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Working Together to Find Budget Mistakes

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It's taken my wife and I a long time to find a budgeting system that works for us. 

Over the years we've tried countless methods and failed, finding they just didn't mesh well with our lives, or how we view our finances. While we're certainly not perfect and constantly looking for ways to improve, our current system is made up of the following pieces:

Bi-monthly Budget Cycle:  The first cycle runs from the 1st of the month to the 14th, and the second from the 15th to the end. These correspond to the paydays of my job as a software engineer which makes up the majority of our monthly income. On the first day of each cycle we pay the bills due during that period, and make up a general spending plan.

Weekly Budget Discussions:  We meet on Thursday or Friday evening and come up with our spending plan for the weekend. We meet again on Sunday to talk about how we did over the weekend, and discuss spending for the work week.

Daily Budget Checkins: Each morning we sign into our bank's online portal and go over the checking account, noting any transactions that had posted over night.

Budgeting Two Ways: Vonnie and I each process information in different ways. I need to see the entire month's information on one sheet of paper. I track total income and total bills. I subtract bills from income to determine how much we have for discretionary spending. Vonnie prefers to put all the information on a giant calendar. Expenses are marked in red, and income in black.

This duplication of data may seem unnecessary to some, but for us it makes our discussions go so much easier since we are each looking at information that makes sense.

Vonnie's calendar method found a problem with our budget recently that I may not have caught until it was too late. During one of beginning of the budget cycle discussions, I did my usual subtracting of bills from income and splitting what was left evenly between the weeks of the cycle. I thought we were done, and began to wrap things up.

"Hold on just a minute," said Vonnie.

She noticed that the majority of our discretionary income would not be available until after the completion of the first weekend in the budget cycle. This occurred just because of the timing of some of our secondary incomes. We had to adjust our plans to account for having less funds available during the first week of the budget period. 

By working together, and each looking at the information in ways that make sense to us, Vonnie and I make an unbeatable budget team that is sure to succeed!

Do you and your significant other work as a team on your finances? How does it work for you?

Related Links:

Organizing Your Finances Doesn't Have to be Complicated

Gradually Improving Our Finances Over Morning Coffee

Success by Budgeting Two Ways 

Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

To connect with Travis on Google+ click 

You can follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Great tips! I’ll try a few of these. Thanks for sharing!

  • Come back and let everyone know how they work for you, Suki!

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