Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The news we've been waiting for...

After a year and a half of waiting we finally received a notice in the mail today that Kevin's claim for permanent disability has been granted! We are praising our God for His mercy!  We also want to thank those of you who have said you were praying for us.  It's hard to believe this test of faith is finally over.  God's grace has been amazing! God's provision for us during this time has been equally as amazing. Kevin has not worked since October of 2009 yet the Lord has provided a roof over our head and more food than we need along with clothing and so much more. I'm in awe and I want to bless the glorious name of Jesus Christ who has made peace between God and me! 

"Stand up and bless the Lord your God
Forever and ever!

Blessed be Your glorious name,
Which is exalted above all blessing and praise!

 You alone are the Lord;

You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all.
The host of heaven worships You." * 
Nehemiah 9:5-6

... and so do I!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Envelope Method

There was a time in my life when I didn't stick to a budget. Money came easy and I bought what I wanted when I went to the store.  I had an 'estimate' of what I targeted for birthday money and I tried to find the best deal but I basically just bought what I thought we needed at the grocery store and left it at that.

Them days are gone! *SMILE*

Enter the "Envelope Method"! My ears had heard but my eyes had not seen this method in practice so I had a bit to learn but I'm here to say that it's keeping me on track with my narrow budget and I'd like to rave about it.

It became necessary to make out a strict budget when our income dropped nearly half. I used a pre-made budget template on my computer from the Microsoft Works Word Processor program. I love this program. You enter your income and all your bills and at the bottom of the page it shows what you have left.

When my paychecks come in I have the bank teller cash them in small amounts so I can divide them easily into the different envelopes according to my budget plan. I only use the envelopes for the following areas:

- Gifts
- Dentist
- Allowance
- Grocery
- Entertainment
- Savings
- Taxes

I leave the rest of the money in the bank to pay bills that need to be written with a check or paid online.

This is how it works. Say for instance I need to go grocery shopping. I've learned by trial and error to divide the money for groceries into the weeks of that month otherwise I overspend at the beginning of the month and have nothing left at the end. I only take out the amount of money I need for that week.. no more unless there is a terrific 'stock up' deal and then I only take $10 extra.

I also have a plastic 'wallet' I found at the Dollar Tree that has individual compartments with tabs. It reminds me of a coupon wallet. I've labeled each tab to match my envelopes. Once I take the money from the envelopes I place it in the marked compartment. This way I don't end up mixing the money from the different categories once they leave the envelopes. 

It's really very simple and it has helped me stay within my $200 a month grocery budget.

I'd really like to hear what budget program you use on your computer or free online. I'm needing to download one to my laptop.  How do you stay within your budget?