A Teacher’s Day In The Life (18): The Budget – Month Five

I’ve decided to change up our budget.  The amounts will stay the same, as nothing has changed in our income.  However, I need to find another solution for tracking it.  The Good Budget app is not working for me.  I don’t use it.  I will be trying out some other things this month.

 

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On the plus side, I have mastered the art of the rebate.  I use Checkout51, iBotta and eBates.  We’ve accumulated close to $75 in the past month or so, which we’ll keep set aside for supplies for the new baby.  Also, some of these apps let you cash out once you reach a certain amount via PayPal or gift cards, while others send a check every quarter.

Back to the new budget plan.  Here are my thoughts: I’m going to set my bank alerts as low as possible.  Right now, I get a text any time more than $200 is spent.  I want to try getting a notification any time anything comes out of the account.  This way we don’t have to keep piles of receipts.  When I get the text, or maybe just once during the day, I’ll record the amount in our budget tracker.  I am going to try just plain old pencil and paper this time.

If it made sense for us to get cash, I’d love to use the envelope system and just do things that way.  But I’ve found that way too cumbersome, especially since a lot of our expenses are auto-deducted or cover multiple categories of the budget.  For example, if I go to Target and get groceries and household supplies and clothes, that’s three different categories and three separate envelopes of cash I’d have to manage.  Using an app or pencil and paper just requires that I look at the receipt.  To make the boundaries even clearer, I do like to get our household stuff (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc.) in bulk from Amazon or Jet.  Plus, then I don’t have to lift all that heavy stuff into the house, which is very difficult when you have a little one and are 30 weeks pregnant.

I do need to track what’s coming out of each category, though, now that we’ve gotten a handle on exactly how much is spent each month.  It’s pretty crucial to our success.  However, I don’t want to make it a hassle each day.  I have to find something that will realistically fit into our routine and something that jives with my personality.  I’ve realized I can’t completely change how my brain works just to track our budget.  If I’m hyper aware of what’s coming out of the account when, and how much money we have left in each category, I will be less fearful of the whole thing and more likely to track it.

I can’t quite decide yet how I want to do this.  I will try a spreadsheet and tape it to the fridge.  I also might try using envelopes for each category and just write on them instead of keeping cash inside.  I’m looking forward to creating some things.  The teacher in me is aching to make a plan!  I’ll find something that works and share next time.