Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Budget woes

A continuing sore subject is DW's and my inability to stick to the budget. I've written before about our challenges in feeding our family of 5 for anything resembling (at least to my mind) a reasonable amount. (I set $450 as a goal but we have a hard time getting through a month spending less than $900, which to me seems crazy.) DW also has a tendency to say, well, we need this and this and that, and run to the store and get it, despite where we are in the month or the budget or whatever. (Although she won't do it if I jump up and down and say we really don't have any money.) The latest one was we got her Visa bill today, we're supposedly trying not to use them but every month on her card there's a $100 or $150 charge from Target for school supplies or clothes for the kids or whatever. We've really been making an effort to pay the cards down but of course we can't do it if I make a $200 payment and she spends $150 on school clothes! Her answer is, well, the kids needed clothes, what was I supposed to do? Well, that's fine, but the money you're using is not real money, and it's interfering with our ability to dig ourselves out of our hole.

Much as I would love to rake her over the coals on this, I really can't because a) she reads the blog and b) I have my own things I spend money on, like the farmer's market and the free range meat guy and building up the liquor cabinet. I have virtually given up spending money in bookstores, not completely but mostly, and I pay cash when I do go. But I am far from a saint on this. Jako got $120 out of me yesterday, it'll last 2 months but still.

I think what we may have to try is to stop using, not only the credit cards, but even the debit cards. I read somewhere on one of the frugal sites that if you carry around the cash with you you're more likely to stick to the budget. So maybe we'll have to try that.


Mary T said...

Are you saying $900 for grocerys? or is that for all your household stuff. You might want to break that down. Groceries are the one area I always think--we can cut this more. Some things you can't. I do use my debit. We no longer own any credit cards--but-- we have a savings account that can cover things that we'd need that for--if you don't yet-- you may need them. If I had a credit card it would be absolute emergency only. Things like-- The house burnt down and we need a hotel, or the motor fell right out of the car and we need a new one. I wouldn't buy clothes with a credit card ever--no never.

Anonymous said...

Actually you may not be spending as much as you think. Its $2.15 per meal, figuring 5 people eating 3 square meals per day. We are down to 4 people now, although I am continually sending $$ to family that isn't in our home too. I don't spend that much on just food--but I do feel your pain there--its not easy. Prices are definitely rising now. This is one reason I feel we need more income in our home.