Saturday, April 2, 2011

The envelope, please

I'm a list kind of gal. I like them. So it stands to reason that I would like goals, too. But when your head is buried in the sand, it's a little hard to make that connection. Now that I've started looking forward, I decided to set a few goals. They've got their own tab on this site. There's nothing momentous there, just starter goals, if you will.

The one that's sort of open-ended is the promise to reduce grocery spending. I struggle with that a lot. My grocery budget includes everything from toilet paper to toiletries to makeup - I tend to do one-stop shopping at Super Walmart. So I'm thinking using the envelope system for that one category might help me achieve the goal. It's scary, though. What if I get to the register and don't have enough in the envelope to cover it? I think I average about $150 a week - some weeks more, some less. That's for four people - essentially three adults and a teenage boy. I need to do better than that.

I'm going to think about it this week and maybe fill an envelope on Friday. Problem is, right now I can only do it a week at a time. If I could put a whole month's budget in there, I think it would give me more flexibility. But I can't do that now. Maybe that will be next year's goal.

Anybody else use envelopes? Any tips for me?

Sarah


6 comments:

  1. I use a combination of envelops and jars. I take money out the bank and they give me envelops and so I don't lose them I put them into jars. It works well. The envelops hide the money so I don't feel inclined to take money out of them and the jars keep the envelops in one place and clean looking.

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  2. I love using the envelope system. Well actually I use the jars but same idea. I find its a great way to stay on budget. I suggest you take a calculator to the store with you and add each thing as you put it in the cart. I kind of like the challenge of trying to make the money last as long as I can. I fill mine each pay day which for me is twice a month. Oh and if I am purchasing things from separate envelopes at the same store I just have them ring them in separately.

    You can do it! :)

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  3. Interesting that you both use jars. Good idea about bringing a calculator to keep me on track. I'm going to try this next week. We get paid every Friday, so I will use this week to try to come up with a realistic budget and then put money in an envelope on Friday. I'll be sure and post an update after my first go at it!

    Sarah

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  4. I don't use envelopes, but I add up how much I'm spending on my phone while I go round the shop so I don't get a shock at the checkout.

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  5. I just use debit and keep track at home on a budget form so I always know how much I have left. I just have 3 variable budget lines: food, gas for the car and misc which covers my spending money. I allot $200 per pay (15th of the month and last day of the month) for food and when it's gone it's gone! I started off at $250 per pay, then reduced it to $225, then $200). I've only gone over once so far. I don't do a lot of shopping at one time anymore, I just keep a list (gotta love lists) in the kitchen of things we run out of and thats all I buy. It's working pretty good!

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  6. I use jars as well. If I make a list for shopping, I put down the price estimate beside each item and then leave a spot beside THAT for the actual. When I shop, I write down the actual, always rounding it up to the nearest dollar. That little cushion usually comes pretty close to what the taxes at the register add on.

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