How We Budget 2016 Edition!

Hi All!
So I last posted about how we budget about 3 years ago.   Over the last few years, things have changed...  A lot.

We now have a kid, are expecting a second in the summer, I quit work, we moved across the country, own two houses, bought a new truck, bought a new van, planning another PCS...  And needless to say, our budget has changed a bit as well.

We still stick to the same basic system as we did before which you can see in my original post here, but I have simplified it a lot and it is working much better for us.  We still write down everything we spend for the week in a notebook as well.

Let me take a minute to talk about my FAVORITE credit card ever which is our American Express Blue Sky card.  We put everything on this card for the points.  We prefer this card because we LOVE Amex and this card isn't associated with any one airline or anything like that.  You save up your points for redemption credits, charge your travel charge, pay your bill, then get a refund for the purchases off the next bill.  No black out dates, no travel restrictions, nothing like that.  If we could charge our car and mortgage payment we totally would!

We don't have any separate categories for things like house stuff, car stuff, pets or anything like that anymore.  I had a very hard time trying to figure out how much to keep in those categories so I just did away with them although I have left up the spreadsheets from my original post for anyone who is interested.

We do still do our budgets by the week.  We budget $25 per person per week for groceries so counting little dude even though he won't be here until June, we budget $100 per week for groceries then we try to stick to $100 per week for "other" purchases.  This is for things like eating out, car wash, etc.  Normal bills like cable, internet and cell phone don't count towards these budgets.

The only categories/accounts we have now are the following:

  • Primary Checking
    • This is the checking account that all of our income comes into
  • Pay Out Checking
    • This is the account we pay bills from
  • Beau's Checking
    • This is Beau's money
  • Claire's Checking
    • This is my money
  • Medical Savings
    • This is money set aside for medical
  • Slush Savings
    • This is left over cash from the end of the month until we decide what to do with it
  • Emergency Savings
    • Savings for emergencies
  • General Savings
    • Regular old savings (we do keep this one divided up into categories (or goals))
  • 2 Brokerage Accounts (our retirement accounts)

We still have the same credit cards we did before except we have also added a Lowe's card but we only use it to get financing on any major projects.  We opened it to get interest free for 18 months on our floors we put into the house and it was easier to just keep it open for the next project rather than closing then reopening it again later.  We still have our MasterCard as a back up for our Amex as well as the Target red card we use to get an extra 5% off at Target and our Kohls card we keep for the coupons.

We have our savings contributions set up for automatic withdraw so we treat them like "bills".  We contribute money each month to each of our brokerage accounts, our medical account and our emergency savings account.  We plan to adjust the amounts on these every time something changes like a pay raise or when we pay something off.  Right now debt wise we have two mortgages (our house and our rental property), 1 big car load for our mini van and we owe a little bit on our MasterCard.  We had 18 months interest free financing on our Lowe's card for a special promotion when we bought our laminate floors that we had been paying on when we got our tax return so we just paid that down in full.  Then right before we got the return, we found out that our younger dog Abbey needed two knee surgeries (read about that mess here)...  So we paid the first knee with what was left of our return and we were able to get interest free until next February on our USAA MasterCard so we are using that to pay for the 2nd knee.  We plan to have that paid off by the end of the summer at the latest.

We are also looking at what we are going to do when we move again as far as our houses are concerned.  Our rental property has appreciated quite a bit and if the numbers work out correctly, we are going to sell it soon.  **Update, it is now on the market!! Post on that coming soon!!**  We will also probably sell the house we are in now unless we can work out getting enough rent to make it worth our while to keep it.  Once all this happens, we plan to pay off the note on the van and look at options to invest the rest.  Beau will also be needing a new truck before too long as well.

Another change that I have made is that I do all the bills once a week instead of once a month.  So every Monday I pay off any charges on any of the credit cards from the week before.  I use to do that once a month and it would take me hours every time and drove me nuts but once I started doing it once a week, I have have it done in 20 minutes.  Basically, I add up all of our purchases for the week, move the money from the different accounts into the pay out checking and pay the credit cards off for that week.

I have also updated the monthly bills spreadsheet!

I will leave a link here if anyone is interested in using this template for their spreadsheets.

I have also re done our Savings Spreadsheet to be more inclusive.  I've set it up to list every savings account we have as well as our debts and assets so that we always have a rough estimate of our overall Net Worth.

I will also leave a link here for anyone who would like to use this as a template.

For anyone who is interested, we bank primarily through USAA.  We do keep 2 High Yield savings accounts with American Express but all of our other accounts are with USAA.  We have been with them for years and just love them to pieces.  We have had a couple of smaller problems with some people there before but they have always gone above and beyond to fix the problems so we have always been happy with them.

As always, thanks for reading and be sure to follow us on your favorite social media platform to get alerts of new posts!!

Thanks Guys!!