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We Kinda Sorta Don’t Have a Budget…ish.

Budgets suck. I do not heart them and they are not sexy, despite what some more well-known blogs may tell you ;). That being said, it is crucial to have some type of spending plan in place regardless of whether or not you are in debt. Otherwise, you could end up spending like a coked-up rockstar. Or maybe that’s just me…

Now dear readers, I need to reveal a dark horrible very un-PF-esque (that’s totally a word now) secret. *whispers* I don’t have a budget…ish. Feel free to excommunicate me from the Church of Frugalism.

You are probably wondering what the “ish” means. Actually, you probably don’t care but I’m going to tell you anyways. While I don’t technically have a “budget”, I pay myself and my creditors first and then the rest of my money is free game. And by free game, I mean it’s for gas, food, alcohol, and occasionally something extra. So let me break this down for you.

We have joint finances, but we have two separate accounts that our paychecks are deposited into. Why? Because Steve thought he would be clever and get $125 for opening a Chase account and neglected to read the fine print. The fine print being that the account must be open for 6 months and direct deposit is necessary to avoid monthly fees. So we have checking accounts with Chase and Charter One and savings accounts with Capital One. Here’s the system.

Chase: Steve is paid weekly and the money is deposited into Chase. We use this account for gas, food, alcohol, and extras. Each payday, I leave between $200 and $250 in the account and put the rest towards paying our Chase credit card off.

Charter One: I am paid twice a month and the money is deposited into Charter One. I pay the bills, then transfer the rest to savings. I leave between $40 and $60 in the account as a buffer (in other words, we spend said $40-$60).

Capital One: We have a general savings account and a debt savings account. I transfer money to the general savings for our super-secret savings goal (not so secret if you troll the web, I mention it all the time in the comment section of other blogs). The debt savings account has enough to cover the minimum payments on all our debts (besides Chase) through August. All of our debt payments are currently automated through this account.

Wow, that’s looks way more confusing in writing than it is in real life.

If you do math good, you will know that we have between $840-$1060 (assuming a 4 paycheck month for Steve) to spend on our irregular expenses. That seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Pretty excessive? No seriously, I’m asking, because I haven’t quite put this into writing before. It seems like a lot. Granted, we are putting a significant amount in savings and towards debt but we have a good chunk left over and I couldn’t tell you where exactly it’s going. While one of my goals for 2013 was to track my expenses, I hit a snag in February and basically decided that the whole year was shot. Because that totally makes sense. Almost as much sense as my theory that if you eat badly on Monday, you should just eat badly the rest of the week. *hides bag of Doritos*

So that’s our (clearly flawed) non-budget. While we are still being relatively responsible with our income, I think our current plan is a bit too flexible for two natural spenders. We are going to sit down this weekend to revamp our spending plan to try to squeeze more savings/debt payment out of it. Any thoughts on going cash only for our variable expenses for awhile?

Do you have a budget or a spending plan or something equally as evil? Tell me your methods — zero sum, percentages, whatever you got. And more importantly, does anyone else have such an unnecessarily complicated system for spending and saving? SHARE IT because I like puzzles!

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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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