How many times have you created a budget, whether on paper or in your brain, but then never actually followed it? Probably close to a hundred if you are anything like me. Or maybe you’ve never even created one because you don’t even know where to begin.
I am usually very organized and love to plan ahead and have things prepared early. This whole budget thing wasn’t something that I could get together.
Eventually (with the help of my husband), I learned a few tricks to help me out. Now, I’m not going to lie, some months are easier than others. But for the most part we have a budget that we can pretty easily follow.
Here’s how we did it…
I didn’t use any of those crazy apps or computer programs. Linking everything up or paying a ton of money for the program was not what I wanted. It was just not going to happen for me.
If you can use them, that’s amazing, but I know that it’s not for everyone. They can be pretty easy to follow so I don’t want to go into a whole lot of detail on using them. (Plus I choose not to)
Use a budget Calendar (of some sort)
One thing that I started using, and I love, is a budget calendar. I created one that looks adorable hanging on my wall but is easily edited after each month. Actually, I am thinking of making two so that I can see two months at a time. I made one using a picture frame, some cardstock, scrapbook paper, and sharpies. After I make another one I will be posting a tutorial on how make a cheap and adorable budget calendar so keep checking back.
If you aren’t looking to make your own budget calendar you could use a calendar on your computer or print out a free calendar and use that each month.
Plan out the month
On my budget calendar, I write out the whole month of bills (when they are due and how much they are.) I like to color code so I can easily see what are bills, what the monthly deposits are, and the other expenses such as groceries, eating out and entertainment. I use a different color for each category.
Bills = Red; On 1st of every month we have Rent due. In that box I will write (Rent 1,224 in red) I do that with each bill that we pay during the month.
*I include savings in with my bills and schedule a certain amount that will be deducted. It is important to always save for the future and if you see it as a bill you will be sure to keep saving every month. It is even better if you have it automatically taken out of your paycheck.
Deposits (paychecks) = Green; My husband gets paid every 1st and 15th so I write the amount his paychecks will be on these days in Green. My paychecks come every two weeks so I figure out what the days are and I write it down on those days as well.
Other Expenses (Food, gas, entertainment) = Blue; I estimate when we will spend money on these and make sure to high ball the amount we will need. (if we can)
- We grocery shop on Saturdays so I write Groceries $80 on every Saturday.
- Eat out once a week on Friday’s so I write Eat out $50 on every Friday.
- And get gas about once a week so I write down the estimated day we would get gas and the amount.
Now, Do the Math 🙁 (ugh)
After I write everything down, I subtract bills from what we acquire. I start out at the beginning of the month and work my way down. If you have any money leftover in your account for bills the following month be sure to note that amount at the beginning of the calendar. Or if you can afford to, throw that extra money in a savings account.
Doing this tells me how much we will have left and helps us keep track of our spending. If we go out on an unplanned day (because I know we have the extra money) I add it to the calendar in blue with the amount we spend and adjust the calendar accordingly. We try to stick with the monthly plan as much as possible to keep our spending in check. If I know we are going shopping for anything other than groceries I budget a set amount and try to not go over it. It is so much easier to budget when you plan ahead. Not to mention the amount of stress that is avoided when things happen and you already know you have the extra money to cover it, or you have savings that will help.
Yay, you now should have a fairly simple budget that you can follow and adjust throughout the year!
Check back for my helpful money saving tips and strategies to build up your savings. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to get updates so you don’t miss out! I hope this has helped you at least a little. I know it has helped our family out tremendously!
Let me know if you have any questions or anything you would like to hear about!