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3 July 2009

Biggest Kitchen Table - Living Deliberately and Money

Hello everyone, thank you for joining me in this most important monitoring task. I hope that through these simple audits, we'll all be able to look at what we're doing at home and make changes if they are needed. As usual, check the comments here because many of our readers will give you excellent ideas for changes and modifications.

No Spending Week
Tomorrow we'll start a no spending week. If you're in the USA and will be going out to enjoy your Independence Day celebrations, please start your no spending the following day. Everyone please make sure you have enough food on hand to last a week. Hanno bought two litres of local milk for us yesterday, so we will be fine with what we have in the house and in the backyard until the week is up. If you've never spent a week, or any time, when you decided not to spend anything, it might be quite confronting, and if you're tempted to spend, think about your purpose and the life you want to live. Rewards are waiting as long as you can stick with this. If you continue to spend, you're just staying on the same old merry-go-round you've always been on. Try to jump off with the rest of us.

Today's topics are 1. Living Deliberately and 2. Money.

1. Living Deliberately
Living Deliberately can be confusing at first. All it means is that you think about your life, plan the direction you want to go in, then follow your plans. If you want your life to be focused on family and the home you make plans to make that happen. If you want to retire early, work from home or homeschool your children, you plan those things so they happen as part of a planned and careful process, not one that is haphazard and chaotic. Making prudent plans increases your chance of success.

Over the past few decades we have been conned into thinking that we need all manner of products and services to be happy and successful. The problem with buying those products and services is that we have to work more to pay for them. Working more means spending more time away from our families, and almost all the research I've read about what makes the average person happy, tells me that we are made happy by our family and friends. If our family makes us happy, why do we think that spending more time away from them to earn more money to buy products that we don't need will make us happier? It doesn't make sense.

I encourage you to think about your own life. Talk about your hopes for the future with your partner and together, make a plan to create the kind of life you want. Live a life you care about. Don't go along with everyone else - either as a spender, or living a simple life if that is not what you really want. Think, talk, dream, discover, and make a life that reflects you and your values. Remember that your life and aspirations will change as you grow older, plan now for two or three years into the future. And write your plan down on paper so you can monitor how you're progressing. If you don't know what to write down, or if you're new to this, be guided by the list we will follow during our audit but in every stage, think about your own circumstances and hopes and make your list, and then your life, reflect your unique beliefs and needs.

Just Do It
Old post on Living Deliberately

2. Money
Although money is not the most important aspect of a simple life it is the glue that holds it all together. You need to organise you money well - have on hand not too far above what you need to live, nor too far under. If you earn much more than you need, pay off all your debts fast or make some provision to donate or invest your money so it isn't there tempting you to spend it. If you don't earn enough to cover your expenses, cutting back on non essentials, cooking from scratch, gardening and mending may help you make ends meet. I don't want to trivialise anyone's circumstances, but these posts need to be short, so I have to generalise.

Above all else, pay off your debts as soon as you can. You will be rewarded with freedom.

We use the envelope system here and it works very well. We wrote up a budget, and labelled ziplock bags (or envelopes or jars or read Heather's post at the Co-op here) to put in the month's money for that category. We know at a glance how much cash we have for each item and how much is left over. Any money left over at the end of the month is paid into our savings account because we have no debt. If you have debt, it can go towards an extra credit card or mortgage payment. So my envelopes are working as they should, I have no need to change them. I am happy with how we're organising our money.

The envelope system is a very good way of keeping an eye on your money. It's simple, yet effective. But I want to add a way to track and record our money from month to month. I found this free download that I'm quite happy with - Budgetpulse software. So far, it looks very good and it provides money tracking and budgeting tools without linking to your bank account like Mint does. So that is one change for us - using software to track our money and keep records.

We have a pretty good idea of how to handle our money and we are in a phase of life when we don't have a need to add much to what we already own. If you're at a different stage this part of the audit many be difficult for you. Comment on your problems and we, the readers and I, may have some ideas for you. If you use an effective way of handling your money, please share it with us.

These posts on the various aspects of our audit have to be quite short. But I want you to take the ideas here and use the ones you like in your own life. Remember, nothing is set in stone, modify ideas to suit yourself, twist things around, fashion everything to suit YOUR life. There is not only one way of doing this. If there are lots of comments on particular subjects, we can go over them again in other posts after the audit. The main thing now is to start. So let's get moving.

Tomorrow's subject is food.


  1. Starting Sunday we are going to try the no-spend week. We usually set a goal for no-spend days each month and have been quite successful but this this is different as it will be for one straight whole week! But I am going to make sure we are ready.

    Next, we have never used the envelope/baggie system before so we are going to try it. We live pretty simply but every little bit more helps.

    Thanks Rhonda! Have a great day. :)

  2. Okay our No Spend week will start Sunday as well, mostly because my husband leaves on a business trip and I tend to spend ALOT when he is gone. I just made one last trip to the grocery store, the car will be filled up tomorrow and the bills are being paid tonight. It will be such a refreshing week to know that the money I am making will not be spent on random things, but put to use for next months bills. Yay!

    I have tried the envelope system in the past and it worked great for those bills that I am responsible for, as well as the small surprise savings that I am alway working on for things like my husband's birthday present or an extra special gift at Christmas. I used a small plastic reciept folder labled with all the catergories I was using. I just dug it out from the shelf. Just getting ready is such an exciting feeling. :)

  3. I am gearing up for the exercises you suggest as ways of leading a more frugal and sustainable life.
    My daughter and her husband have been using a budget program that was offered in workshops at their church. It is working beautifully for them and since they are working with other young couples they are seeing lots of encouragement among the group members. I think most churches now offer this kind of program.
    L and B have both lived very responsible lives and have paid off school debt and vehicles and have no credit debt...the only thing they are paying off now is their home. They plan to start their own family now and are so happy to begin with no debt.
    I hope to gain much from your information.

  4. Going to talk to DH tonight and we will come up with our plan. We will probably start ours on Sunday and through that week. Love the enveopes Heather made!!! May have to give that a shot for a fun twist to this!

    Thanks again Rhonda...this is so timely!!

    Debbie :)
    central Illinois

  5. I'm in if thats okay? I am doing my food shopping tomorrow so that is my grocerys for the week. The only thing I will spend is my pescription which I have to pick up on Tuesday which there is no way around that.

    Thank you so much for your blog you give your time to help others and I think that is amazing. Thank You

  6. Thanks for this first step Rhonda.
    We've just been to the supermarket to do the grocery shopping.
    I hope I don't have to open my wallet this week!


  7. Rhonda,

    I am going to talk to Marc tonight about the no spend week.

    I am also going to try the baggie system...we have never tried this and believe me we need help in this area. After the bills get paid we then have no idea where the other money goes...eating out, gas, groceries, and fun?

    Do you have a certain amount taken out for savings first? I don't like putting just what is left in savings? How about Christmas accounts, Vacation accounts, any other ideas?

    Thanks again!!!!!


  8. It really good to see you all starting up or planning to start soon. I think it is always empowering to do an audit like this. You feel like you're in control and that almost anything is possible.

    ithinkican, it's great to hear of other young couples working towards a positive future.

    Renee, we give each other $40 a month as spending money and as we have a good savings account, we just build it with our leftovers - we always have them. We very rarely go on vacation and we often make our gifts, so money is just needed for craft supplies which often comes from my pocket money or from our savings. But please, I encourage you to work out your own categories, make sure you cover everything that you currently spend, and include that in your budget. Review your envelopes after your first, second, third and sixth month to make sure you modify your envelopes and budget to suit your needs.

  9. I love the concept of a no spending week. I want to participate in that one. Lately, I have had to cut back out of necessity. But I'm amazed as I think of all the money I spent for things I HAD to have and they no longer are important after all. It's a good lesson. I also want to be debt free. Thank you Rhonda for posting on this topic.

  10. I already only go to the store once a week for our food.The only times I end up going back is for milk (Ah Teenagers and their milk) I find this keeps us from buying those extras we don't need.
    I do like the envelope idea and heard of it before.I think we could modify it by only leaving our bill money in the bank and all the rest into envelopes.
    One tip I'll pass along to other parents who's kids get an allowance,Our boys get paid their allowances on our pay days.We feel it teaches them to budget their money and then its done and over with so I don't have to think about it for another two weeks.Sometimes they run out but it has them figuring out how to earn the extra money they want.
    Beaverton Oregon

  11. I have just finish a no spend week, and I am going to try and stretch it out for two. Although I may have to get milk, but with two UHT liters in the pantry it may just work.

  12. We used the envelope system early in our married life. It worked well, but we rarely could manage to make deposits in our savings account. It seems we would spend cash on hand for less important things.
    But now, we're older and have paid off all our debts and continue to save for emergencies and those special goals. We have checks direct deposited to a bank account. Bills (utilities, medical, insurance, etc) are automatically debited from that account. When we have extra funds at the end of the month, these are automatically transfered to a savings account. If we need to hold the higher account balance (ex. for medical expenses upcoming) we can electronically cancel the transfer.
    We have learned to handle banking transactions all on line and can call up our spending history and current account info with our computer and it has made everything easier.
    We're looking forward to picking up new hints and habits from all of you. Good luck guys!

  13. Hi Rhonda, Scott Pape, Australian author of The Barefoot Investor and his website also recommends the envelope system as a great way to handle money as part of the budgeting process.

  14. It is a thrill to do the no spend thing however this last week we spent so very little I may need a bit for a luncheon out with the girls.

    We are using the Dave Ramsey system

    We use a zero balance budget spread sheet.

    We start out wit the income and then the essentials of house pmt and bills, transportation in that category we save for the auto insurance and pay it quarterly
    Then we have medical and Rx, here I have gone to mail for the 3 months for the price of one co pay, all meds are then used in this way so that they are scheduled and we know when we need to reorder. We set aside a copay per family member

    then as the totals drop we see what we have left if a bill is due that is covered.

    Off the top we set aside our life insurance pmts divided by 12 so that is is there when we need it.

    we have a spot for everything

    I do not have a blank to show you but will try to create one. So every penny is assigned a spot in the apx collom.
    Then as the month proceeds we review weekly adding actual to the actualized column

    we have paid off all debt except the house by prioritizing those sheets to do so. Now just the house is left.

    We are basing our expenditures on the lowest 40 work weeks.
    If overtime we will save of pay unexpected

    any bimonthly or quarterly or yearly bill we set aside the amount divided by 12 so it is there when we need it.

    If we then have a month where we have more than we need it will cover the items like clothing or shoes and such.

  15. I went out and bought our Groceries this week, paid the bills and have every thing all set up for this. We are actually going to do a no spend two weeks, partly out of necessity.

    Anyhow :) Thanks for the company and encouragement. It is always easier to do this together. Btw, I blogged about how we do grocery shopping here about 50 % of the time. In the Canadian winter I wouldn't dare take my children out on the bikes!

  16. You are as always an inspiiration. We have no debt but need to think ahead to what we want our life to be at the next stage of life and make sure all legal and basic things are taken care of. I often think of the words to the song "Happy Talk" from the musical South Pacific. They go like this: Happy talk keep talken happy talk. Talk about things you want to do. You've got to have a dream. You've got to have a dream. How you gonna have a dream come true? If you don't happy...if you never have a dream....then how you gona have a dream come ture? .. Here you talk about the goals and working steps towards those dreams. If you never start you won't get to where you want to go. Sometimes life makes us change plans but to have a goal, a dream to work towards is a good way to move forward. You said it so well. Once that dream is accomplished as best it can be, set another as life is ever changing and way too short. Live the life you and your husband want to live...not someone elses. I am looking sooo forward to reading the other comments. Jody

  17. I had never heard of the envelope system untill you wrote about it awhile back... I now use this for our household bills....I have started my no spending week today..I am looking forward to your discusions and also linking to others who are on this challenge..

  18. We use an electronic 'envelope' system, basically in our internet bank acct we have set up a payment every week for regular expenses. eg electricity, gas, council rates etc.

  19. Turns out this is going to be a real challenge for me. It would be fine if I were at home, but I'm staying with my boyfriend right now, and his place is nowhere near set up for this, like mine is. I've started picking up some sale things here and there for the cupboard, and I'm going to do my best, but this could be an interesting exercise.

  20. We're all ready to go. I did my fortnightly shop and picked up fresh grocery supplies yesterday.

    Your envelope system is EXACTLY how my hubby and I started saving when we married, 15 years ago. It works so well!!

    Now I've made our method a little more complicated with Excel spreadsheets for goal setting and recording (because we're trying to renovate our house), but the basics come from setting aside a certain amount and never going over it.

    I'll share some of what I do now on my blog when I get time this afternoon. :)

  21. Hi Rhonda
    The living deliberately has really got me thinking. I have so many goals and dreams but none written down and very few ever achieved. I think this will be my task for the week to create a real living goals and dreams display so I can see where my family and I are going and use it as our incentive to keep that extra money in the bank.
    Thanks again for your wonderful posts, I even have my mum reading them now (you two look so alike its uncanny).

  22. Hello Rhonda, this came just in time for us, as my husband will retire soon and we have to think about how and where we want to live then. As we have family visiting over the weekend, I will start No Spend Week on monday. Btw, can you believe that I have kept track of our income and spending for more than 30 years now? It is always fun to see how the prices and wages were so long ago.

  23. I went to town today as had to get some rice for the dog food plus some milk. Also bought a large pot to plant asparagus in as our back yard does not lend itself to a dedicated bed for asparagus. But I am ready to go tomorrow. Have to travel to the city but because I am on a pension don't have to pay for the train so no spending all the way.
    Have done a $21 or less spend week and managed to only spend $10 and that was for milk and fruit, but this time I am not going to spend anything. Thanks for this Rhonda.

  24. I am just wondering if most people leave big life changes until their children are grown up, we do what we can towards simplicity with chooks, worm farm, veggie garden, composting etc and I really enjoy it but my kids have no real interest. My husband and i would love to move to a larger plot which would mean moving quite far to be able to afford it and of course probably take on more debt but the kids would freak, we would be looking at many years before they are off our hands and we are not young parents. Is it selfish to want this? we are happy enough as we are but of course we all have our dreams....

  25. Count us in. We raised our children using the envelope system. It was such a relief when they would ask for something (such as a treat eating out) and I'd only have to say, "let me check the envelope, oh, sorry ... it's empty right now" :) They never whined nor complained about things this way. Hubby and I are up to the challenge. We have very little debt ... just a small mortgage that is on the fast track to be paid off in four years. Hubby retired at age 57 with a good pension ... and is back to work a few more years at a slower paced job. We shop once a month for groceries and a few fill in trips for fruit. Today was shopping day ... so we're all set. I'm going to steer my newly married daughter over here as this very topic has been weighing heavy on my heart about her $ situation.

    Thanks for organizing this.

  26. I said I was in and I'd like to try a no-spend week, but I'm afraid it just isn't going to happen right now. We leave on vacation in a week and we haven't planned out our food needs, yet. But more than that, we're making plans to move and next week we'll probably have to spend over 5K (ouch!) getting a drainage problem fixed before we can sell our house.

    We use a budget book to organize how we spend our money. I have columns for everything and we make sure our income is greater than our expenses so we're always saving something. I used to be a bookkeeper, so I don't mind the tediousness of our system.

  27. Thanks Rhonda, and I'm glad your son's wedding went so beautifully!

    I've started using the envelope system again, and have a money bag for food, emergency (which usually ends up spent by the end of the month - I'm learning!), garden items (seeds, plants, tools, usually builds up), toiletries (thanks to you this is down to £5 a month, and often doesn't get spent!)

    I think I posted a comment a few weeks ago about wanting to give up work and have August and September off... Well, I handed in my notice on Monday!! This is partly thanks to you, giving confidence that what I was doing was right, and encouragement, and helping me keep an eye on my money!

    Actually, boss wanted to 'negotiate' as I am a good, reliable worker, and she is having a bit of trouble with others being sick or on holiday or unreliable over the summer...

    Our negotiation is that I finish in 2 weeks (hooray!) rather than 4, she has someone else who will work my hours for the summer, and I take unpaid leave until after my PhD is written (which should be a lot quicker if I'm not working 20 hours a week too!). I can then go back in the autumn, or hand in notice properly. She knows I'm looking for another job which is more related to what I do. It's good to have the security of something to go back to! Although I would have left without that, as I had planned money enough to get me through for a couple of months.

    Anyway, sorry, long comment, but I think I just meant to say, when you're auditing your life and goals, leave a little room open for the unexpected - it might actually work out more positively than you could imagine!

    Oh, and since it's so early here (6.30am!), and I have nobody else to talk to about it other than my mother, lol, can I tell you that my third nephew was born this morning?? 6lb 14, and 5 weeks early, so rather unexpected! Poor sister is still in hospital with baby, since it was so early, but both are healthy, and the other two boys (well, the older one at least!) are very excited about having another brother!

    You're right, family IS one of the most important things :)

    Thanks Rhonda :)


  28. Rois, our boys loved their milk too.

    Angela, good luck with your two weeks of no spending. Do you use powdered milk at all. I use it in my cooking.

    Judie, I love online banking too. It's easy and convenient and as you said, you can see your balances whenever you need to.

    Songbirdy, I loved my visit to your blog. Your bike and trailer are fantastic! Good luck with your two weeks of no spending.

    Jenn, I hope you find a way of doing this at your boyfriend's home. Good luck, love.

    Hilde, I bet you notice a huge difference in most things over those 30 years.

    Pat, I wish our trains were free for pensioners. I live in hope. Good luck with your no spending.

    Di, it's not selfish to want something you know would benefit your entire family From my observations, I believe children who grow up removed from the common spending in most Western countries, live simply without missing all the must haves. Children whose families move towards this way of living having known a more materialistic life, tend to miss what their friends have. Maybe a solution for you would be to simplify your shopping, cooking, cleaning and mending to start with. Then slowly move towards the things that effect the children later. Good luck.

    Mrs Mac, I hope your daughter picks up a few tips here and is encouraged by the discussion.

  29. Oh Daffy, what a fine, fine comment. I'm so pleased and really proud of you. Your negotiations resulted in a good outcome, that's a nice bit of security if you need it. And congratulations on being an aunt again. Five weeks early! Wow. I hope your sister is up and about soon and that you and your family enjoy your new bundle. I send you warm hugs.

  30. I want in too. I am so going to try. I do have something already planned on the 8th but I can prepare for that today and tomorrow so I will start Sunday. I have to tell my friends so they can help me. Our society here does customary obligations on the weekend though so that makes things harder to prioritize what needs to get paid before Sunday but I will try very hard. Wish me luck! I wish luck to everyone else but it seems like most who read your blog are on the ball so I am the one who will need all the luck!

  31. I have been reading the comments with interest, keeping a budget is one of our downfalls. Although DH has him accounting system on the computer and know where all the money goes we don't have a system for allocating money to different areas. This is going to be our goal to sort this out.
    No spend week will start tomorrow as I need to pick up my meds and some milk today.

    Thanks Rhonda for all your effort on our behalf.


  32. Aunty Bee, good luck. I hope it all falls into place for you. I'm interested in your customary obligations. Would you care to explain that?

    Hi Pippa, good luck!

  33. I'd just like to say how much I agree with those who have already recommended involving children in making and sticking to a budget. When our children were growing up my husband got paid every three months - which calls for some serious budgeting! Each of us had a personal allowance to cover clothes, fares and any personal things like books. When the children were very small I administered their allowance for them but very gradually they had more and more involvement, until by their early teens they were in charge of their whole allowance, paid quarterly. As a result it was always obvious to them that "when it's gone it's gone", and now as adults they continue to budget well and to live successfully on limited resources. I am particularly proud of the fact that they both put having fulfilling jobs ahead of high earnings.


  34. My parents used the envelope system back in the mid-60s so they could budget their money. It worked for them.

    My husband and I debt-free but we still budget. Although we don't use an envelope system, we do have specific money set aside. Extra savings are taken out of his wages right off the top. That money is taken automatically so that my yearly retirement IRA can be paid up-front. We contribute the maximum to my IRA for retirement because it is one of our only tax-deductions ($6,000/year means $500 taken out each month). At the end of the year, we have the full $6K for my IRA contribution.

    You will not miss what you do not have.

    I will be starting tomorrow. We are Americans but do not travel into crowds to celebrate the 4th of July.

  35. I clicked on and read you earlier post on living deliberately and found it a helpful springboard for thought. I knew already that I have a lot of things around me that are reflective of past goals. There are too many things I've thought of doing. The hard part is choosing what I really want to do.

  36. HI Rhonda,

    I'm in for the No Spend week and simple home audit. I posted about living deliberately & money on my blog if you care to take a peek at it.

  37. Can we join in, please?

    Can't start until the 7th, though.

    Your blog is wonderfully calming and one of my favourites:o)

    I have a really low income so I could do with all the help I can get. We face so many hassles in life and some are so unnecessary. I home educate my young daughter so this will be a great project for her (and me) and such an important life skill. I want her to grow up to enjoy the freedom of being debt-free so she can live as she chooses. She is not greedy and has a kind heart... and loves her pets dearly (Maybe she'll be a vet or run an animal sanctuary when she's older? lol ) We're always trying to feed them the best we can as cheaply as possible. Never occurred to me to make our own. I wonder if they would like your home made pet food recipe? Shall have a go with that. This is one area we could do with spending less. And public's so expensive in the UK, but we need it to get out and about, for shopping,etc. So, I'd like to save up for a small car.

    We've already started with the planting of fruit and veg in the garden and may even get a couple of hens later on in the summer for eggs. Daughter wants to learn how to make her own beauty products, like lip balm, etc, and I'm going to make soap again. I want a life for us that is at our pace and not the rat race's.

    I've never heard of the envelope system.

    I'm looking forward to this:o) Sorry for rambling. xx

  38. I use an envelope system on the computer called Budget by Snowmint Creative Solutions. It's easy to use, inexpensive to buy, has free upgrades for life and even has cute little envelope icons. They versions for both PC and Mac, and have great customer service.

  39. Dear Rhonda,

    thank you so much for the first tips en tricks. I really want to join your way of living, although we are already one little step in that direction.

    What I really want to say is THANK YOU! I hope we can make it to the end ;-)

  40. I have posted our process of zero balance budget.

  41. No spending weeks is something I can't participate in. We've tried it before and end up spending more money.

    Knowing there's a "no spending" period approaching I always end up buying more on my last shop to stock up. Then after I get through the no spending period, buy even more on my following shop.

    I put this down to the fact we're a young family and what you plan to eat in a week or more, can fluctuate. I also have a condition which is assisted through diet, so food is viewed as essential, not a luxury which can be cut back on.

    So with this in mind, the "no spend week" brings the hoarder out in me, which must plan for all contingences. We end up spending more than if we'd just been sensible every week with what we spend.

    I'm actually having several no spend weeks, but it's done on non essentials like building projects or plants. For example, now is the perfect time for planting out more fruit trees, but we've deliberately held back from going out and buying any.

    We'd dearly love more fruit trees as we only have citrus and a mango. Instead of hitting the nurseries though, we're planting seeds that come in the fruit we buy now.

    I have serveral building projects which need materials to complete also, but we're not spending there either. Instead we're looking at the junk we've put aside "for later" and see if we can't modify it to be a temporary solution.

    Things like using thick branches or sappling trees for stakes in the garden. We'd much prefer star pickets because they're resistent to termites, but they are expensive to buy. We can make do with the free supply of sappling trees on our land though. It's one of the temporary but often cheaper solutions.

    A friend also gave me some of her striped beetroot and sweet potatoes to eat. I've kept the small ones to plant out again. I'm hoping the beetroot will re-shoot, so I can collect the seed and grow more of that variety I don't have.

    Anyway, I think if you're used to consuming or just have plain bad habits to deal with, sometimes living deliberately doesn't always mean going cold-turkey. It won't work if you haven't dealt with the behaviour which drives you to consume thoughtlessley.

    Like a smoker giving up cigarettes, you have to have something else to chew or otherwise appease the nerves of withdrawal. I hate to say it but I'm a habitual gardener. Although gardening is good on so many levels, it's not good when you don't limit your spending on it.

    So sometimes the longer term solutions are to find less damaging ones overall. And always be honest about what you CAN afford, not what you would dearly love to buy.

  42. Thank you so much for this post! I definitely need this as too much money goes to trivial things, and I know so much is getting wasted. Thank you for the inspiration! Will be starting on Sunday, after we do groceries on Saturday! :D Thanks again!

  43. Can't get the family to join in no spend week but I will give it a go.

    Colette UK

  44. We're going to try a no-spending week starting on Sunday. DH says, "WHY NOT!" you're challenge is very timely, as usual, I've been posting about our approach to budgeting lately, too!

  45. I have to admit Money is not my favourite topic. It's not that I am a big spender - far from it. I just don't pay it the attention it deserves. It comes in ... it goes out.

    But I am forcing myself to look at how I spend money and trying to develop different ways to save it. I have have set myself some tasks to complete such as developing a budget!!

    Thanks for giving me a much needed 'prod' Rhonda. :)

  46. I just love this idea! We will start our no spend week on Sunday because Saturday is the holiday and our daughter's birthday.

  47. I am looking forward to participating on the audit but I'm going to do my no-spending week in the week following this (starting Monday 13th July).

    My 30th birthday falls next week and with a few different celebrations planned it is inevitable spending will happen so rather than feeling disappointment with myself at not being able to pull through a week, I'd rather do the no-spending week at a time I know I'm not setting myself up to 'fail'.

    I'm excited about seeing what's to come in the audit!

  48. Thank you so much for the link to BudgetPulse software, it is EXACTLY what i have been looking for.
    I have previously tried a manual budget spreadsheet which really helped me see when regular bills were due in the future but was quite fiddly to update. In hindsight I think I tried to make it too detailed with too many specific categories. It was a useful learning experience though.
    I also tried the trial version of Microsoft Money but was concerned about the way it links to your bank accounts, and found it too complex for what i wanted.

    I would love to join you in the No Spend Week, however i just feel it is not the right time for us to do this. I have recently had an operation and my partner is still doing a fair portion of my usual household tasks, i don't want to make things more awkward for him than they need to be.
    We will instead be starting our No Spend Week on 20th.

  49. I think the most important tip for someone just getting started on a budget or envelope system is to MAKE SURE and have a "mad money" envelope or fund. Maybe its just $20 a paycheck, but it is something. This helps when you are making the transition. So if you are a Starbucks junkie or something like that, you know you can squeeze in one without touching any of your other envies. Also, if a friend you are used to seeing invites you to lunch, you can do it once. Not having a little pocket money is the thing I've seen kill most budgets.

  50. We finally made the move to the country and it's spurred me to make more deliberate shopping decisions. I only shop fortnightly. We have a family of 8 so I buy 16 loaves of bread & 24ltrs of milk and freeze it in the deep freeze. By not having to go to the store each day we are able to use our money more wisely. and by doing it this way we're saving around $100 a week. And it's a comfort to know that there's 2 weeks of supplies on hand.


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