I know, guys, trust me….budgets are the worst, right? You probably didn’t even want to click on this link because you’ve likely tried budgeting many times before, right? And if you’re anything like our family you’ve probably failed many times before too, RIGHT?!?!?!
I get it. The “B word” is kind of scary because, to most, it has a negative connotation. We assume a budget to be restrictive. We assume it will keep us from doing (and buying) what we want in life.
This is SO not the case. It’s just a plan, that’s all. A plan for your money before it comes in. That’s it! Repeat after me: a budget is just a plan for your money so you don’t spend carelessly, it’s honestly. that. simple.
We work hard and it really sucks when there is too much month at the end of the money and we have nothing to show for it except a huge Target Red Card bill and a pile of Amazon Prime boxes in the garbage can! Or was that just me?
If this feels all too familiar to you, I really want to encourage you to give budgeting another shot! We tried it many times before we finally got it right but once we did, everything changed!
Budgets do not need to be scary and overwhelming. Instead, they are really quite simple; it is us who tends to over- complicate them. I want to show you how simple they can be! If you haven’t already downloaded and completed my free Financial Inventory worksheet you can do so below. (here are instructions on how to complete it)
Once you’ve completed your worksheet we can get started. You can create your budget on a spreadsheet, an app or with plain old pen and paper. Personally, we started with the budget forms in the back of the Financial Peace University Kit but use whatever method works best for you!
The first step is to list your income. List any income that you have coming in for your household within the month. Next list all your monthly debt payments from your Financial Inventory worksheet. Then list all your other expenses. You want to make sure you include every single thing you need to purchase, pay or rent in the month. We really want this to be all-inclusive to eliminate surprises.
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Note: If you have an irregular budget you’d want to take your lowest monthly income over the past six-ish months and get started with that figure. This will ensure that you have adequate income in your budget to cover the basics. Then you would move on from there going down your list of expenses.
I want you to take your expenses and group them accordingly:
NECESSITIES – mortgage/rent, electric, gas, water, food, transportation, insurance, etc.
DEBTS – you already have these from your worksheet, list the minimum payments here
EXTRA EXPENSES – now you can list all the extras, anything else that you have to (or would like to purchase)
Add up all your expenses except for the extras and subtract that from your total monthly income. Anything left will go towards your “extra expenses” or any sinking funds you create. A sinking fund is putting money aside each month to save towards a specific goal. For example, I transfer a certain amount each month to our savings account so I can pay our car insurance when it comes due. We do this for our quarterly bills also, and once we are completely debt-free will do this to save for Christmas as well!
Any extra money you can find in this budget will first go towards saving $1,000 for a starter emergency fund and once you have that complete it will go towards paying off all your debt (except for your mortgage) as quickly as possible!
That’s a monthly budget in a nutshell. I know this explanation may seem oversimplified but this is intentional because I really want to keep you from over-complicating this process. The more simple something is the more likely you are to stick to it!
We use what’s called a Zero-based budget. That means that we assign job for every single dollar we bring in each month and the bottom line of our budget will equal zero. We use this equation:
INCOME – EXPENSES – SAVINGS = 0
We take our income and pay all our expenses, including what we budget for food, our sinking funds, our tithe/giving and anything else we are anticipating for the month. Any money left is then paid on our remaining debt. We should be out of debt at the end of August; at that time any money left will go towards funding an emergency fund of 3-6 months of living expenses.
After that, we will be left with zero! We don’t keep much extra lying around, then we’re not tempted to spend it. I haven’t mentioned the best part yet….when you create a budget you are the boss! Let that sink in for a minute? You are in control of your own money and not the other way around! You can put whatever you want in your budget! Want to go on a trip? Add it to your budget! Need some new clothes? Add it to your budget! See how this works?
If you are in debt, the priority should always be paying off debt first, then saving an emergency fund so that you won’t need to go back in debt if there is an “emergency”. Once you are back in control you can put that budget to work for you and start making your dreams come true!
This site is about us sharing our personal experience, this is not intended to be professional financial advice. We are sharing what worked, what is working for us! And this is working for us and it can work for you too!
When we first began the Baby Steps we set some super aggressive goals for getting ourselves out of debt, we didn’t think there was any way we could achieve them and since creating and sticking to a monthly budget we have hit every single goal on that sheet….and early! And I really want the same for you! This budget…this plan, is how you, too, will reach every one of your financial goals as well!
This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing a product using that link will not change your purchase price, but I may be paid a commission on your purchase as a referral fee. I never refer products that I wouldn’t use myself.
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