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The magic of the white board

March 13th, 2017 at 01:51 am

Last week I had an epiphany. Actually a V8 smack up the side of the head moment.

Month after month, I have been frustrated that we dont stick to our monthly household budget as closely as we should. Every month, I make sure to tell the hub what is in the account, and ask that we shoot for staying at or below that number by the end of the month.

And every month, when all the debits are out of the account, we are in the red- leaving me with a week or two after he heads back to work, to live on mostly savings usually skimping by, frustrated that we missed the mark again.

So, I purchased a small white board for our family room. Now, I plan to start the month off with 'the number' or budget that we start with and every receipt will be deducted immediately to show a running balance. A very straightforward way to keep the budget top of mind.

And so far, it is working. The hub and I can see how much is left for the rest of the month at all times. It has triggered discussions about where to shave costs in order to have enough for the splurges.

Today was grocery day, and the budget was definitely a focus as we shopped...I definitely noticed that way fewer wants found their way into the cart. And as soon as we got home the board was updated.

So far so good. Why didnt I think of this a long time ago???

9 Responses to “The magic of the white board”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    We use a giant whiteboard for a lot of things. A running grocery list, a chore list, notes, schedules, but never thought about running one for a budget. Good idea.

  2. snafu Says:

    Terrific to find an easy to use and share money management tool. I hope you'll keep us updated on how it works out to benefit you both long term I don't know if you do meal planning. I found it amazingly effective in reducing sums spent on meals, avoided the waste of droopy vegetables and expiry date waste and the unanticipated benefit of being able to significantly reduce the work by leveraging one meal into another two days later. No one realizes they are eating leftovers when roasted chicken parts morph into pulled chicken, for example.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Good idea!

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    It's a good idea, but it seems like a lot of effort to track a running balance every day. Are you usually off by a great deal of money each month? Maybe you won't have to do it forever.

    Of course, I'd be tracking all my spending for at least 15 years now and I don't consider it a nuisance. It just becomes a habit and most of the time it's easy to do since i just make sure I keep receipts. I don't keep a running balance though, and I don't have a budget. but by tracking my monthly spending, i have a general awareness of where the money goes and whether I should generally try to rein in spending or not.

  5. Structural Engineer Says:

    There is an app out there called "everydollar" that is a budgeting tool that you can put on phones and such that allows you to track all expenses according to your budget in real time. This means that you can see what is already spent, and both you and your husband would be reminded at all times how much has already been spent in all categories.

    See if this might be a suitable tool for your needs.

  6. MonkeyMama Says:


    Sometimes I think simple solutions like this are the most useful. This reminds me that I did use to do this for a while, and apparently stopped at some point without particularly thinking about it. We have a fairly tight budget of maybe $100/month for misc., so for a while it would just jot down purchases on a piece of paper that I kept on our (shared) computer desk. Just an easy way to communicate, "Dude, I already spent $80 on unexpected purchase, so please don't spend more than $20 this month." I think my husband otherwise has a more difficult time understanding my more complicated accounting system. So it helps just to break it out into a very simple way. & sure, we could set up a google doc or something like that, but neither of us would remember to use it. In fact, I totally forgot that I Was even doing this. But it worked well for us for a while.

  7. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Sounds like a great idea for you guys!

  8. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I love visual stuff like this too. I have a manual spending app (as well as one that I can see what is going on with our accounts) which lists your main 6 expense items just like on a chalkboard on the right hand side and on the left hand side very clearly states "income" - "expenses" = "balance"; and below it is a pie chart showing your proportions. This, just like your whiteboard idea is so helpful in seeing where you really stand with your budget each month.

  9. rob62521 Says:

    Smart move! I guess the slogan out of sight out of mind was true and now that it is in black and white or whatever color ink you use, it's there front and center! Yay you!

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