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Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Money Gone?

Mar 24, 2008
Oh Where, Oh Where Has my Money Gone?
Oh where, oh where can it be?
It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb
I scrimp and I save whenever I can
But my money's still gone and I need it again
Oh where, oh where can it be?

As stay at home moms, one of our greatest responsibilities is money management. It is not a subject most of us would like to talk about.

But the fact remains that choosing to survive on one income means that we must be very conscious of every single dollar that goes out of our pockets.

Yes, its time to talk about budgeting, or, more accurately, where it is your money is going.

What kind of budget are you using in your home? If you are like most of us, the answer is none. That needs to change, now.

Having a budget does not need to be restrictive, intrusive, or even expensive. You can write any sort of spending you want into your budget.

Before you can accurately put together a budget, you need to know where your money is going. Take a month to monitor it.

Carry a little spiral bound book with you, and make sure you give one to your husband as well. Each time you spend, whether its 35cents for a newspaper or its $100 at the grocery store, make a note of it in your book. Jot down the date, amount, and what the purchase was.

Don't try to curb your spending at this point. It is mainly important that you get an accurate accounting of your expenses. Though I will say, having to write it all down is an excellent way of getting you to spend less right off the bat!

After a full month has gone by, take the notebooks and compile a list of your spending. You may want to do this for a month or two if you felt like the particular month you started this in was an irregular month.

Put your spending into different categories. Somethings, like housing, fuel, and utilities are expenses you will have each month that you cannot change. But other expenses, like dining out, entertainment, snacks and even your food bill can be trimmed.

This exercise is very important. When you take the time to truly examine just what it is that you are spending your hard earned cash on, it can be both enlightening and frightening at the same time.

For instance, we found that my husband was spending almost $40 a month on coffee in the morning at his favorite gas station. $40 a month!

For me, it was bottled water ($2 each) at the gym three times a week. That works out to be over $300 a year.

By eliminating just those two simple expenses, we were able to add almost $800 a year to our savings account. This did not take into account the spending we were doing on the kids; toys at the checkout line, snacks at ballet practice, dollars here and there for video games.

The discretionary spending fund can eat away at your wallet.

After finding out where your money is going, you will be more open to a budget. You don't have to take all the fat out of your money diet, but just trim it back a little, and prepare to be amazed.
About the Author
Rayven Perkins is an expert at saving money at home. She has spent 7 years finding and implementing unique cost-cutting tips that allow her family to live comfortably as a one-income family. Her site http://www.stay-a-stay-at-home-mom.com examines resources and tips on Reducing Expenses, Stretching Your Dollar, and Supplementing Income in order to stay a SAHM
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