How do I save money? I don't spend it. Except that I have to. So here's how.
Every month this is our budget:
$800-- Mortgage payment
$106-- Property Tax
$55-- Homeowners Insurance
$65-- Auto Insurance
$20-- Auto Maintenance
$8-- Auto Licensing/Registration
$69-- Household Supplies
$15-- School Supplies
$20-- Fun Activities
$75-- Personal Care
$17-- Life Insurance
Any income over and above this total goes into savings.
The amounts have needed some tweaking over the last couple of years, as we continue to get a better estimate of what our average expenses in each category are. For example, Gasoline was at $150/month, but we needed to increase that when I started delivering pizza.
Our budget works like the envelope system; the first day of every month, the budgeted amount is added to each category. Money not spent in previous months creates a surplus in its category; money spent over the budget creates a deficit that is taken out of the next month's allowance for that category.
More on how we make "budgeting" work in another post. Or two. Or maybe I'll just make a whole series going through each line-item. Stay tuned.