January was so much better with our budget. We were able to not only stay on track but discover changes that needed to be made. We added items that will be cash only to our envelope system and created more specific categories.
My husband and I actually sat down and discussed the budget and where our money is going. This made a huge difference and we are finally on the same page. He saw places that we needed to budget to avoid a large bill coming out of our emergency fund down the road.
We have decided we needed to add three more budget items that go into the envelopes. With the envelopes, the money is added every month and taken out as needed. It makes it much easier to save for bigger items. Our three new categories are car maintenance and repairs, house repairs, and entertainment including our membership to the zoo.
Something else I overlooked was that we are going to need to replace our old beat up pickup. In April we will start putting away money to replace it. After a year we should be able to pay cash for a used but decent pickup.
Yesterday I looked over our budget and was amazed at how little we have been spending compared to before the budget. I go to Sam's club with a calculator in hand so that I can buy the big things but not walk out spending $200 like I used to. I stick to my lists. Now I can go every month and get $50 of groceries and about the same with household items and stay under budget. In almost every category we were under budget or exactly on. The few categories we were over, but it was a very small amount and unavoidable (two categories were only $2.00 over).
Ending the month of January has felt so good. The spending was limited and we have more in our checking then we usually have. I feel less stressed and very optimistic that we can begin paying extra on our debt and pay it off faster. If you are thinking about your finances I'd encourage you to read My Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. There is so much information and advice on how to be smart with your money and build wealth for your future by paying off debt, making the right investments, spending money wisely, and being smart about spending what you have.