on selling items on ebay. It’s basically working so far. I am a little over the internet shopping budget right now but planning on making it up within a few weeks.

    • Laurie says:

      Internet shopping is SOOOOO easy to bust a budget! (Especially when stores make it so easy to purchase!) Love the idea of using your ebay money – what a great way to sell and purchase!)

  4. Cheryl says:

    My husband and I have no credit card debt and live on cash basis only. We are single income family so pennies are always tight. I am given an “allowance” every 2 weeks and it is my job to take care of the families needs (food, clothing, and other) with that money. Its so hard to do it but we do. Sometimes budgets have to be adjusted and started over when life has its little downs. I am at a point where frustrations with prices rising but our finances stay the same is a constant burden. I’m getting better about penny pinching but I need to get to the point that stockpiling will pay off. I’m not there yet. I’m still buying for certain reasons and not buying excess amount. My goal is to have enough stored up in nonperishable items and only have to shop for fresh items or buy because its free to me. That way a few weeks out of the month my allowance can have a break and I can focus on buying our schooling curriculum for this next semester (major $$), clothing, savings, and other things.

    We vacation every year at Disney because the meal plan ticket is hard to pass up. I know that I could do better by making the sandwiches and snacks but it is vacation and mommy deserves a break. LOL

    • Laurie says:

      Hang in there Cheryl! It does take sooooo much time (and paticence!) to see the benefits of penny pinching, but (as you know!) it really is worth it.

      And about Disney – I’m totally with you on the meal plan. We’ve only gone once since having kids and we decided when we went to do the meal plan bc otherwise we would stress over ever meal (thus taking the “vacation” out of vacationing!) You’re doing great – keep it up! :)

  5. Jen says:

    I struggle with budgeting my husband and I have very different views on it. =/ I would love to go to a complete cash system. He is totally against it. Ugh!

    So I do the best with what I can and try to cut money where I can. But I totally feel sometimes we could do so much better. And if we did without a few nice to have things for a few years, in the long run, it would be so much better. But I am the only one willing to do it. So this is something I totally struggle with.

    • Trish says:

      Jen
      My husband is the same way I have the grocery budget down to 50 dollars a week. But he wants to eat out everyday(we own a small business, which is down due to the economy), I want to bring lunch. I would love to go to an all cash budget, but he wants some nice things we dont need(an used RV, which we will not be able to use for years due to business and children). I wish he could understand in the long run we would be better off.

  6. Jessica says:

    HI I tried to view the budget but when I click on it the website says “Invaild File”. Is your budget still available for viewing?

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