So, I am apparently known for my budgeting. I have to admit, I don’t just have a budget for my own money gain or to keep track of my finances, I do it to keep me sane and focused on my goals- which is currently to purchase a house in September. It was July, but…I have to be honest, we didn’t stick to our budget like we should have. If we would have, we would probably be looking at houses next month. So if you are reading this, take it from me- stick to your budget! Whatever reason you are keeping a budget, make sure you stick to it and make it realistic.
Realistic being the most important part of a budget. When you go down the unrealistic path, you are very likely to blow your budget and thus, being let down. When I first began budgeting I pretty much made a dream budget using my husband’s highest pay (instead of his base pay) and underestimating my grocery store spending, which blew my budget out of the water and I found myself getting more and more stressed over finances, which, the point of a budget- is meant to help you avoid. It may take you a few months to get everything sorted out and on track, but you will get there.
A budget is also created to help you stay on track though, so while it is important to be realistic, you may need to make adjustments in some of your spending. If you are blowing your budget by $40 each week, don’t tell yourself “Well, i’m being realistic. This is how much I spend on eating out each week.” When this happens, it’s time to make cuts and realize where you are over spending. Budget’s require patience, honesty (harder than you think), and sometimes when you are going over budget and wondering where in the world all your money is going- sacrifices. But it’s all in the name of financial stability. Financial stability is something very important in this world. Not only does everything demand payment, but think of how often you’re stressed…now think of how often it’s tied to money. I don’t know about you but with us, pretty much all of our stress comes from money. Which is why I began budgeting. Winging finances just wasn’t working for us.
Budget’s take away many financial confusions. It shows you what comes in and it makes you realize where you may be spending a little too much money. When you blindly spend money it’s so easy to over spend, you can forget oh the water bill is due this week and instead go out with friends and when it comes time for the water bill to be due and you remember, you realize you spent your last $30 on dinner and drinks. Having a budget and knowing what money needs to go out before you get paid, prevents surprises like this. It also helps you build savings, even if it’s just a little. Which can help you later on when something happens that doesn’t fit in your budget- like a car repair. So let’s take a look at this super simple laid out budget plan, that will work for all of you!
So first off, here is the simple lay out. Here you only see 3 weeks, but the whole budget plan will stretch from 4- 5 weeks depending on the month.
As you see here, in the left column you have three things to fill out. Pay, Bills, and Savings.
Fill them out like this (it’s pretty self explanatory):
Pay: What you bring home weekly. If you get paid bi-weekly feel free to divide your check in half and put it in week 1. If your checks differ drastically each week, use your best, best, best, guess. Don’t include overtime or any incentive. Stick with your most base pay incase overtime isn’t available or you don’t make incentive. This is where being honest comes in to play, as much as you would love to count on overtime to make your budget prettier- don’t do it.
Bills: After you fill out your bills, add up the total and put it here.
Savings: How much in savings you will be putting into the bank this week. This is easy as you just move it from your savings column in the bill section.
Now, to the fun section :p THE BILLS!
Like the last part, it’s self explanatory. What you do though, is instead of “Bill 1” you would write in the name of your bill. Such as, Mortgage/Rent. And then the same for Bill 2, 3, 4, etc, etc. I suggest, highly suggest, listing each bill in order of importance. Shelter, Water, Utilities, etc. In the bill section, write everything you spend money on. Not just paper bills, include your groceries (everything you buy at a store- not just food, like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, shampoo, etc.), gas, fast food, makeup, anything and everything. This helps you see all of your expenses and you keep everything on track.
Now, the last column. an important column, something I don’t find optional but as a need.
A lot of people only put back savings if they can. Having a savings, big or small, is important incase you get into a jam later on. You don’t have to put back a big amount, do what you can. Even if it’s only $5. Take it from your grocery budget. Get 1 bag of dorito’s instead of 2, skip mcdonald’s for everyone and just get a $5 pizza, whatever you have to to make some room for savings, do it. And always put what you can. Don’t settle for the least amount and blow the rest. If you can put in $20, do it. You will thank yourself later. What I do to calculate savings, I add up all my bills, take it from my base pay, subtract $15 (I like to have a little cushion in the account during the week), and then put what’s left straight into savings. If my husband works overtime, straight into savings. I make sure we can live off his base pay and anything extra is for later. This is important to ease financial stress that may pop up later.
And this is your basic budget plan! It’s simple, no frills. It’s straight forward and easy to create. You can write it down on paper, you can type it out on paper, you can set up a table on your phone. You can customize it by adding more columns and rows, extra weeks or fewer weeks, customize it to fit your life. Just be sure to be honest and realistic.
Just for an example, I filled out this basic week for you to see!
Happy budgeting! Do you keep a budget? If so, does it help you?
Hoping to hear from you! 🙂