Back to the Basics Part 3-Budgets

Either I’m going to go out and spend all my money on food, new clothes, and awesome entertainment, or I’m going to sit inside and sulk that I can’t have any “fun” right now because I’m saving it.

Neither option the way to go, of course! But sometimes that mentality wants to sneak in on me. But I won’t let it. Balance is key!

Regardless of what others may say, the key to financial balance is having and maintaining a budget. Some feel it is too constraining but in reality it is very freeing because you get to control where your money is going instead of letting it control you.

A budget is easy to make and there are hundreds (if not thousands) of different templates you could use. J. Money at Budgets are Sexy has some pretty rockin’ ones you can find here. I’ve decided to create my own that probably only makes sense to me but here is the breakdown…

My Budget

I get a paycheck every 2 weeks so that is [usually] 2 a month. I call one paycheck, “Paycheck 1” and the other, “Paycheck 2.” (Simple, huh?!)
Paycheck 1 I designate out this way:
  • Cash Savings
  • Vacation Savings
  • School Savings
  • Rent
  • Gas
  • Food
  • Anytime Fitness
  • Life
A certain amount of money goes toward each of those categories and when they are all added up it equals the total amount of paycheck 1.
I do the same thing with paycheck 2 except it’s categories are a little different:
  • Cash Savings
  • Vacation Savings
  • School Savings
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Cable
  • Renter’s Insurance
  • Phone
  • Insurance
  • Gas
  • Food
  • Life
  • Best Buy
And once again, a certain amount is designated to each and there is none left after that. =) I plan ahead of time where my entire paycheck is going so there are no questions.
Once I have built up my “cash savings” I will have some leeway but right now I want to get my emergency fund up.

The Usefulness of a Budget

Having and keeping a budget up will save you tons of stress and worry and will also pay off for you in the long run.

The key is to pay yourself first (in the form of savings) than your bills than day-to-day living.

Once again, it’s basic. But I know some of you aren’t doing it. 😉 You can start today. I’m not an expert on budgets but I play with mine every day and have looked at a lot of other templates. If you have a question about one please feel free to contact me.

Do you keep a budget? Why or why not? How has it helped you achieve some of your goals?

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4 Responses

  1. It’s all about finding/tweaking the one that works best for ya, so keep it up! It’s SO easy too after you get going for a while 🙂

    • Exactly. I have a feeling I may get “ancy” after a little while and improve upon the “look” of the budget but what I’ve got going is working well right now.

      I’d like to add it as a file so people can view but I don’t think I have that ability w/ wordpress.com (One day I’m going to figure all this out!)

  2. Josh took over our budget when my pregnancy brain forgot two bills last month and he’s really pimped it out. He wiped my old spreadsheets, found more money, and even color coded the thing! It’s intense! Anyway, emergency savings is good. We don’t have that. My job’s funds pay off our debt (which is down to less than $2000 after 2 years of paying down – yay) and i’m quitting in 5 weeks. We live off his check. Now that we’re all (almost) debt free, we’re working on the savings and transferring the money feels so nice!

    • Color-coded is the best! Way to go, Josh. =)

      And that is awesome about your debt repayment. I haven’t started on my student loans quite yet simply because I knew they could wait but if I had an emergency of some sort it wouldn’t be able to so I wanted to get that nailed down. I am going to start that very soon though. Hopefully the summer.

      It’s even better Josh has enough income to support you and the “Taylor Tot” and that he’s so wise w/ budgets he can “find more money.” It’s the best. Life is so much more relaxed and enjoyable when you don’t have to “worry” about finances–you can just USE (save, spend, invest, etc.) them.

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