The things you can write down are your fixed expenses. These are
the items that are a "given". You must pay your rent or mortgage, and you know
what that amount is.
Write down all the other expenses that occur with regularity.
When you are done, you will have a sum of money that is left.
This is where you have discretion. This money has to cover items
that vary, like food, clothing, or entertainment expenses.
The first 10 years we were married, we were so economically
challenged, we didn’t spend anything on entertainment. I remember seeing one
movies the first 10 years we were married- Jaws, which shows you how old I am.
Food trips were occasionally missed, and clothing was kept to a
Many of you have read my clothing strategy in previous issues.
If you haven’t, here is the link to the articles on
Saving Money on
Clothing. (I think I finally began wearing separates when I overheard girl in
the Church I attended refer to me as "The girl who always wears the blue dress". Apparently,
that was how I was referred to by those who didn't know me. It was kind of
embarrassing, and it led to change).
When you are struggling with your money, the easiest way to
budget is to write down your fixed expenses, and then put the amount of money
that is left on a sheet of paper.
As you spend money during the month, subtract it from that
figure. If you save money at the grocery store, you will improve your position.
If you find a piece of clothing you need at a garage sale, you
will help your budget.
Obviously, the idea is to keep your spending down so that when
the end of the month comes, you will not be out of money.
It requires creativity and it is something you have to work at
every day. However, when money is scarce, it is what you have to do.
If it is at all possible, you should pay yourself first- as part
of your fixed expenses. You should set some money aside and never touch it
unless it is for a very good reason.