Thursday, April 15, 2010

happy ides of april...and, finally, an april resolution

I hope all of your tax preparing and submitting has gone well. For the first time, we made a mistake and somehow overlooked sending in two forms. We fill out and send in our tax forms early, though, so we still had everything sent out on time. Now, we're just waiting to hear back; we're hoping we didn't forget any other necessary items.

So, on to my April resolution. Actually, it isn't just for April. It's more of an ongoing project. Ongoing as in it's been going on for almost a decade now. What can we possibly have been working on for such a rather long time? Budgeting. Ah, yes. Fun with money (or, not so much fun with not so much money...something like that).

Over the years, Cardo and I have worked hard to become more responsible with our income. We've definitely earned more in years gone by, but I feel that we're definitely happier right now, even with my continuing struggle with depression brought about, in part, by money woes.

We're much, much better about eating at home, both because that saves us money and because it definitely helps us eat better. (I think we're both much healthier now than we were all those years ago when we got together, back in our heyday of eating out and not really being conscious of what we were even eating.) We buy less, stuff, we reuse a lot of stuff. To quote Yul Brenner's King, "Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." So, we've got a lot of the basics down.

Yet, I still get tense when looking at our finances. I hate filling out the checkbook (and it's so easy not to when we can keep track of our balance online, but I'm still making an effort). And, ah Savings*, o how I miss you. Enough said about Savings (we don't get along all that well).

So, what I'm wondering now is: How do you all budget. What kinds of techniques work for you? I don't mean the very basic, "Don't spend more than you earn," because I get that already. I'm wondering more about specifics (specific techniques, not specifics about your finances).

Also, I'm wondering about cell phones. For those of you who own and use cell phones: Is there anyone who doesn't pay a ridiculous amount of money per month for his or her cell phone plan? We've looked into getting a plan with less minutes (we only once used up our minutes -- we went over and regretted it big time), but it would actually cost us more. I barely use my phone. We still have a landline, so it's not as if getting rid of my cell would leave me with no phone. (We looked into getting rid of the landline once, but we'd pay more for web** connection alone than we do for web and phone.) The thing is, though, that I like to have a cell phone just in case. This might be due to wonderful marketing in that I now believe I need my phone. Hmm***. Anyhow, I know Cardo does not want to be without his phone.

So, I know I just kind of blocked all bits of advice someone might have to offer. I'll probably just have to deal with the costs. Ugh. However, I'm still asking for advice regarding the phone issue and budgeting in general...please and thank you.


*In case you might think I'm doing that random capitalization thing, I'm employing personification here. Just clearing that up.

**As I was lying (laying? I can never, ever remember) awake last night, I was thinking of the old moniker Information Super-Highway and I thought I might begin calling this here interweb the ISH.

***I could get rid of my cell and try using pay phones when I'm out and I need to make a phone call...NOT! A few months back, Pic and I went out for a walk and we were waiting for Cardo to pick us up on his way home from work. I had my cell with me, but my battery died while we were out. I had to get change for a pay phone and then I had to actually find a pay phone (good freaking luck). I finally found a pay phone and it was broken. Pic and I just ended up walking home, but Cardo was none too happy that he wasn't sure where we were and where to pick us up.


Coach J said...

Budget? What's that?

v said...

Ha! Thanks Coach J. Right now, it seems to be something along the lines of mandarins and bagels for dinner.

Anonymous said...

Sounds silly, but on each payday, I take a set amount of cash out to use for fun, be it going out to eat or hanging out with friends or treating myself to something small, or anything like that. I only use that cash to pay for those things, and when it's gone, that's it. It sometimes doesn't work (like the month we went to see Avenue Q, but for the most part, I stick to it.

As for cell phone, I'm on my sister's family plan, so I only pay $15 a month, or thereabouts. Could you convince your parents or other family members to start a family plan with you? This has saved me tons of money, obviously.

v said...

Ms B: Thanks for sharing. I've proposed this to Cardo before and we did this (pull out cash for "fun" spending) exactly once. I definitely think we need to get back to this.

I'll have to check with someone else about the cell thing.