Posts Tagged ‘Budget’



April 29, 2008

My husband is a collector.  He loves having full sets of things.  There was a time when it was everything Star Wars.  I remember about 10 years ago, before we were even dating, he had an entire room devoted to Star Wars toys.  A few years ago he sold them all.  We had lost touch at the time, but he tells me he got about $6k for the complete collection.  I suspect this was far less than he paid for everything, but still, I’m sure it was nice to get a big payment like that.  We currently have 6 boxes of comic books stored in our closet.  He collected them over his childhood, and I believe some of them are worth a decent amount.  I’ve looked into selling them on ebay, but to be honest, it’s kind of a daunting task. 

His current collecting habit is DVD’s.  He is a big movie buff, and loves to watch movies (over and over).  He drinks in all the special features, and watches the movies with commentary more often than without.  I have to say I like this collecting habit more than the comic books, because I am able to enjoy the movies, too.  However, we currently own around 900 DVD’s.  (This includes box sets of TV shows.)  Last month we spent over $70 on DVD’s and this was for far fewer than he wanted.   In March we spent closer to $150.

Today, we were talking, and I mentioned how proud I was that we have scaled back on the DVD purchases.  His response was, “I don’t really like that” (very serious tone).  I was surprised at his response.  And then I felt kind of guilty.  Have I become some tyrant that guards her money and doles it out for what she thinks is necessary? 

Really, every month when I write the budget, he goes through the upcoming DVD releases and tells me what he wants so I can include it in the budget.  Sometimes I’ll ask if he can wait to get something previously viewed from Blockbuster, but for the most part I account for all the DVD’s he wants.  I think the problem is the “sale” DVD’s.  The ones that have been out for a long time but now Best Buy has in their ad for $4.99.  Another problem is that he feels like “I’m an adult, I work hard, if I want a DVD, I can just go buy one.” 

I get that this is his hobby, his thing.  I am convinced he has to collect something, it’s a part of who he is. And I know there are far more expensive hobbies he could have.  At least he’s not a gambler, right?  I don’t want to get so focused on getting out of debt that he is having to give up things he feels passionate about, but I do want to get out of debt as fast as possible.   Do you have any collections, and how do you keep it within your budget? 



April 28, 2008

I find it strange that most personal finance blogs have tips on how to make a budget, but you rarely see tips on how to STICK to a budget.  Finding the discipline to stick to a budget is really the hard part.  It’s the part I’ve always needed advice on.  When you hit the end of the month and you have to get to work and you have nothing left in your gas budget, just what exactly should you do?   

May is the third month I have made a real, detailed budget.  When I was younger, in college, I was told by my parents, “You need to make a budget.”  They went so far as to tell me to make a list of all my expenses and then subtract it from how much you make.  I am pretty decent at math, so it was no problem at all to write down gas$$, rent$$, food$$, insurance$$…  What I wasn’t told was how to STICK to a budget.

Everytime I would talk to my mom and complain how I never had any money, she would tell me to make a budget.  I would, but really these were just arbitrary numbers on a piece of paper.  They accurately reflected my fixed expenses, but had no real bearing on how much I would spend on gas, food, extras…  I just spent what was left in my account, and then I stopped.  Okay, I didn’t always stop spending then (I payed a lot of overdraft fees back then).  Then, I finally discovered Dave Ramsey and the envelope system

In March, I made a budget, and well, was pretty off in a few categories (mainly food), and kind of gave up on it by the end of the month.  In April, I made a budget, and for the first time actually tracked every expense through the entire month.  Again, we went over in a few categories (food again), but our income was more than I had estimated, so we still came out ahead.  This month, I thought I would make a small change to the way we spend in our worst category.  I have decided to use the envelope system for our groceries/food. 

I write our budget according to our payday cycles.  By that I mean, I started our financial month last Friday because that is the paycheck our first of the month bills come out of.  So, last Friday I went to the ATM and got out half of our monthly food budget in cash.  It is now sitting in an envelope in our bedroom.  (Which I’m not so carzy about cause our neighbors are kind of shady.)  We used a little this weekend for a bottle of wine and some ingredients to make chili.  I believe this will improve our food spending.  Now I need to work on improving my menu planning skills.  We may go over in other categories (rising gas prices and we have to get to work), but I feel we are on the right track.  I’m proud either way that for the first time in my life I am figuring out how to STICK to a budget.  I know in the future I will find ways to be sure I stick with it 100%.