Sunday, April 26, 2015

Creating a Good Plan: Part 4

Today I would like to share with you my budget plan. This is the final part to the, 'Creating a Good Plan' series that I have been sharing with you over the past month. 

For me budgeting is so important. When I was younger and in college, I decided that I was going to open up a few credit cards, just for emergencies and little things, ya know? Boy was that the biggest mistake ever!! Somehow, one outfit became two, a quick stop for Starbucks one day, became a daily routine, and I'm sure I purchased a few a lot other things that in my crazy, 21 year old mind was justified as a need. Let's just say, I had to thank daddy for helping me out of that hole, so that my credit would not be ruined forever. 

Sometimes, I wish I had been a little bit more responsible back then. I'm sure budgeting my money wasn't the only thing I had failed at. I did pay my father back the money that he so generously gave to me and it did take a very long time! However, it taught me a great lesson. One that I am so thankful for today. I learned that money spent with credit cards is not really my money, and it can quickly add up. It taught me to save for the things that I really wanted, because everything I want is not really a need. The reward for paying for something with my hard earned money was worth so much more than worrying about when I was ever going to repay it back. 

I am not saying that I don't ever put anything on credit cards anymore. I am just more responsible about it now. About two years ago, I created a budget plan for my husband and I, and it has been the best thing that I could have done for our finances. It has really helped us to watch our spending, pay off our credit card debt, and really save some money! 

I grouped together all of the different expenses in our budget and put them into categories. What you have in each of your categories might be a little different, but I thought grouping them together might help.

Once you have all of your expenses listed in your categories then you start to fill them in with the amount you pay each month. I filled in all of the bills that that are going to be the same amount every month first. Then I subtract that total from our total monthly income. The amount that is left over is where you have to start to divide the rest of your expenses up. Figuring out exactly how much to alot each of these remaining expenses can be tough. Some examples of bills that are always the same would be your mortgage or rent, phone bill, car payment, student loans, etc. A few expenses that might vary from month to month would be groceries, spending money, gas and savings.

The best thing to do is just create a rough draft of your budget and see how it goes for the first month. You may see that you need to add more money to your groceries or take away some money from your spending. You cants adjust it for the following month. It took me a couple months of adjusting to get my budget just right. There are still some months when I need a little extra money for one of my expenses, but there are also months when I have money left over that wasn't spent.  

I have a cute little notebook/ledger where I keep track of our budget. At the beginning of every month I write out my categories and list my expenses with their amounts. I then go through each week and check our balance. I check to see what bills have been paid and which ones still have not come out yet. I also keep a on going list of things that we need to buy that are separate from our budget. This list might include gifts, date night expenses, clothes for Grey, etc. These expenses get paid for out of our emergency funds (even though none of those things I just listed are really an emergency).

I know that this budget plan may not work for everyone, but I thought I would share for those who need somewhere to start. I don't have a special print out that I fill in every month. I just have one small notebook where I keep track of everything and compare it to our accounts. This is the easiest way for me and it has really helped us to stay on track, while still being able to save money. 

Feel free to leave a question or a comment to let me know what you think. 

Many Blessings,

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