Several comments, an email, and fellow Risethestudio bloggers’ posts have led me to believe that plenty of people control their spending using ‘The Force.’ What I mean is, they don’t have a written budget they follow closely or maybe even a budget at all. The conventional wisdom is that you should use a budget to track spending. These individuals, however, have gone another way.
Our family has used both methods at various times. Right now, we use a written budget and I track our spending and post it on the fridge. The thing about that is, though, we really don’t follow it too closely. Our actual practice much closer to the way we’ve done budgeting in the past using The Force.
Using The Force for budgeting to me means generally feeling your way through your monthly spending. You know how much money is available after fixed expenditures are paid for. You use what’s left over to buy everything else. You get a feel for how much you’ve spent on dining out, groceries, clothes, whatever. If one goes way up, something else gives. This method only works if (1) you an your spouse are in tune and communicate and (2) you have discipline.
I’m considering going back to using The Force at our house. We’ve done it before fairly successfully and really aren’t rigid about our method now. I’d like to get an idea of which method people use and how successfully. Better yet, if there’s a better way than either one of these I’d like to hear it.