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I use a combination of Microsoft Money and Excel. However, I don't have an actual budget. I use, what I consider, reverse budgeting. My tithes and retirement savings are deducted off the top automatically. I also have a "car fund" (to be used for any maintenance, etc. and eventually a down payment for a future car) and "fun fund" (for gifts and travel). After that, I pay any necessary bills. Whatever is left is mine to spend however I like. Sometimes that may be clothes or household items, sometimes I put extra toward miscellaneous savings or the mortgage.

I use mint.com - always remember to click "update" on your accounts before you check it because it's a little slow. But I like it a lot for the charts and graphs. It doesn't replace checking your account...but it's debt to income ratio is great, and I like to do the month to month comparisons.

Re: the candle. Sounds amazing. I don't know if I could shell out $27 right now in our current state of debt...but there were times I would have. I think that's the whole point of brands...they develop characteristics for products, and then we choose which ones are "meant" for us. For some it's candles. (versus buying the brand name for everything)

Hey Frugalista,
I don't use any software to manage my money. I just take out the amount needed each week to cover my bills (my bills only come once a month though) then I take out enough to get myself through the work week. I actually take out enough to get myself through to the next payday. I am especially excited when the new pay day comes around and I still have money from the last pay day (when this happens I just bank the new check). After I have put a good amount in savings, and my bills are paid I consider that money mics.

Oh and yes I would get the candle if it makes me happy.

I don't use any budgeting software (although people do rave about mint and YNAB). I know what needs to be paid. My husband and I each get an allowance every week for 'stuff'. So the candle would fall under 'stuff' and would have to come out of my allowance.....therefore it would have to be a miracle candle for me to spend a week's allowance on it!

Personally, I have $100 a week for food and gasoline. Anything left over is free to save or splurge.

But, I'm also looking for a part time job, so that I can have a cushion for car repairs, etc, and to help pay off debt.

The candle's really neat, but I'd see if the scented oil and bamboo sticks are available in that scent - they last longer than a candle, and are not that much more expensive. If you're willing to save up for it, why not buy something that'll last longer?

Hey Everyone,
I'm one of those people that beats myself up over the littlest purchase. As Frugalista said, I work 3 jobs...I should be able to treat myself to a $27 candle. I actually found a happy compromise. I found someone on ebay who lives in my area who is willing to sell me the candle for $20.99 and I won't have to spend on shipping because I can go and pick it up. BUT STILL someway, somehow I will "punish" myself for such an extravagant purchase. Like no take out food this weekend or my girls asked me to go out tonight for drinks and I said I had to pass. In the end it all has to balance.

@savvy-Girl, you are organized!
@Namesake-You've sold me on mint. Thanks!
@PJD- Do I sense candle reviews on your blog next? That would be hawt!
@Twiggers- I just looked up YNAB. I hadn't heard of it. Will check it out.
@GLM-I will be posting on side hustles soon. It's a surefire way to get ahead. I've been doing more freelance to pad my income.
@Tiffany-No more beating yourself up. You know what you need to do. Enjoy your candle.

Our splurge stuff comes from pocket change. We spend only dollar bills and every day we put the coin change into a jar(s). After a while, it gets rolled and sued to buy something we don't have to justify. One time it was a new VCR. Coins would be well-spent on a $27 candle.

@Lou - I read a book called the Truth About Money and one thing the book said was to spend paper money only and at the end of the day put all the change in your pockets in a jar. So I've been doing that but I honestly didn't think about how to convert it. I can't remember the last time I rolled coins and took them to the bank. Maybe I'll find a coinstar machine at a grocery store.

Tiffany, that candle sounds like it's worth skipping a couple meals. Where can I get one? (Damn, gift bag marketing really DOES work)

Don't go to coinstar, they charge you to count change. It's a small percentage, but that's just fundamentally wrong in my book. Up with Commerce Bank!

I do my budgeting on various scraps of papers and napkins. Works for me.

We use Quicken for tracking expenses and I have a budget structured on Excel.

We plan for annual costs such as homeowners and car insurance as well as little things like car registration and subscriptions. These all go into a savings account and when the bill comes in we transfer the money from savings to checking.

My husband and I each have an allowance of $100 each pay period. It sounds a bit restrictive, but what do I NEED to spend money on between pay periods? That's plenty in case I decide to go to lunch with friends or buy a new outfit, book, plant, etc.

Whatever is left over is put into our moneymarket account. We have a credit card that gives us 5% cash back at the pump that we put all our gas and car-related costs on (repair and maintenance) and that gets paid off every month. If an emergency comes up with either dip into the moneymarket or use the only other credit card we have (8.5% APR), and then work it into the budget to pay off within 3 months max.

Do you have to have a commerce account for them to do the coin counting/money conversion?

You don't need an account at Commerce. You just dump your change in the machine, and it spits out a receipt that you take to the teller for $$$. :-)

We've used the oldie but goodie Excel for our budget for years. As far as treats go...I've found a well kept secret in our area. I can get facials for $13, shampoo and style for $12 and manicure for $8 at the beauty school. They aren't professionals but the indulgence feels the same to me!

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