Do You Keep a Budget?

My eyes start to glaze over at just the mention of the word budget, but I am curious to know if some of you actually manage to keep one, and how successfully. My wife and I over the years have tried a few times to keep a formal budget, only to find out that we were already doing a pretty good job managing our money. We do employ the pre-budgeting process of keeping track of our expenses for a certain amount of time, and we go through that exercise every year or so just to get an idea of if we are on the right track.

The Informal Budget

We both do the grocery shopping, at different times, and we like to save money using coupons and buying store brands. We keep a full pantry for when things might get a little scarce, and only eat out occasionally, preferring to cook from scratch at home. We drive used cars that we own, so there are no monthly payments. We paid off our mortgage early, a few years before this recession hit, and we think that was one of the smartest financial decisions we ever made. We didn’t like losing the deduction, but we don’t miss the monthly mortgage payments at all. By keeping track of two years worth of rolling files of our household utilities we can spot any upticks and try to determine what caused them.

So if trying to stay out of debt and watching your expenses equals keeping a budget, I guess we do keep an informal, mostly unspoken kind of budget. How about you? Do you keep a budget, and if so, what kind?

Related Reading:


Don’t Eat Out, Find a New Recipe

Ten Ways to Save Money by Staying Home


  1. I keep a budget in google documents so that I have easy access to it from anywhere. I also track my finances using and since I pay for everything using credit cards (which are paid in full every month) I have up to date tracking without wondering if I am missing a check or cash transaction.

    My budget is not a limiting factor for me, rather it is a means to know that I went a little crazy on eating out last month...or I have saved enough money this month that I can splurge on something nice.

    I say do what works for you and don't get caught up in what other people term as 'budgeting' just make your money work for your situation.

  2. i wish we had a more concrete budget... i've tried but it is hard to do by yourself(at least for me).
    truly i think we make it solely because it's fun to see how little i can spend each week on food, switching to reuseable stuff, etc. the challenge motivates me.

  3. We do keep a written budget. It helps us keep on track. My husband works odd hours so it's a communication device as well. If he puts gas in the car, he notes it. If I buy clothes for the kids, I write it down. We both know what's left in the accounts at any particular time just by looking at the book. We can see if we're keeping up with various expenses, or if we have to make adjustments.

  4. We have a budget but hate the game of rolling money from one line item to another. Our categories are very broad. One category includes groceries, all household items, gifts, baby food/formula and clothing. It's too ridiculous to sit down with each Walmart receipt and have to separate each of those sub categories.

  5. Sounds like everyone has some kind of a system to keep track of their money, whether it is a formal budget or a looser arrangement. I agree that whatever works is the best solution. Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences on the subject.


Agree? Disagree? Questions? Leave a comment!