How we Budget

Good Morning Everyone!

How my husband and I budget our money is a little bit complicated but its the only way we have tried that works for us.  And we have tried many different methods.  We first saw the budget/bank accounts posts from Jordan Page at The Fun Cheap or Free Queen blog last year and decided to take her method and customize it to fit our needs/lifestyle.  I have linked to her blog at the bottom of the post.  We started this method at the very first of the year and have managed to save more in the last 8 months than we had expected to save for the entire year.

A little bit of background on us.  As of right now, our household consists of 2 adults (both work full time), 1 100 pound dog and 2 cats.  We own our home and 2 cars.  Our debt consists of a mortgage and a car loan.
Our savings goals include paying off the car loan, saving for our "4 years after the wedding honeymoon" (which we just met our goal for! Yay St. Lucia!) and padding our savings as much as possible as we are going to start trying for a baby in October.

Our primary bank is USAA.  We have 2 checking accounts, 2 traditional savings accounts, 1 529 savings account, 2 Roth IRA accounts, 1 credit card, 1 mortgage and 1 car loan as well as our life, homeowners and auto insurance with them.

Our secondary bank is American Express.  We have 1 credit card and 2 high yield savings accounts with them.

We also have a Target Red credit card and a Kohl's credit card.

Bank accounts and credit cards:

Primary Checking: Account where my husband's pay is deposited.
Pay Out Checking: Account where all of the bills are paid from.
Medical Savings: Savings for anything medical related for the household, including pets
Slush Savings: Savings for vacations, large "fun" purchases, etc
Emergency Savings (High Yield): Savings for emergencies, also where my paycheck is deposited.
General Savings (High Yield): Savings for specific categories like house, car, pet, etc, (see the Sample General Savings Spreadsheet below)

Credit Cards:
American Express Blue Sky Credit Card: This is our primary credit card.  We put everything that we can on this card.  Most of our family lives out of state so we selected this credit card for the travel reward points.  Really wish we could put the car and mortgage payments on here!
USAA Mastercard: This is our back up credit card.  We have run into a few places that did not accept Amex and we did not want to miss out on rewards by using the debit card so we use this card if Amex is not an option.  This card has cash back rewards I believe.
Target Red Card: We use this card for all Target purchases.  We get 5% back for each purchase and free shipping from their website.  I coupon here a lot so this was worth it for us.
Kohl's Credit Card: We use this card for all Kohl's purchases.  We have this card because card holders get exclusive coupons that are up to 30% off the entire store.  We only shop here with a 30% coupon.  We buy a lot of our clothes and household goods here.


We budget groceries and non-bill items by week rather than by month.  We try try and stick to $25 per person per week for groceries and $100 per week for "other" items.
I use a little notebook that I keep in my purse to track my weekly purchases.

Each calendar week has a page with a column for groceries and a column for "other". (Sorry these 2 pics are sideways.  My computer did not want to cooperate).
The rules here is that we can borrow money from side to side but not from week to week.  Meaning that each Sunday, our budgets for these two categories reset and we start fresh.  Now if during the week we go over our budget for groceries for example, then I would move the difference over from the "other" budget and have less to spend on "others" for that week.  So if one week we can get a really good deal on a grocery item and want to stock up, then we would sacrifice some of our "other" budget that week to make up the difference and perhaps not go out to dinner that week or something like that. If for some reason we manage to exceed the $150 total for the week, the extra would have to come out of our slush account but if we are ever under our $150, we move the left over money to the Slush account.  So it really helps to have a goal for your slush money as that will give you an incentive to try to limit your spending.

Each Sunday (ish) I go in and total up the amounts spent on each category and transfer the money from Primary checking to Pay Out checking.  I also move any left over to Slush or move money from Slush to Pay Out checking if we went over.

I also have pages in the back for each month's monthly charges.

These charges include car repairs, home repairs, pet food, vet or doctor bills and any other non regular monthly charges.  I have these categories separated out in our General Savings account on this spreadsheet: Sample General Savings Spreadsheet.  Any time we have a charge that comes out of one of these categories, I write it on that month's sheet and transfer the money out of the General savings account to the Pay Out checking account at the end of the month in preparation to pay the credit card bill.

I also use a spreadsheet to track our other expenses on a monthly basis.  The link below is a sample of the spreadsheet that I currently use.
Sample Budget Spreadsheet
I use this spreadsheet to watch for any discrepancies in any bills.  These include charges like the cell phone bill, mortgage payment, insurance payment, etc.  After we have balanced our spreadsheet, I transfer over money from the Primary checking to the Pay Out checking for all of the bills that were paid on the credit card.  Our credit card cycles end at the end of the month as well so once I have transferred all of the money from each section, I have enough in Pay Out checking to pay the credit card bill.

I hope this is somewhat helpful to some of you!
Please leave any questions in the comments.


  1. Very good advice. I hope more people/families make serious attempts to live within their means. It is easy for that credit monster to devour everything if you let it.


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