One thing I really suck at is budgetting. I never take the time to sit down and figure one out. As a result we often find ourselves dipping into savings. I would like this to stop lol.
I am taking steps now to start living within a budget. The first thing I am doing is making a list of monthly bills. Although some of them like the gas, water and electricity change, it gives me a good idea to see what we need to spend each month. I am going to keep track for 2 months and take the average from those. Also looking for ways to reduce them. Here are some thoughts...
Gas -- I think the only time I use this is for my fireplace (though it may also factor in to my hot water). I usually only put the fireplace on when I come home from work. I think I am going to start using it in one hour intervals because it gets the livingroom pretty warm!
Electricity -- we are pretty good about not leaving lights on in rooms we are not in. Right now this is my cheapest bill because we are not running the AC and because of the fireplace the heater is not on as much. I also turn the heat way down when we are not home. But I can do better. I need to learn to use blankets and sweaters and that will cut down on usage even more. In the summer I am going to use our fans as much as possible. I am also signing up for this program where to save energy and costs, periodically during the summer (during the week only) the electric company can switch your AC to fan only for a couple of hours. This helps cut down on power outtages from overloads and saves you money.
Water -- This one is higher than I would like, but I think it is because it includes trash lol. I am going to try to be more concious of the time I spend in the shower (because sometimes I just stand there and think). We don't run our dishwasher until it is full. Same with laundry.
Two of my highest bills are our phones and Cable(which includes internet). I thought about getting rid of internet on our phones, but then I realied that the apps we use (games for TJ, coupons and even scriptures and church stuff for me) are also a part of that. We definitely get our money's worth. So for now I am going to keep that, but if need be we will get rid of it in the future. As for cable.. this one breaks my heart as I love all my choices and the awesome shows I get on my digital tier channels, BUT I can do without those. I can go back to basic cable. I can even go down to local channels if need be. I am the one who watches TV the most (TJ likes Youtube) so this really only affects me. The only thing is that we also have internet through our cable company and have a bundle and it may benefit us to continue doing it this way. But I doubt it.
A couple other things I am going to do to save us money is give us both an allowance and cut down on how much we eat out. I am lazy when it comes to cooking, but no more. Or, if we have to eat cereal for dinner so be it lol. I am hoping to limit us to eating out only once a month. Or maybe once a month at a "nice" restaurant and once a month at something cheaper. And fast food only once a week. As for the allowance -- for me that is going to go for things like getting my nails done, scrapbooking crops, and rewards for weightlosss. I am limiting myself to one scrapbook crop a month.
Although we do have our savings to fall back on, I want use that money for emergencies. I want to also start saving for vacations(most likely tax return money) or appliance upgrades (on my wishlist is a new dishwasher and a new washing machine...but only when they stop working! I think the dishwasher is getting there). And of course we eventually want to do some painting and I would like to have a garden and a fence in the backyard.
Another thing that makes budgetting a little difficult is TJ's job. He does not have a set schedule, per se. Normally he works 4 10s, BUT if there is more inventory he works more and his check goes up, or if there is not a lot of inventory he gets to come home early, but his check goes down. Luckily, the last one does not happen very often. He was told December would be a slow month, but so far it has been normal. I am budgetting his income at an average amount. Actually, I think I am underestimating it, but that is better so then we end up with some extra money to put away. If he does end up with too many days he is not working he can always go to LaborMax and do a temp job.
Do you have any budgetting or money saving tips?