Friday, March 23, 2007

I'd like some input!

I'm trying to create a family budget, and I'd like some help.

Armondo doesn't have a real "steady" income. We never really know how much he's going to make, and at what point I'm going to have the money in my hands, therefore, I can't really say: "This is how much we make, and this is how much goes to bills, and this is how much we have left over for our variable costs." BUT..

I'd still like to create a budget for us, so we don't overspend, 'cause we have a habit of doing that.

But I have no idea what a reasonable budget is.

So, I'm wondering... How much does your family spend on food and personal items (diapers, pads, shampoo, etc) in a week or month? And, how many people are in your family? Also, tell me if you think the amount you spend is too much or just right. (As if anyone will think they don't spend ENOUGH!) If this is too personal to post in the comments, then please email me! celenaszoo at hotmail dot com

So far, I'm thinking around $170/week for two adults, one eating child, one nursing baby, with both kids in diapers. Does that sound reasonable?


Sarah said...

It's a good idea to budget... so good that I've never done it even though I KNOW I should...

I know some people who budget find success in withdrawing the exact weekly/monthly budget and putting it in an envelope and only using that. It's a visual reminder of how much you have rather than tallying up numbers from debit slips or whatever. Personally, though, I always use my credit card so I can collect points (even though I know that I probably spend more than I should because of that system)...

Julie said...

Cece - well, first of all translate everything from US to Canadian, but...

I've tried and tried to get us on a budget, it just doesn't work for us because we're the poster family for unexpected expenses. BUT... What I would suggest is to try to get an average on the annual income and then plan on about 80% of that as your annual income (just in case) divide by 12 and assume that's your income per month, even if it doesn't come in in nice weekly/monthly installments.

For our expenses, I try to keep our bi-weekly groceries under $75 and then our weekly fill-in groceries of milk/bread/stuff-we-forgot to $30, so we average about $50/week in groceries for 2 adults and 1 eating child. We almost never eat out, including fast food (maybe 1x per month) so that's our food bill.

The rest (personal products), well we used cloth diapers a lot awhile back and right now we aren't but then she uses so few diapers...I think about $20/month since a case lasts us about 6-7 weeks. The rest of the personal stuff I get with the groceries.

Sarah's idea of the envelopes would work nicely for us, I think, but we're also trapped in the habit of "use the card, it earns 5% back" which means if we see the cereal on sale we can toss 8 boxes in the cart without worrying about the envelope. BUT... then we just bought 8 boxes of cereal. I may move us onto a cash-only basis for a month or two and see how that goes. As is, our best tool for trying to watch our expenses is Microsoft Money. (you can get a 3-4 month free trial online). You record all of your expenses in there (either by typing them in or just by downloading your bank and credit card statements if they offer it and most do) and assigning categories like "entertainment", "food-groceries" "food - dining out" "gifts", etc. Then it'll pop up your monthly expense report each month to let you know how you did, and if you set a budget it'll let you know how you compare. I'm sure other softwares do this, too, I just had Money at some point and learned it so that's what we use.

Good luck!

CeCe said...

Sarah~Ha ha, I set up the envelopes last night! (before your comment)And, yes, we spend too much on our credit cards for airmiles.

Julie~Wow, you guys are good about spending food money. I wonder if I could get ours that low. This last month was my trial period, and it seems like one week, I spend a lot stocking up on stuff, then the other three weeks I only spend around $50. Thanks for all of your tips, I used a pen and paper and did it all last night, I'm sure that some software woulda been faster.

Ryann said...

hahahaha wanna know my budget????

Jeepers. I don't even want to know my budget. hmmmm I spend $400/mth on food... for one person, no babies, no husbands, no nothing...

so there!

Tricia said...

This is an old article, but I used it successfully when I first started to budget five years ago. It doesn't give actual numbers, just percentages, so it could apply to anyone. I found it to be a good starting point.

The 60% Solution

debambam said...

I'm a terrible budgeter. I mean, really terrible.
Will stop by and actually read some more posts when we have net connection back!!

shandelle said...

So, I can't remember about when I was nursing, but I remember with Zach on baby food, Isabella in pull ups just at night, and Zach in diapers of course, we spent somewhere around $200 every two weeks. We eat alot of fruit and drink tons of milk(especially with Zach on Homo milk). So I dunno if that is alot. WE don't starve and we eat lots of healthy foods which tends to cost more.

Bills are always the same every month, and we try not to spend too much on the credit card. We put a small payment on the card every week so that it cuts on the interest quicker and it doesn't seem like one big payment once a month.

We are bad for spending so much on Tims everyday. Plus hubby smokes so that is in our budget, but even tims gets a budgeted amount in our house cause we spend so much there.

Anyway, talk to you later. Hope I was some help!?!?!