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Old 10-23-2007, 09:07 PM   #61
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I knew that was coming. Next up: "when did you stop beating your wife?"
Well?
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Old 10-23-2007, 09:15 PM   #62
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We have a monthly target budget, but month to month, it varies considerably, the total and by category (kid activities, paying for car insurance one month and not the next, etc.)

I only started tracking carefully last summer and figure that over the course of the year, it evens out - that is how I set my monthly target budget. The big stuff we agree upon, and most of the little stuff too.
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Old 10-23-2007, 10:00 PM   #63
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So, the take-home message is that nobody really sets, tracks or enforces their budgets?
No...... everybody is setting and tracking budgets...... with no or little "enforcement" necessary.

If you need "enforcement" in order to follow your own plan, you have a personal problem with self-discipline in regard to spending. That's a hard one to help you with with just a few words of advise.
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Old 10-23-2007, 10:44 PM   #64
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The pension goes into my checking account on the first of the month.

Recurring payments are automatic, groceries go on CC; about the 20th of the month I see what is left over after paying CC and any additional costs (dentist, veterinarian, plumber...), buy a thing or two on wish list if funds are available; on next to last day of month, transfer everything over $10 to MMA.

Usually in December I transfer some back to checking to cover charitable checks.

As long as outgoing is less than incoming I don't worry about the details, though I do track everything.
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Old 10-23-2007, 10:53 PM   #65
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If you need "enforcement" in order to follow your own plan, you have a personal problem with self-discipline in regard to spending. That's a hard one to help you with, with just a few words of advice.
Exactly right.
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:11 PM   #66
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We can't completely let go of the cards though due to the convenience items you mentioned. So rather than a "gold standard" we have implemented a "cash standard" if you want to make a charge go for it as long as you have enough money in the envelope gas? adult clothes? kids clothes? etc... once you make the charge move that amount of cash out of that envelope to the spent on credit envelope which is the base we use to start next weeks cash disbursements. No spreadsheets or calculations if you can count currency you can stay within the budget.
Thanks! This is my favorite idea so far!

You wouldn't even have to implement this with real cash -- we could use monopoly money. For us, it's really just a matter of tracking. It's much easier to keep to a budget if you have a real-time handle on where you are in the budget.

For those who feel they need to scold me for my spendthrift ways, I appreciate it. I understand the discipline required, and the ethic of self-sacrifice in order to reach your long-term goals.

But we're living waaay below our means. I like a simple lifestyle, but we still indulge in certain vices. And we're loving it!
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:32 PM   #67
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We're living waaay below our means ... but we still indulge in certain vices. And we're loving it!
Sure. I hear that. Good for you, well done.

But given the above points, this thread has been a complete waste of time. Clearly you don't have a problem, and you don't require advice.
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:37 PM   #68
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Sure. I hear that. Good for you, well done.

But given the above points, this thread has been a complete waste of time. Clearly you don't have a problem, and you don't require advice.
Huh? Are budgets only for savers? Doesn't your company have a budget?

We want to put an envelope around certain activities. We look at historical spending, and we say "let's try to keep this within this range +/- X%."

I asked how people checked themselves against their budgetary goals. Got some great answers. Stuff I imagine we can all use even if we have different motivations. Sorry if you felt this was a wasted thread, but I thought there was some excellent advice.
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:48 PM   #69
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Sure. I hear that. Good for you, well done.

But given the above points, this thread has been a complete waste of time. Clearly you don't have a problem, and you don't require advice.
Are you out of a Hawthorne novel?

Ha
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:51 PM   #70
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OK, everyone. Relax and return to the topic of the thread. Or don't post.
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:05 AM   #71
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Have never made up a budget and doubt I could enforce it if I tried.

Me: Hi dear! Guess what I developed a budget so that we can LBYM!
DW: I DON'T NEED NO STINKING BUDGET! I MAKE $XXX/year AND I'LL SPEND IT AS I DARN WELL PLEASE!

I go about it from the opposite direction. First both 401ks are maxed out. DW also maxs out her employee stock plan. Automatic investments are made monthly into the kids 529s plans. Finally automatic after tax investments also go into various funds. This totals to a substantial fraction of our gross income. I figure that if we are doing ok on the investment side then the spending side is also ok. I guess this is the pay yourself first idea.

After R we may have to focus more on the spending side but for now I comfortable with it.

We are fortunate enough that for the most part we both seem to naturally LBYM. (DW does spend her money the way she wants but she spends a lot less than she makes so that is fine.)

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Old 10-24-2007, 12:09 AM   #72
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Relax and return to the topic of the thread. Or don't post.
Mod, I thought we allowed off-topic tangets per the new community guidelines.

I think Milton has an interesting point. There are a lot of LBYM types here who might conclude that self-discipline and self-sacrifice is their turf. Budgets are only for goals that get you closer to ER.

But once you're ER, and the market has been good to you, what then? Throw discipline out the window? Shop till you drop?

In theory, we could party a bit more I suppose, but that's not us. One of the reasons for us to keep a budget is to keep us from drifting into a different lifestyle with different expectations and perhaps even a different ethic.

In fact, since the "pay yourself first" idea works so well for savers, one could even argue that a budget is more important for ERs than for wanna-be-ERs.
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:57 AM   #73
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One of the reasons for us to keep a budget is to keep us from drifting into a different lifestyle with different expectations and perhaps even a different ethic.
This is heretical, but maybe you have too much money? Time to ramp up a gifting program?
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:11 AM   #74
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This is heretical, but maybe you have too much money? Time to ramp up a gifting program?
Yes, giving away a lot of money would definitely instill much more budget discipline at the Twaddle household, and yes, it is heretical.

With a potential retirement of 50 years (or even 80 years if we get really "lucky"), I want the fattest safety margin I can get. So, it's not just a love for an ascetic lifestyle that drives the budget. We have a lot of wiggle room, but we still want some budgetary discipline.

I'll let our 4-year-old deal with the gifting program when she's a little older.
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Old 10-24-2007, 04:28 AM   #75
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I don't see why you just don't use ONE cc account with 2 names for online purchases if that's where spending is getting out of hand. Download the statements into Quicken. Establish a credit limit for the cc if necessary. At least you will see it all in one place on one statement.

Use cash or a checking debit card for gas, food, clothes and other everday stuff. Don't buy any of that on credit even if you have low rates or pay off the cards each month. Limit what's in the checking account since that's what folks usually do anyway, keeping the rest in savings or MM or brokerage. You can't spend "out-of-pocket" what's not in the checking account.

Isn't this just psychologically simpler? Who wants to track a whole series of CCs? Cut 'em up and pay 'em off. All you need are 2 cards: 1 credit, 1 debit.
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:42 AM   #76
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If impulse purchasing is your problem, why not install a new habit:
When you (or DW) have the urge to buy something online, make a note on the item and the website and put it away for one week. If after that week the desire is still there and the money is there, too, go ahead.
I find that often I have forgotten after one week why I wanted the item in the first place.
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:57 AM   #77
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But given the above points, this thread has been a complete waste of time. Clearly you don't have a problem, and you don't require advice.
twad·dle (twdl)
intr.v. twad·dled, twad·dling, twad·dles
To talk foolishly; prate.
n.
Foolish, trivial, or idle talk or chatter.

I think I can reformulate the problem statement:

"We're really rich and cant reasonably spend all the money we have, but my wife is attempting to try and spend up to our means. I dont like it but rather than have a conversation about it and work it out, I'd like to try to put some sort of passive-aggressive mechanism in place to artificially control her spending without coming off like the bad guy".
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:06 PM   #78
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CFB, don't hate me just because I'm richer than you. And better looking than you. And smarter than you.

As I've said, DW and I discussed this, and she's willing to work within a budget, but we're looking for a simple mechanism to track and keep on the budget.

BTW, I like the "cash as a tracking token" idea because it can be easily applied to all budget line items, not just online purchases.
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:41 PM   #79
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Yeah but my wife doesnt spend like a drunken sailor, and if she did I wouldnt be afraid to have a frank discussion with her about it.

And you're oh for three on the other counts. Heck I'm even smarter than John Galt! Plus you've got really hairy knuckles and short stubby little fingers.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:54 PM   #80
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[In case anybody was wondering, this is part of an ongoing diatribe by CFB. He likes to score points in debates, and so far his score isn't looking that good. So, he holds a grudge against several posters here. But at least he isn't sulking anymore, and he's back from his pathetic little ER-status-forum site. So, this is actually a big improvement!]

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