Starting the Jars

I received a question yesterday that I’ve received before about the Magic Jars and how to get started with them. Rick wrote:

We are starting the money jar system tomorrow since it is the first of the month. We are behind on our bills going into the new month. How do we start the money jar and continue to play catch up at the same time?

People seem to have difficulty figuring out where the money for the jars comes from. It’s as if they think this is “extra” money, not money they would have been spending all along. So…

First off, the money that goes into the jars is the money that you would have been spending on things like gas, food, clothes, entertainment and medical costs – all your “variable” expenses. It’s not EXTRA money.

And the place to start in changing your money management is not with the jars. It’s with a balanced budget. You can’t actually make the jars work for you if you don’t start by making a budget that balances

Crap! Really! I have to do the math

Darn tootin’. You’re going to have to do some hard work before you can clean up the mess you’ve made of your money. If you skip this step you’re lazy, uncommitted and looking for an easy way out. There is no easy way out. You’ve muddle up your money and now it’s time to do the detail to sort it out. So get out copies of your bills, a pen, a piece of paper, a calculator and get ready to do the math.

Go to Gail’s Interactive Budget and the instructions, Gail’s Guide to Building a Budget. Follow the instructions and make a budget that balances. You can’t have a negative number at the bottom. It has to be positive or zero; the budget has to balance.

If you can’t make it balance, you have a problem. Either your expenses are too high or your income is too low. Start by cutting out EVERYTHING that isn’t essential to keeping body and soul together. This may include cutting back on fixed expenses. Cable, cell phone and telephone bills are one place to look. Turn down your thermostat and put on a sweater to save on heating costs. Get rid of a car you simply can’t afford to keep. If that’s not enough, then you’re going to have to find a way to make more money. (Am I starting to sound like I’m repeating myself yet?)

Once you’ve balanced your budget, the Interactive Budget Worksheet will tell you how much is going into each of the jars. I’m sorry, you can’t store this budget, but you can print a hard copy for on-going reference, and I recommend you do so.

Okay, now we come to the jars. This money is your “variable” spending. Assuming you’ve balanced your budget you now know how much to pull from your bank account each week for the jars. Some jars, like “clothing and gifts” or “other” may remain empty until you’re back in the black

All the rest of you money stays in your bank account and can be used to pay your bills. Your mortgage/rent is a fixed expense, and assuming you’ve balanced your budget, the money is in the bank to pay this bill. Ditto your car payment, insurance, childcare – everything that’s at the top of the Interactive Budget under the titled “Fixed Expenses”.

Two more things: First, if you can’t figure out how much you should be putting toward debt repayment, use the Own Up to Your Debt Worksheet (on the right hand side of this page, under Gail’s Other Pages) to determine how much should be going toward your debt repayment.

I know the budget says it should be 15%, but if your hole is deep – as is the case with many of the fams I work with – you may start off budgeting 30%, 35% or 40% of your income to debt repayment – whatever it takes to get you out of the red within three years or less. If it looks like it’s going to take longer, or your debt repayments are throwing your budget off kilter, you only option will be to MAKE MORE MONEY.

Second, you can’t sacrifice savings in the name of paying your debt off faster. Sorry, that’s cheating. You have to set aside some money each month for emergency and savings (which is long-term savings, not saving for a car or a vacation), so that you’re working with a balanced plan.

I know there are those who believe you should pay off ALL your debt before you start to save, but I don’t agree. If you have nothing set aside in an emergency fund, the first time you run into a problem, you’ll go back to using your credit; very defeating emotionally.

And if you don’t start the habit of long-term savings TODAY, you won’t ever start.

Ever heard of inertia? That’s the thing that keeps a body that’s at rest at rest until something acts upon it. It also keeps a body in motion in motion. If you aren’t saving today, you’re a body at rest. I am the force that has been sent to act upon you to get you moving in the right direction.

Lots of people are using the jars all over the world. I’m really surprised that such a simple – and really old – idea has caught on in such a big way. I think it’s because it’s a way to make money management really concrete. When the jar’s empty, you’re done spending.

And the jars really work. I haven’t worked with a single family to date who haven’t had money left in the jars at the end of my time with them, despite my having cut their budgets by 50%, 65%, or 85%! Wow! So y’all can live on less, if you’re determined to change your circumstances.

Course, determination is a big thing. If you’re at all wishy-washy about what it’ll take to get you out of debt, if you just can’t work up the guts to do things differently, it won’t be the jars that failed.

54 Responses to “Starting the Jars”

  1. I can attest to the jars working folks, hubby & I have been on jars now nearly 8 months and we have money in the bank (totally new experience for us) PLUS we are paying down our debt, as well as having our own allowance. Wished we had known of “Gail the budget guru” sooner.
    Thankyou Gail so much for showing us the way out.
    I have also spread the word I now have 3 friends about to start on the jar system, Regards Kay

  2. Gail, I’m wondering if your original poster is asking a question I had, which is that assuming that the familes on TDDUP are living paycheque to paycheque, how – literally – do they get the funds for the month in advance? In other words, if they can’t normally pay a bill due May 21st until they get paid May 20th, where does the money come from so that it’s all literally in the jars on May 1st? I kind of assumed they borrowed it to get started, but that seems counter-productive.

  3. Geoff, since “bills” are usually part of either “debt repayment” or “fixed expenses”, the money is in the bank from their regular pays. If they don’t have enough money to cover fixed expenses and the jars, I usually send ’em out to find more money.

  4. I totally get this now. I’m watching TDDUP online and couldn’t wrap my mind around how the jars worked until one of the shows yesterday. Once the fixed expenses are taken care of, then the variables go into their jars each week. Go to the bank and take out what you need weekly. D’oh! Separate it from there.

    I TOTALLY get it. I’m going to buy jars and labels at lunch today and then make up my jars at home tonight…And start meal planning – that’s a huge one for me.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you Gail!!!

  5. As an addendum, I bought 6 little plastic jars at the Dollar Store. I have 5 for my “essential” variables, and have set up the sixth one for my charity donations. I figure if I don’t save for that, I won’t and if I can budget it in weekly, so much the better. I even got myself a new notebook to write down my expenditures in…

    I get paid tomorrow, so I start tomorrow and am looking forward to seeing how I do.

  6. avatar Caroline Says:
    May 6, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I am planning on starting the jar system on Friday when my husband and I get paid. I have used Gail’s interactive budget worksheet to get us started. I now know what goes in the jars!

    Taking a trip to the dollar store is a great idea to get jars.

  7. Just a note about the jars – a better place to get jars is a recylce store, bluebox store, you know the stores people donate their junk to. You can get jars for pennies!

  8. That’s a good idea about the jars, Helen! I hadn’t thought of that. My jars, although not fancy, cost me $3 for the six. Still pretty good!

  9. I have another question about the jars: the idea is to have money left over at the end of the week. Assuming that I do (and this is probably a really dumb question) what do I do with it? I was thinking I would turn around and put it back into the bank, but then I thought that perhaps I could just carry it over into its respective jar, meaning that I would take less out of the bank the following week…


  10. avatar Chrstina Says:
    May 7, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Annie, I am thinking that if some of your jar money is for things like car repairs/maintenance, you would keep it and save it until you have a repair. Alternatively, you could put your leftover cash toward debt or savings.

  11. Annie: I totally get this now. I’m watching TDDUP online and couldn’t wrap my mind around how the jars worked until one of the shows yesterday.

    I had a similar experience a coupla weeks ago. I’ve watched every episode, sometimes more than once … but something about an explanation a couple of episodes ago made it all click. I actually rewound the segment on my PVR … noticed that the percentages are applied to the whole take-home … and the “what’s left”/variable part was divided among the jars.

    I turned to my spouse … jaw dropped … and said … “Has she explained it like this every time and I missed it, or is this new?” She had the same realization. Something additional must’ve been in there, ‘cuz the journey to the numbers suddenly made a whole lot more sense. It actually made me want to try a Gail budget just to see how it’d break down vs. the seemingly-working budget we’re already running.

  12. Just a question, if you have negative total you can’t do the budgetting I guess? I want to start it but after I finished the calculations, it came down to a negative and trust me I did all the cut backs already!! No more allowance, not even a clothing allowance. Is there any other way? Also down at the bottom, what are TAXES for????
    Hope someone can answer my inquiry/ Thank you!

  13. If you have a negative, then you’re trying to spend more money than you make. If you can’t find a way to cut back any more, then you’re going to have to find a way to bring in more money. Or you’ll have to reconcile yourself to being in debt forEVER!

    As for the “Taxes”, that’s for taxes owed because you’re self-employed or on contract and have to remit your own taxes (so you’re accumulating money, or remitting monthly or quarterly) or because you got a tax bill.

  14. Bigasssuperstar: Yeah, that’s sort of how I felt, like “oooohhhhhhh!” It now seems so simple, but maybe I was trying too hard to understand? And now Gail’s budget makes sense, too. I had filled out the info prior to my lightbulb moment and was still going “what the hey?”. There was one extra bit of information that was offered that hadn’t been before.

    NOW it makes sense. I took my fixed amount out of the bank today and once I’m home, I’ll be divvying it up accordingly. Unfortunately for me, Tim Horton’s steeped tea is back after its recall…but at least I got a receipt for it, so I can subtract it from my food budget and start the ball rolling… 😛

  15. Admin: we actually spent more on paying off our debts. nothing is spent on luxuries. not sure what else to cut down. we are looking for part time/weekend jobs to supplement. does anyone has any idea where to look for home based admin works?? also on the budget table where do you input school expenses?

  16. My finance and myself have been on the jars for the last few months and absolutely love it. Our “jars” are actually coffee cups, just so we didn’t have to spend money on them.

    In the next coming and past months, we have had a raise and will be moving to a new place (which has lower rent). These types of life events constitute a change in budgeting, right? I am just worried about changing the budget too often, or should it be changed whenever events like these happen.

  17. Be frugal and recycle empty jam/tomato sauce/salsa/nut butter/dressing jars – no need to spend money – anything with a lid works so the hard-earned contents don’t spill – label and voila! Happy tracking…

  18. Lynn: You can’t focus on debt so much that it pushes you out of balance. Better to make a budget that balances and then get extra work to pay down the debt faster. Lots of people I work with think they’re paying off their debt, but they’re racking it up on the other side by going into overdraft or taking cash advances to make it to the end of the month. Don’t fall into that trap. As for types of work: I think we discussed this a while ago, so check the past blogs. And the school expenses? If you aren’t using one of the other LIFE categories, convert it to “school expenses”. Good luck. Gail

  19. Lynn, Funny that you should ask where to look for ideas on home based jobs. I was walking by the magazine section in my grocery store last night and my eye caught a magazine specifically focussing on home based jobs. I will look tonight, give you the name and the cost tomorrow (better to go to a bookstore where you can sit and review it). My son just delivered some posters this week looking for extra work (mowing lawns, carting away garbage, etc., etc.,).

  20. Hello Wanda, Thank you for your attention, This is my first time to join a discussion room and I’m loving it. I am getting a lot of ideas!

    Admin: I have 2 consolidation loans that we are sticking with, no missed payments. After using your budget, I found out that our debt repayment is 45% of our income. I will definitely check the past blogs for job ideas.

  21. avatar Maureen Says:
    May 14, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I watch the show everyday but only recently found Not surprising as I am very technologically challenged. The information here is incredible and the site is beautifully designed. I have no trouble navigating it and all the links WORK! Wonderful. And the comments from real people and the fact that Gail answers them and takes questions makes me feel very connected.

    We (the Hubster and I) use nearly all the information and tips we have learned on the show and are doing well and even have a nest egg for the first time EVER. Even though we have watched for years we are still learning something new every week. I am so comfortable with trying new things now that I have even started to be venturesome on my own –fly little bird, fly.

    All of our financial lives we lived from pay check to pay check, spent up to and way beyond our means and for some strange reason (da!) were stressed and unhappy and felt that no matter how hard we worked we were always running behind and could never get ahead.

    That is until I discovered “Til Debt” and he had his mid-life crisis – left a great job and went back to school. Believe me it would have been a lot cheaper if he had just gotten the red sports car and the blonde but also believe me that although this was really stupidly unplanned it turned out to be the best budgeting education that no money could buy. Living on my self employed earnings and his student loans taught us the value of tracking every penny and planning ahead and the show showed us how. It was hard work, we were dirt poor, but have never been happier or more relaxed about money.

    Getting a budget sorted and the jars (we actually used envelopes because we have a cat whose greatest joy is to smash things by pushing them off the counter) started takes work and lots of tweaking but is sooooooooooooooo worth it that once you get it done you will never look back.

    By actually being present in our financial lives we did better (and are doing better) than we could ever have imagined. In fact – like the old Doublemint gum commercial said “Double the gum, double the fun” we were able to “double the jars, double the funds.”

    The “spare jar” (made up from what was left over in the other jars) filled up after 6 months and we were going to put it into savings when we had our first idea. Create another set of jars so that we were always running a month ahead and would never have to play catch up again. You see even with careful budgeting we had a few close calls because of time issues – pay checks not coming in until the very last day before bills were due and a power outage that took the phones, computers and ATMs down – so the fear of bouncing checks was still always present.

    This save ahead system worked so well that over the next year we deposited every dollar we could get (scrimped, sold stuff and rerouted tax refunds and overtime) into our checking account until we had a whole extra months worth of expenses just sitting there. Now at the beginning of each month all the money we need for that month is already sitting in the bank (and jars) so what we earn during the month is for next month. Makes budgeting even easier.

    Both my best friend and our banker made the comment that having so much “extra” money in a checking account was silly because we were losing out on the interest it could be earning. My reply to my friend was that the peace of mind this afforded us was worth every penny in lost interest and my husband’s reply to our banker was that no amount of interest paid to us by his bank would equal the cost of a single NSF check or the monthly interest rate charged on our credit cards.

    We think of it as budget insurance that buys us extra security and at the same time is just another form of savings.

  22. Maureen, such a great entry! The way I see it,having the extra month ahead is part of your emergency fund and this money needs to be kept in a fairly accessible account. While it is great making interest, as you know, peace of mind is far more valuable!

  23. avatar Maureen Says:
    May 14, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Wanda!

    Who would have thought it? I used to get all hot and bothered over a virgin credit card, a 50% off shoe sale, photos of Antonio Bandaras and the sweet nothings the Hubster would whispered in my ear as we were charging up yet another extravagant night out on the town. How times change. Now all the Hubster has to say is “Savings Account” or “Emergency Fund” and call me his “Cheap Little Tightwad” and I just go all weak at the knees. Especially when he says it with a Spanish accent.

    Money is sexy – especially when you’ve got some at long, long last. Maybe it’s the feeling of being free and in control. Maybe it’s getting a little power mad! and – as Gail wrote – being able to tell anyone to go to Hell.

  24. Maureen, loved your posts – haha!

  25. Maureen, I am sooooo proud of you. I feel quite honoured to have your success story on the site. Thank you for taking the time to tell your story. I am impressed by both your determination and your sense of peace. They come through very clearly. Would you like to do a guest post on my site? You could tell your story, what you changed, how it worked for you, and how your feel now. If you’d like to do this, let me know through the “questions” section (remember to include your email address), and then we’ll chat by email. cheers, Gail

  26. avatar Maureen Says:
    May 14, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Mary

    I am just thrilled that I could make you laugh too because although I know that debt is a serious matter I cannot help laughing out loud every time I think that all it took to give me back my giddy, giggly sense of humour and sense of financial well being were Gail’s rules and a bunch of canning jars – that weren’t even filled with Home Brew.

  27. Been doing the “jar” system for only 6 weeks, and I can’t believe the changes already. We both have good jobs, with good income. We have very little by means of a rent payment but a little too much high interest personal debt as a result of stupid spending when we were younger and some financially hard times earlier in our relationship. We have been wasting money left right and center. We want to own a home, for us and our 2 children. It is a goal that for so long seemed impossible for so many reason. But now, after putting money into savings (emergency fund and future home downpayment), retirement, bills and jars, we had almost $1500 left over a month. Wasting it all on eating out, buying things we do not need, and paying too much for the things we ‘sort of’ needed. Now, we have been putting it all into paying off our personal debt and already we have paid off 2 debts in full, freeing up another $500 a month. During these difficult economic times, this is the exact right thing for us to. No more wasting. We feel better now than ever before buying needlessly, and we do not even feel like we are going without. We love this system, fool proof! And our “jars” are slots in an envelope sized accordian file, each labeled for the expense. As each dollar comes out, it gets replaces with a receipt. Every 2 weeks we look at the budget and plan accordingly. You know what else this has done for us? It is something we do together. No TV, no extra cost and no distractions. Just us, working together on a common goal, our own home for our family.

  28. I am a single mother of two and like most families, finding it very difficult making ends meet. I have been watching the show for some time now, and when my kids are finished getting ready for school in the morning, they to put on your show.

    I LOVE the jar idea, as you can see what is and isn’t there. My question is how to get it started. I have been trying to find the “How to” part and haven’t had any luck finding it. What percentage should be in each jar? I understand that it would be based on income but haven’t found what percentage should be spent on what (ie – housing, hydro, cable, phone, cell phone, extra cirricular activites, etc., etc.) With this, my kids will also see and learn if that if there’s no money in the jar, then we cannot purchase what they are asking for. Please help me!!

  29. I use labelled paper lunch bags instead of jars!

  30. I am a mom of 5 boys, my husband and I make good money but we are in debt. This is my first time on this site. I watch TDDUP every chance I get. I am a little concerned how to keep my food budget down.

  31. Nancy,
    In order to keep my food budget in check, I make a list and I bring a calculator to add things up as I go. I always pay with my grocery envelope cash, so if I find that I won’t have enough money, I have to leave things until the next week. This has forced me to cut down on those days when I am “cooking” in my head and just picking up everything that looks good.
    I also take advantage of local butchers who offer different assorted freezer packages of meat . Then there is always some sort of main dish available, so you don’t have to buy meat every week if there is not a good sale.
    I cook most things from scratch, which is a big help for cookies, cakes, muffins or fleshing out a thinner meal at the end of the week….homemade buscuits can save the day.
    As a mother of a boy, I cannot imagine having to feed FIVE!!!!
    I feel for you.
    I have only recently started the jar system (I use envelopes) and I find it has made a large difference in my spending.
    Good luck to you and your husband.

  32. avatar Catherine Says:
    May 24, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Welcome Nancy! You will learn many new strategies at Gail’s site. She’s amazing and those that post are too!
    I started the jars November 1st and have switched down to a coupon pouch from the dollar store. My categories are: groceries, transportation, clothing and gifts, other, and health food store. I divy up the money on Fridays and stick to it for the week.
    My hubby printed up a grocery sheet for the stores we shop at and Friday nights I check the specials and mark with a highlighter what I need and the price. We do pretty well staying in budget. Of course, I’m not feeding 5 boys, but, like Diana – I make everything from scratch – it costs less and stretches further. A weekly menu based on sale items and what you have on hand in your pantry is a must.
    I think one of the first things I appreciate Gail teaching me is to pay myself first. We opened TFSA’s January 2nd and are putting money into them. This is our Emergency Fund – which Gail says is a must.
    Good luck with your endeavours!

  33. Nancy, I have 4 kids and run a home daycare so I understand the food budget thing. At first we shopped at the same big box store (we live in the county so we have drive into town) well one of the towns built a super walmart and started shopping at the walmart. I would gather all the flyers from the week and write down who had what on sale and who had it on sale and I take them all to walmart, and they price matched everything. Not only did I save money in gas, because I didn’t have to drive around to the stores, but I got more food for my money. I can easily spend under a 150 dollars a week feeding 6 of us and 5 daycare children. You need to find a place that will do price match and carry your flyers around. Also, cooking from scratch works too. Another idea is that my kids have thermos’s and carry drinks in them. Who can afford to by a pkg of juice boxes every week when you have 4 kids who go to school every day, I would have to buy 3 cases every week. I also buy things in large quantities, and divide in small pkgs, and if it doesn’t get eaten I put all the snacks back in the cupboard and another child may want it in there lunch or when we go out they grab it and go. For meat, I found that the real canadian superstore would mark down their meat and bread for half price, so early saturday mornings I go in and buy my meat and bread, we eat so well for fraction of the price (also I check out the prepackage salade department and at night I can get the precooked chicken for half price which my children love to eat for lunch) My children also grab coupons where ever we go, so we save money this way. (just a note, I found that some produce places, may be cheap on fruit, but they also don’t last very long, so you do need to watch that)

  34. Finding Gail’s website has been a huge “aha!” moment for me. I’ve worked through the interactive budget, whittled down my excesses (still working on a few), and am at the jar stage now. My question is about how the actual act of spending from the jars works. I’ve put my cash amounts into the jars already. Do I literally bring a jar (or an equivalent envelope, etc.) with me to the grocery store when I go shopping? Does this mean never using the one piece of bank issued plastic I have left; my debit card? Or am I supposed to keep a virtual tally of my jar spending and simply count down to zero instead of using actual money? I’m raring to go on this system if I can just get over this one final brain block on how it all works. Thanks in advance for your advice.

  35. avatar anostrichnamedsam Says:
    June 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    You just take your cash with you, you can keep it the envelope if you like. As far as using your bank card, just use it to withdraw your weekly money and leave it home. If you only have cash when you shop, you’ll find you stick to your budget much better. Envelopes work really well, as you can write your spending down on the envelope itself and track that way. Plus you have a place for your receipts.

    I try to only carry my rewards cards with me when I shop, because if I have the bank card its way too tempting to over spend.

    You can keep track using your bank card; its not hard especially if you have on line banking as yo u can track your expenses daily. You’ll have to decide what is best for you. Good luck!

  36. thanks anostrichnamedsam! i suppose leaving the bank card at home would absolutely ensure that you don’t overspend! let the jarring begin!

  37. Good luck Max!

  38. My husband and I have started with the jar budget and so far so good. I just have a question regarding the weekly food allowance. We have an allowance of $100 per week which has been working very well. My question is how do we account for the purchase off bulk organic beef that we only purchase once a year? We spend about $300 in October for the purchase off beef that will last us all year long. I don;t think we will be able to use $300 of the $400 for the month on the beef purchase and then survive on only the remaining $100 for all other groceries for that month. Any suggestions?

  39. Mandy;
    you need a jar that will allow you to budget for annual purchases ie; beef. Either budget for it or take what you have left over from your weekly food budget and put in a jar that is saving for the purchase in October. If you average the cost over 52 weeks for a $300 purchase you will only need about $6 per week to pay for it in full. I would suggest that you start the jar in October for next years purchase and for this years purchase you will need to adjust your budget (approx. 40.00 per week for 8 weeks) to pay for this years purchase without attacking your food budget.

  40. Thanks Joanne! That makes sense! I guess you would do the same sort of thing to budget for Christmas gifts as well. I appreciate your help 🙂

  41. I am a single mother of a teenager, 18. I make a decent salary, but have found lately i have managed to rack up 2 lines of credit. The first one is $45,000 and the 2nd one’s balance is $25,000. My balance on my mortgage is approx. $88,000. I am 51. Should I transfer the LOCs onto my mortgage, as I pay only
    the minimum on both per month? I am just starting the jar system next pay chq, and have no savings or emergency fund. Please any suggestions?

  42. After a year of solid renovations and buying on credit with some payments in cash I’ve exhausted my of my financial resources. After completing the renos my wife decided it’s time to move on to greener pastures,would have been nice to know a year ago. however I’m left to pick up the pieces and start over So I’m not looking back but only ahead I’ve been watching Gail’s show for a awhile and have already started chipping away on my debt setting my goals small and accomplishing them and getting the debt paid down. Hopefully by working hard and staying focused I’ll be debt free in 2years and have already started saving for my emergency fund

    Thank You Gail for helping inspire me to be more positive in my financial goals.

  43. Thank you Gail-your methods have done something for me I did not do in 63 years and not just with money. My father was tyrannical and cheap so I rebelled and shot myself in the foot. I had two small bankruptcies and a proposal as I was stupid and was also making bad relationship choices. I retired early for medical reasons with nothing but a burning desire to volunteer and stay fluid. Your influence has kept us from despair. It may be hand-to-mouth as a result of a lifetime of bad mOney management but it is never to late to turn it around. You are funny, smart and just what I needed.

  44. I have a question, with the jars system, do you put money in them every months according to the budget or at every pay checks. thanks

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  46. I added up all our ‘consumer’ debt the other day, after the profuse sweating subsided, and the heart palpitations slowed down, It came down to starting a plan to get rid of this! It’s going to be a tough three years, however, it’s time to pay the piper for the fun that brought us to $81,191.00 in credit card debt! Holy $hit!!!

  47. I’m going to use GVO’s jar system….just can’t afford the jars! 🙂

  48. @Deborah, if you fold your LOC into your mortgage you will only rack up the debt again, even though you swear you won’t…. The only way to learn a lesson, and get out of debt for good is to go thru the pain of repaying it!

  49. I am trying to understand where the money comes from to go in the jars. Can you please explain? Thank you 🙂

  50. We’ve been using the “jars” for over two years now. We use bank accounts vs actual jars. It always amazes me when I see that I’ve ready saved for Xmas presents in June. We’re steadily paying off debt 30% per month and we’re saving for vacations as well. The whole process of assessing our situation took honestly 2 days and maybe a bottle of wine. It was eye opening, depressing and motivating all at the same time. I revisit the process each year, which doesn’t take as long. I made some slight tweaks and we are half way through our third year. The above says if debt isn’t paid off in three years, make more money. I agree that’s possible and my husband has gotten a second job, however at the risk of his health working almost 70 hours per week, and never seeing his family. We’ll gladly extend the debt repayment process to have family time, our child is only young once.
    I am extremely appreciative of Gail’s site, it gave me to tools to get started and in the right direction.

  51. @Karen – The money in the jars comes from what you would have been spending anyways (as long as you were not overspending) then it is what you should be spending.

    Do the budget worksheet Gail supplies, find out how much you have left for variable spending. That money goes into your jars, (however you set them up). The spreadsheets also tell you how much goes into the jars, monthly and weekly.

    Just watch your cash flow at the start. Do not leave yourself short of funds to pay the bills.

    @Jeff – any sort of jar, packet, envelope or virtual system will work

    @ Chris – your husband does need to be the only one to work extra. Gail always says staying at home is a privledge not a right.

  52. I am not at the jar stahe yet. however, being on a disability pension with rent at 47% of my income I have to smarten up (and o am on a list for low income housing. four to ten years), I am withdrawing weekly..divinde four times a month, envelopes of cash for week. It is a start at least. while debit cards are wonderful, it is just to easy to say I do not have enough.oh I will use this handy dandy visa debit card.
    after three years of months where I was eating rice and beans all day for the last twelve days of the month (I know, hife dummu was I not?), now the worst thay happens is I am short a day or two.

    I srartes auto depositong tax credits into savings for this month and will continue to do so. It is very little but in months to a year I will be able to make a purchase that is needed with some left to re-seed the savings for next item. whatva concept: sacing for things first.

    I cannot make more money as i have huge student loans. due to my disabilities they were forgiven. but with fine print. I make any money, they would be instantly Unforgiven and I would have to start paying back amount equal to my rent every month. So for me its learning to live week by week and then learning to categorize the money each week which I hope to be doing by Fall.
    apologies for typos. Arthritis and cell phone..on loweat plan I could get.
    My cable and internwt plan is locked in. but they erred in my favour. any change would increase it.
    already things are improved. Oneard and upward.
    Thanks Gail.

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  54. Just starting with the jars, just curious if anyone has found a helpful way to overcome not coming home with the exact change needed to keep the right amounts in jars? Struggling so far :/

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