All bills are set up on auto bill pay, we established from the beginning we have enough, just need to plan ahead. When Matt gets paid he must cash his check, this was actually very helpful. Here is the first thing I learned.
1. Use CASH! We tried the credit card and tried to keep track of it all in our head, no good! Since Matt gets paid and has to cash his check we save a drive by having him get the cash at once. He gets our "free" money ($100/every 2 weeks), laundry ($25/2 weeks), and food money ($200/2 weeks). Here is the thing I learned about "free" money.
2. We, of course use cash, but we are only allowed a certain amount every few weeks. This amount we recieve must pay for gas, things we want, outside food (except when we go to dinner, it is $10 each and then anything over we pay for). This is extremely fair and keep us from ordering sugary drinks, appetizers, things we really don't need. The nice thing is once the money is used up, too bad. If you want something expensive, save up! It is hard, but it has really taught us patience, and smarts!
3. Stick to the budget! This is something we need to improve. It is easy for me to say, we have done so well, so I am going to buy us a movie. Bad IDEA, move forward, not back!
4. Talk about money, COMMUNICATE! This is something we have improved on overtime.
5. Watch your money, check the online banking system everyday!
6. Pay tithing! Huge blessings come from this. You have more control and overall more money. What a blessing. Curious about tithing? Check out www.LDS.org. :)
7. See if you can save money. We did this in many ways:
- Shop for food daily-At first I was wasting so much money buying food til the next week. We were ending up throwing so much away! I was trying to buy produce to eat healthier and ended up throwing it away by the end of the week, since it was rotten. We also were invited every once in a while to dinner, didn't have money cause I already spent it. If we have extra money, by the end, we save it. If not, then we readjust our meals to save.
- Change insurance- We were paying over $190 per month with my teachers car insurance and over an additional $100 a year for home insurance. We switched providers this last year and are paying $153 per month for everything! Huge savings!
- Phones- We were paying over $150 for our two cellphones and landlines through T-mobile. We switched to virgin mobile for the same amount of minutes, unlimited text, data now we pay only $70/month. We now have our land line through Skype for $2.99/month. By getting rid of our land line we saved money for internet by asking for stand alone service. We were paying $30 for internet and $30 for the phone. Now we pay $40 for stand alone with out the phone line cost!
- Television- Downgraded to very basic package with Dish went from $54.99/month for television in every room with DVR to $20.99/month for the same thing, less channels. Added Netflix on our X-box/kindle/bedroom for $7.99/month.
Is there anything you do to keep your finances in order? If so, PLEASE share! I still need all the help I can get. :)