the B word: budget

Thursday, May 15, 2014

i love having a budget. 

one of my "being goals" for this year is  \\ being financially free //

my tune has definitely changed since we first started budgeting 6 months ago. in fact the only reason i decided to give budgeting a shot was to prove that it does not work. i was certain it would not help with paying down debt and i just knew it would be stressful and confining. i was wrong. so very wrong. 

how to start a budget, budgeting, dave ramsey, financial freedom

budgeting is intentional. flexible. smart. fun. simple. life changing. easy. it provides a plan and gives you control of your money. it helps avoid nasty money surprises. oh and it totally works.  why am i so stubborn? i should have used a budget years ago. one thing I absolutely  love about budgeting is the peace of mind. i don't worry or wonder about money. i enjoy (even more than before) spending money cause it's planned and I won't regret it later.    

it's easy. 

each month i make our budget with the help of our Budget Binder which contains a Monthly Budget Worksheet, monthly calendar, a pencil, multi-color pen, and calculator. easy peasy.  

Monthly Budget Worksheet // this gem was adapted from this free printable from the blog Live Called. I fill this out at the beginning of each month (in pencil) and keep track of what is actually spent to help with the next month's budget. it took me a couple months of adapting the template to get the categories and subcategories just right for us. even so I still change (add/delete) things as needed. most importantly make this work for you!

Monthly Calendar // I like to see the big picture so I print out a calendar of the entire month and of course it's color coordinated. All bills/expenses are written in RED on their due date. Any income is written in BLUE on the pay day. This helps me keep track of what bills will be paid from which paychecks.  

zero-based budget.

the type of budget that we use is called a zero-based budget. Dave Ramsey has an excellent article that explains this type of budget. click here to read it the gist of it is that you spend all of your money. every last dollar. sounds fun doesn't it?! the dollar amount of your income needs to equal the dollar amount of your expenses. there is not such thing as extra money. you tell your money where to go from the get go. you decide. you are in control which is perfect for a control freak like myself! so whether it's savings, paying down debt, fun money, or something else you tell your money what it will be used for. 

each month our budget looks different. as it should because each month is different. of course there are the standard bills that don't change but then there are certain expenses that are specific to the month. for instance car registration, birthday gifts, DIY projects, large purchases, fun money, anniversary money, etc. other amounts that tend to fluctuate are grocery and gas money. 

paying with cash. 

this was the hardest part of budgeting for me. One of my first jobs was working as a Starbucks barista. I received tips which translated into free cash to me. I cannot tell you what I spent my weekly tips on. Basically I blew through it on silly, meaningless stuff. All that to say that if I have cash in my wallet I've always been more likely to spend it. totally backwards most people have a harder time spending cash than swiping a card. anywho when we decided to try budgeting we thought we would also try paying with cash. 

I've yet to make this fancy. I just use plain white long envelopes that are labeled (gas, groceries, eating out, DIY projects, etc). After payday, we pay bills and then write ourself a check to cash. That money is then divided up into the envelopes. We barely use our debit cards which makes it extremely easy to track expenses. we pay bills online and withdraw cash for everything else. It takes awhile to get use to paying cash for everything but if I can do I'm sure you can too. We are definitely more mindful of what we are spending money on. When the money is gone from the envelope that's it until the next time we put money in it. 

budgeting, financial freedom, dave ramsey

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I'm really thankful that the dreaded "B" word is a part of our finances. It's really helped us to focus on our goals for financial freedom. thoughts, questions, tips? I want to hear what you have to say about budgeting. I'm always on the lookout for ways to budget better. cheers for financial freedom, financial peace, and being financially fabulous! 

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