Almost every month I make it a goal for Matt & I to "stay on budget". It may sound a little silly but, making a budget, keeping up with a budget & staying on said budget takes work & is a conscious decision we make everyday. Many of you have asked different questions about our budget & how we make it work so, I wanted to share how we make up our budget with y'all today. And because who doesn't not like knowing what other people are up to!?
Here's a few tid-bits...
- Matt & I pay bills & do our budget together every month. It started this way because when we first lived together we still had separate accounts & we split all of the bills. Now, it's second nature to us & it makes us both knowledgeable & accountable for everything that goes in & out of our accounts.
- Matt & I have joint accounts. We have 3 total but, both of our names are on each account & we work/eat/live out of them together. I know some people have a yours, mine & ours or a yours & mine... Choose whatever works best for you & your spouse!
- We keep a small desk calendar just for bills - my personal day planner is completely separate.
- We're both Dave Ramsey fans!
- We both share the same goal when it comes to our finances... GET OUT OF DEBT!!!
So... Here's how we put our budget together each & every month...
1. Bust out the calendar & make sure all of the "household bills" are filled in. This would be any bill that is reoccurring... from Mortgage to the gym & vet payments.
2. Make sure each of your debt payments are accounted for & figure up how much you will need for gas & groceries for the month. Ex. $100/week for groceries you would put $400. We also look ahead & see what birthdays, showers & trips we have coming up & have a set amount we will spend on each of those items. Write all of these on the calendar, including payments that are on auto withdraw from your account. You want to know when & where your money is going!!
3. Calculate your total monthly income & your total debt. For us, our income each month doesn't change so, that's an easy one. However, if you do shift work or just work different amounts of hours each pay period, figure up what you will bring home on the minimum amount of hours you will work. Ex. You will always work a minimum of 20 hours but, sometimes it's 35 or so. Base your income off of the 20 hours you know for sure you'll be working. Everything else is bonus!
4. Once you have your monthly income & total for all bills including groceries & everything, subtract what's going out from what's coming in for the month. (The calendar will help you visualize & stay on track when things are due & when you'll be paid again). From there, figure up how much "cushion" you feel comfortable with in your checking account & put the rest in savings and/or an extra payment towards a debt.
- For paying off our debts we follow Dave Ramsey's rule of thumb - Pay off the smallest debt first. If they are all about the same amount, pay off the one with the biggest interest rate first.
I could probably go on & on about budget stuff but, I'll spare you. Dave always says, "tell your money where it's going!" & I love that - it gets me excited seeing the light at the end of our debt tunnel! Just remember, be honest & realistic when making your budget. Too much month at the end of your money?? Try cutting back on eating out & cooking at home more - take your lunch. Do you really, really need all of those TV channels? These are questions we've had to ask ourselves & reevaluate our priorities - sucks being a big kid some times.
Click here for the above printable. Feel free to ask me any questions at all or if you would like me to elaborate on anything that I've talked about today!