sticking to a budget

One of the things I’ve wanted to get on top of this summer is our budget.  My husband and I both work and on paper make a good amount of money, but most of our money goes towards our co-op mortgage and daycare/preschool/babysitting, and we go through cycles of having huge amounts of credit card debt that really stress me out.

I just met with a financial counselor this morning to develop a plan.  I’m going to try to get my husband to agree to track all of our spending for the month of September, including cash (which has been difficult!), to see if my projected budget is correct.  I use Mint.com to pull all of our accounts together, but so much of our transactions are left as “uncategorized.”  If my projections are correct, that means that we have about $3,000 a month to tackle our $20,000+ credit card debt.  If my projections are off we will have to commit to adhering to a tighter budget, so that we can pay of our debt to reach our financial goals: starting an emergency fund, adding to our 403b and 401k and college saving accounts for our girls.  I’d also like to be able to afford a vacation next year and have more available for upgrading our apartment, phones, and computer.  We’re going to try tracking everything on paper for 30 days.  Let’s see how that conversation goes tonight…

I’ve mentioned before that for the last 18 months I spent about $750 on WW and didn’t get back to goal.  Now I’m trying going to OA meetings (about $20/month donations).  I guess that only saves me $22 a month or so.  Plus I plunked down $40 on books already…

Do any of you have tips for sticking to a budget, getting out of credit card debt, or tracking your spending? I’d love to hear…

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