We've been trying a "cash budgeting" system for a few months now, and it's going pretty well. That is, it covers our variable expenses. I still use a bank account dedicated to relatively fixed expenses such as rent, utilities, membership dues, and minimum credit card payments. Most of those are paid automatically, pulled directly from the account.
Unfortunately, there are two places where the system falls short. This isn't so much because of any flaw in the idea of cash budgeting, but due to our limited funds.
The first is that we don't have anything left over to pay down the debt besides the aforementioned minimums. I'll be relying on my annual bonus to hack away at that fecking demon.
The second is "unexpected" expenses. We didn't fully account for birthdays or other special occasions and gifts. "Gifts" for us mostly means for the kids (and the increasingly frequent parties they attend), since we don't usually give them otherwise. School lunches we could roll into groceries, so that's not so bad.
However, there are those big ones that hit you now and again. Although we do have a "Car" envelope (cash allotted for each expense goes into an olde-fashioned paper envelope), it builds over time. Over the past week, my front driver-side tire has been angrily grinding under 20MPH. I finally took the day off today to get it into the shop. It's the brakes. And the rusted calipers. And over $600.
We ain't got that much in the envelope.
So, it'll probably go on the credit card we just managed to pay off, with last year's bonus, and I'll try to pay it off again with the two "bonus paychecks" a year direct-deposited into the dedicated bill-paying account.
Oh, and I put about ten bucks on the same card for Star Wars miniatures from Miniature Market in an attempt to find one suitable to represent my scoundrel in our Star Wars Saga campaign. Of course, since these are mostly under a dollar each, I had to buy a dozen or so to avoid paying more for shipping than for the actual merchandise. Maybe I'll post a picture when they get here.
That's not irresponsible spending, is it? $10 for my only hobby?
Back to "working from home" and waiting for the car.