Do You Have a Household Budget?
Monday, September 12th, 2011
I have a friend who shall remain nameless, although I’ve blogged about her in the past and she knows it. She and her husband have issues with budgeting and finances, and they always have. This has been a topic between us for a long time, as well as a joke. If I feel the urge to shop, she encourages me: “Go on! You can buy it!” If she has the urge to shop, I turn her back: “Don’t do it! Put the credit card down and walk away!”
She’s a spender, I’m a saver, and we both fall to the outer extremes of our categories.
The other day I got a call from her, and she laughed in that you-really-might-not-find-this-funny kind of way.
She started the conversation by telling me she doesn’t look at her bank statements. Ever. Okay, ever may be a strong word. She looks at them about once a year.
Which led to this confession. “You know how I thought I cancelled my gym membership last year, so I haven’t been going?”
Friend who doesn’t ever look at bank statement: “Well, I opened up our bank statement today and realized I’ve been paying for the gym membership every month since last year and I never knew it. I could have been going to the gym all along.”
Me: Well, I think I might have peed my pants. Seriously? A whole year of $45 per month payments and she didn’t know?
If you are trying to save money and you find yourself paying for services you don’t know you have for twelve months – or even two – chances are it’s time to sit down and create a budget.
Without a budget, you’re likely spending money you don’t know you are spending; and all of those dollars add up.
I’ll share a variety of posts in the next few weeks about budgeting: why you should have one, what to include, how to get started, etc.
First, I’ll tell you that our family operates on a fairy strict budget (surprise!). By this I mean we know where everything is going on any given month. Not only that, but the way we have the budget set up, we know what is supposed to go out and, once we pay a bill, we know how much over or under we guesstimated.
The money we spend and receive is noted in a variety of categories, which I’ll discuss in my next post on budgeting. We even budget our spending money! There is no way we would pay an extra $45 for one month, much less twelve, and not know about it.
Where do you fall on the budgeting realm? Are you a strict budgeter, like me, or are you blind about what is coming in and going out each month?
If you don’t budget at all, what is the reason you’ve avoided doing so?