Tuesday, June 1, 2010

House Account Monthly (Month One)

House Account Monthly is a Meme for Prudent Homemakers, which I host on the first of each month. Find out more about it and then come back to read my check-in.

Warning - I did not do very well!

The following are my answers to the check-in:

1. Did you record all your spending this month?


At the end of each day, I gathered my receipts and checkbook to record each entry. Towards the end of the month, I got a little lazy and let the receipts pile up. Finally, I organized them, laid them out in piles (by date) and wrote down each expense in my ledger.

I separated the entries by weeks. My weeks ran from Friday through Thursday. I was able to see exactly how much I spent in a week and compared this with other weeks. Guess what? In the very first week I barely spent any money at all. Big surprise, right? Then I got careless and spent money like there was no tomorrow (smiles). But at least I faithfully wrote it all down!

2. What are your goals for keeping a ledger? (Example - Get out of debt; Get a grip on spending; Teach my children sound financial skills; Be more accountable to my family for my spending, Analyze spending habits, Have a record of our estate, etc.)

My main goal is to seriously cut back on spending. I don't have any debt, other than a small mortgage, but want to build up some savings. I also want to keep a permanent, historical record of our family's spending habits.

3. Do you have a success story to share? (Example - reduced electric bill; paid off a debt; lowered grocery bill; saved for a vacation, etc.) We'd also love to hear your tips and ideas!

I did horribly this month! Looking over the figures, I cannot believe how much I spent. It is shocking. The sad part is, I did it all on purpose. I was fully aware of what I was doing and it didn't seem to bother me until I actually analyzed it.  I spent money because I was in a hurry, or I got the children-take out because of poor planning, or we rented movies when playing games at home would have sufficed.  While I was careful with my regular grocery shopping, I was careless when it came to extra trips to the store for snacks and treats for everyone.   I also bought a few books and other small items I didn't really need. I am going to have to avoid stores like the plague!  

My plan to resolve this problem? I will have to stick to a tight budget. I want to have some savings next month, so this will take sacrifice (no soda for me!), crying (I get depressed when I can't have brownies or chips), and careful planning (sigh).  At the end of next month, I hope to be healthier (because of avoiding the junk food) and richer (with savings)!

4. (Optional) How are your children doing with this? Any cute sayings from them, or progress in their financial education?

Rather than just handing out a dollar here and there, I've asked the children to do extra work around the house for money.  They have been really good about it.

I didn't involve them as much as I would have liked. But they are aware of what I am doing, and I have been showing them my ledger book. 

On a few occasions, I asked Matthew's advice about our finances. He is 17. I showed him my ledger book and explained how much cash I had available. He helped me plan our shopping for a few days. I try to involve the children so they are fully aware of our household goals and budget. They need to see my expenses, like the phone bill, electric bill and mortgage. I want them to understand how much it costs to run a home, and get their input. Children are much more likely to cooperate and keep expenses down when they feel included in the family's overall financial plan.

5. Any helpful resources you've found? (such as a website, link to an article, or book)

Many years ago, I came across a book by Vermont Author, Judith Levine, called "Not Buying it - My year Without Shopping." It chronicles her daily life without spending money, other than basic necessities. It is inspiring, educational and encouraging. [It is a secular book, but wholesome.]

6. Were you able to put aside some savings this month? 

Nothing this month. As a matter of fact, I spent a lot of my savings. Apparently, our regular income was not enough for me. (smiles) But seriously, in my defense, my husband needed a lot of extra money. So it wasn't just me. The *nice* part is, we are both fully aware of how much of our savings we wasted this month.

7. Comments or Thoughts?

When I read books from the 1800's I notice the homemaker is called a "penny pincher" by her servants. Even wealthy women kept a careful watch on waste and consumption in the kitchen. She was on guard and in control of her household. I admire "her" greatly and wish I had the energy and motivation to always stay in control of our household money. I will have to keep working on this.

Now that I've thoroughly depressed you, how did you do last month? Grab the seven question check-in, go write your blog post and then Link- up below. I can't wait to read it!


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Beth West www.northernskyart.wordpress.com said...

Way to go keeping track of everything!!!

You know, some months are just more expensive than others and you should consider whether you spent your $ on important things or indulgences.

If it was mostly on important things, don't feel badly!

Vidal Aponte said...


A tip that I have in order to not be in debt is don't have any credit cards, just 1 debit card. I also don't have any debts, and one of the main reasons is not having credit cards. I pay everything in cash, and if there is something I want but I don't have the money then I wait until I save the money to buy it. I have a debit card for things that you need a credit card for. For example, renting a car but that is it and this has worked for me for years now.

TerriG said...

This meme is great tool. I am having a not so typical month as our family travels, but I am going to attempt this. I have some goals to meet that will take some sacrifice.

Raggy Lady said...

I linked up thru mr Linky how do I find others links?
Excited to learn from others.
Raggy Lady

Mrs. White said...

So far, it looks like you are the second person who has used the Mr. Linky.

To see who has linked up, just click on the Mr. Linky icon and it will take you to another page showing the current two people.

I am sure at least a few more will add theirs over the next few days.

Thank you for participating!

Mrs. White

Michelle said...

Mrs. White,

Although I did not actively participate this month due to family sickness and time crunch issues, I hope to participate in the future, and I'm going to mention this meme on my blog. :)

Polar girl said...

I read this a bit later so I didn't get a chance to start in June but me and hubby will be buying the ledger tomorrow and god willing we will start the monthly ledger on the next payday. Thanks for the idea! Will keep you updated on our progress.

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