Since resigning from my lucrative job, I thought it best to look and see how we were doing, financially.
We have a budget written on the back of a used envelope somewhere, but it's scarcely enforced and I really couldn't even tell you where that envelope is. Plus, using debit cards, credit cards, checks and cash, it's hard to keep track of what we're spending and where, anyway.
Mint.com to the rescue. I only discovered it yesterday. It links your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, property, etc. and categorizes your spending each month. It also allows you to set financial goals (Dream House), and makes and automatically tracks a budget (fully customizable, and you can enter cash expenditures each day). Then it generates a neat little pie chart to show you where your money is going. And it's FREE, without the "pay $9.95 a month to unlock additional features" jazz.
Other than a whole category for library fines (let's just not go there), I was doing great until the pie chart. Last month, we spent almost as much in groceries as we did in rent!! It was shocking, actually. I tried a million ways to justify it... "well, my sister was here all month and I wanted her to eat well... we were doing cherry harvest and I bought some extra treats... our rent doesn't cost much!"
And, dear readers, I kid you not... one of my excuses was, "I bought two big packages of toilet paper instead of one." Yeah... that one right there is gonna break the bank.
So I looked at the month before. SAME THING!!!! We're eating our money!! And we don't even eat out! And I wasn't buying meat, and I rarely buy name brands! What the heck?
I don't know about you... but I think it's time to cut that extra package of toilet paper out of the budget.