***If you read this and want to start budgeting, email me and I'll send you this budget on an Excel file blank so you can get started! Send an email to email@example.com and write BUDGET in the subject line***
So, most of you that know me know that I'm a budget QUEEN. Some call it cheap, frugal, money savvy, whatever. No matter what you call it, being on top of my budget and finding ways to save money has allowed me to cut out my entire deputy salary (but still do the job), be home with kiddos and follow my passion in fitness while vacationing with my family regularly AND realizing our dream of owning our RV (and actually being able to use it since I'm not always working!), own a beautiful home and be able to give back to charity and our church as well! So, after a few asked, I've decided to start a budget tip series starting with this blog post! After this, I'll try to share tips several times per week. If you have any tips of your own you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them and share them here as well! Feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, let's talk BUDGETS!
The MAIN thing you need to have...and yes I said NEED...as in you MUST have... is a budget. You have to give yourself spending limits and budget your money each month. You start with your total monthly income then disperse it in the budget.
As I mentioned above, I can send you my budget without all of my numbers on it so you can enter yours. I'm totally transparent about what I make, how I budget, etc so I don't mind that you guys see it but I want you to have a blank one so you can put YOUR info into it. I add EVERY single penny we spend or make to it. EVERYTHING in it. The coffee I have on the run from Starbucks, the $2 I may spend on a lotto scratcher, the money I put into savings, etc. When you first use it, you need to customize it and add what your income is and where it comes from, what your monthly fixed expenses are and what your variable expenses are as well. Below is an example of the columns for one of the months with random amounts added in. Once your budget is all set up, it will show you how much is budgeted for and how much is left in each category. Once you have it all set up, you can begin using it!
When you enter your spending limits on the main page (Budget tab), it shows up on each monthly page. When you click on the "This Year" tab, you'll see that it automatically totals your monthly expenses and if you're over or under your budget each month.
If you look above the "Income" box, you'll see where it says "Money Left to Budget". I like to leave some money there because that becomes my savings. And yes, you need to save money each month. Ideally, you should have at least 6 months (preferably 1 year) worth of income in your savings account for emergencies.
Once you've filled out your income, variable expenses (expenses that change each month) and fixed expenses (expenses that don't change each month such as mortgage, car payment, etc), you're ready to start budgeting. To keep this accurate you need to keep track of everything you spend money on, even the Starbucks coffee you had on the way into work, the pack of gum and soda you bought at 7-Eleven at lunch, the beer you bought with the guys after work, the ice cream you bought your kids at the mall, etc. It ALL adds up and it adds up fast. Use your phone to keep track of it if you need to. I just send texts to myself each time I spend or put it in my notepad.
So, give this budget a shot and let me know what you think. Shoot me an email and I'll sendit to you within 24 hours! After a few months, it's truly eye opening!!