I Honestly can’t believe I’m writing this post, because I was the person that thought, doing a budget is crazy, time consuming, and a waste of time. Boy was I wrong! It has been the best thing I have done for myself and family. Getting control of YOUR finances is extremely satisfying. It has been one of the most freeing experiences that I have had. I know it sounds silly but when you lose the stress, anxiety and every other negative feeling that comes to money, its amazing.
My How To Start A Budget Steps
- Decide to make a commitment of taking control of your money. By this I mean, saying enough is enough and actually doing something! My “rock bottom” was in May when football expenses started rolling in and we didn’t have the money for new cleats. I was so frustrated because we should of had the money but we didn’t because we always spent money without keeping track, went out to eat and did impluse buying. That is the day I decided enough was enough!
- Start out small. Let me just tell you I researched for hours about how to start a budget and it was so overwhelming. I knew if I followed most of the guides or steps that I would fail. So I decided that I would start by implementing a grocery/household budget. I knew if I could make this work, then I could go even bigger. We were spending roughly 400 dollars a month on groceries and another couple hundred on going out to eat. My biggest fails at the grocery store was impulse buying, no list or plans, and I never bought enough to last a week. The first step, we decided was to stop eating out and bring lunches to work. This wasn’t easy at first but it has been an eye opener and HUGE money saver. We are now spending 360 a month versus 600ish. These are the steps I take for my grocery/household budget each week:
- Set a budget amount. We picked 90 dollars a week for a family of four.
- Plan meals based on sales ad.
- Shop your cabinets and pantry to see what you need.
- Make a list and stick to it
- Buy only what is on sale, if not on sale with a coupon, or store brand.
- Compile a list of all income.
- Make a list of all bills and obligations. This should include anything you spend money on. In our budget I also included things like: family fun, clothing, pet care, and so forth. Example: Our family fun category gets 60 dollars a month and pet care is 10.
- Make a budget worksheet or Print one off line. I made my own Budget binder that I will blog about soon.
- Start filling in the boxes with 80 percent of your income. I do only 80 percent because I want to have a cushion. We have 2 regular full time paychecks and 1 part time paycheck that fluctuates. This allows us to be okay with our budget if the part-time check is less or pay extra on something if its more.
- Make a spending tracker. This helps you see where your money is going and on track with sticking to the budget. Tip: For some expenses we use cash only. Example: We do $60 dollars a week for gas, so every Friday we take that money out.
- Make a monthly calender. At the beginning of every month, I write down what is due and the amount. Once I pay the bill I highlight it on the calender.
- Pick the starting date. I suggest starting at the 1st of the month.
- Adjust as you need. Don’t be upset if you have to adjust your budget. I have had to move somethings around and if so I take it from family fun.