1. My own homework: made up an Income/Expense schedule for DH’s pay periods based on what I project his take home to be. It’ll be tight, but better than going backward.

2. Landed a child-transport job. It’s not much- $200 a month for about 15 hours of work…and it is all concentrated in the mornings. I’m going to put it in to BEF, then stockpile it towards paying off debt (if I can keep DH from overspending because he thinks it’s “free” money.)

3. re: budgeting.

It is hard, especially if you are not used to it. Some people (not saying you are) make it harder than it needs to be. The friends of ours who just moved out of state used to make it SO MUCH HARDER than necessary. Wife kept insisting that she had to keep ALL the receipts from EVERY expenditure EVERY MONTH for 4 months before she could set a realistic budget. So (here’s a surprise) consequently, she never did one, let alone followed one.

Personally, I prefer the “close enough” method. Which is:

Rent or mortgage
Utilities (take the highest one of each type and use that as your base point)
Credit card minimums (list each one)
Gas for the car
Car Insurance
Anything else that has a recurring monthly (child care, child support, medical, tuition)
Groceries (I used to take everything I spent at a grocery store whether it was for groceries or cash and added that up. If it was astronomical I’d decide what was “reasonable” and use that as a budget point)

I don’t capture every single dime. Over time I do, but starting out the first few months, that just leads to money exhaustion.

We’ve been accused of being rednecks, but even we’re not that bad

Although we do have cheap blue tarps everywhere. You know you’re a VS redneck when you have a budget line item and/or sinking fund for yearly replacement cost of cheap blue tarps. Even cheap blue tarps get expensive if you use a lot of ’em. Bet that car didn’t cost much though. Maybe that’s where LT beaters go to die when we’ve driven the wheels right off them. They’re turned out to pasture! Ha!

DH gets paid on the 15th and 30th (boy, it sure feels good to say those words.)

There isn’t a lot of projected cushion for each check—(I’ll know better after the 1st one), so I have split up the checks so that X bills get paid from the 15th check and X bills get paid from the 30th check, and I’m taking 1/2 rent and 1/2 gas budget out of each check (rather than all from one check)

I split up the bills by due dates. I have bills due 3rd – 12th, and bills due 22nd-29th (oddly, nothing in between those dates.) It comes out about even (2067/2077) for each period.

Is there a (better) way to do it differently? As it is, I’m thinking I would pay the bills due 22nd-29th out of the check on the 15th, and the bills due 3rd-12th from the check on the 30th. I’m obviously wanting to avoid any late payments–at anywhere from $5 to $35 per (x 10 items which charge late fees, it could be pretty hefty each month.)

Since you are retired, you really don’t need a credit score for much stuff anymore

Getting 5% cash back is fine, except when someone spends 40% more on items they weren’t going to buy. How many people go to dinner and overspend? How many go shopping without a budget and overspend? If you spent $100 to get $5 back, you could have spent $90 and save the $10. Responsible people will pay off a credit card each month, but you have to ask yourself, how much of the actual spending was over budget or unnecessary? If your water bill went up to $500, you would probably cut back to a normal amount.