How to create a simple monthly budget and stick to it

How to create a simple monthly budget and stick to it - Life of Stones

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?!?!?!

 

WHY YOU NEED A MONTHLY BUDGET

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)

 

 

CREATE YOUR BUDGET

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.

 

| this post may contain affiliate links |

How to create a simple monthly budget and stick to it - Life of Stones

 

—>> Note: If your income fluctuates each month this post will show you how to create a monthly budget with an irregular income!

 

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!

 

THE ZERO-BASED BUDGET

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!

 

xo kristin

 

 

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.

Sign up for our FREE newsletter!

Subscribe to get our latest content by email and be the first to find out about any exciting things happening over here!

We promise we won't send you spam or share your information! Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

If you liked this you might also like

14 Comments

  1. I need to be more diligent on budgeting for my family. My husband does it for us and always wants to fill me in on things. But I always have some excuse to get out of it. Your post has motivated me to take on that role with him.

  2. This is a great post and I love how you simplified it to make it easier for people to grasp. Setting a budget doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but sometimes I think it can overwhelm people. Having a set budget has been great for my family. 🙂

  3. Thanks for this! As a recent grad and being new to the working world I have been working on my budgeting. This is really helpful, especially organizing my money in those groups!

  4. Thanks for sharing this info and the free inventory worksheet. We have Ramsay’s book, and have been working on creating a manageable budget. We have been one of those couples who run out of money before the end of the week, so that really needs to change!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *