We are about 1 week into our attempt at a new budget system, and I think I can say that IT'S WORKING?! We are using PearBudget, which allows you to categorize your expenses as you enter in your receipts daily. I must say that having to attach a "label" to every single cent you spend really makes you think hard whether you actually want the item or not.
Last night I had a few minutes to spare before I had to be at a school meeting so I stopped by Fresh Market (we had gone to inner near by). Usually I'm so compelled to make impulse purchases at Fresh Market because everything smells so nice and is packaged so beautifully (yes, I'm a sucker for good marketing...yes, I was a marketing major and should be able to see through all the pizzazz...), but as I walked through the store I kept thinking about the $157.62 I have left in the "groceries" category for this month. Do I really want to eat it up (no pun intended) with this box of fancy tea or a pound of overpriced coffee when we already have these things at home?
Another great benefit is that Patrick and I both see where money is going. Before, he did the budgeting and I just ran most of my purchases by him, getting mad if he told me no on something. Now I can see it too as it's all laid out in neat little columns and I can better understand why he might say no at a certain point in the month, etc. Since I'm responsible for entering the receipts for the day, we sort of report to each other each night what we spent. This holds us accountable to each other as well for how we're spending our money.
The verdict for Week 1 is: so far, so good. I'll continue to report as we encounter any interesting situations.
OH! I almost forgot! PearBudget also has a blog, which has great tips for saving and budgeting! I mean good tips, doable tips. This product is really great.