How can I make a budget we can BOTH stick to?
August 21, 2010 10:27 PM Subscribe
Our household income has been cut in half in the last six months and although we theoretically have enough money to get buy, we keep running out. We're really bad at this. Help? (details inside)
posted by threeturtles to work & money (36 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
I had to leave my job at the end of last year due to health problems, so my husband and I have been living on one income since then. At first it went ok, but we had some savings and tax refunds and various other bits of money that picked up extra expenses. Although we have reduced our bills and spending, my husband and I really like spending money and it's been a struggle to deny ourselves things that we want when we really, really want them.
The upshot is that we've used up all our savings and currently have $1.50 in the bank to last us the next week. We're living paycheck to paycheck and I mean, really barely making that. Given that my health has not improved as much as I hoped it would with some time off and that I haven't had any success with getting any disability, our financial situation is going to stay this way for a while. I'm desperately trying to figure out ways to add to our income, but we'll see.
So we really need to get better at this thing called "budgeting." I handle the money, but I've never had to watch it this closely. I've heard about online sites like Mint that are supposed to help immensely with this, but welcome specific recommendations or warnings. I need a way to keep track of not only what I'm spending, but what I'm going to need to spend on various things in the next few weeks and then be able to see how much is left over (if any, sigh.) I prefer free solutions, but if there's better software out there for what I need and it costs, let me know that too.
The other issue I have besides being better organized is getting my husband to see eye to eye on the need for budgeting. He has generally been good about letting me handle the money and checking with me before making big purchases. But the idea of having to cut back on things and make sacrifices isn't really getting through to him. As an example, he refuses to stop going to Starbucks every morning, even though he only gets regular coffee and we can make that at home. He is ritual oriented and a little Obsessive Compulsive and Does Not Like Change or disruption to his routine. I understand that, but am getting increasingly frustrated by his unwillingness to even consider various budget restraints. In fact, he hates the whole idea of having a budget.
I'm afraid that regardless of how much work I do with making a budget, I'm going to have a hard time getting him on board with it. We're to the point where I don't think we can make any more cuts without us feeling the pain and I don't know how to get him willing to share in the sacrifices and yet do it in a way that is fair to both of us. But I can't live with things in such a dangerous state and he doesn't seem to think it's a big deal that we have zero money.
Any suggestions? Unfortunately, "get him to read such-and-such book" is not a good solution because that's the absolute worst thing I could try to make him do (from experience.) I'm sorry if this post is a bit long and rambling, but this is just such a concern for me right now.