Budgeting Made Easy
Growing up, I was definitely NOT a budgeter. I never really had enough money in high school and college to even make a budget work. If I had extra money (which rarely happened) I would spend it all on clothes lol, but most of the time my idea of a budget was just to not spend any money at all.
When my husband and I got married, he was 100% set on us having a budget. He knew that if we started the habit right off the bat, it would be much easier to keep it consistent throughout our marriage. He also knew that since we now had so many financial responsibilities with a new house and my student loans kicking in, it would be key for us to know exactly where our money was going. I was excited about it, but to be honest the thought totally terrified me and made me feel overwhelmed. I didn’t even know where to start! Luckily, Alex had come across the Every Dollar Budget app. Talk about a life saver! The Every Dollar Budget app helps you to create a budget with the mindset that every dollar you earn has a specific place that it belongs and each dollar has a name. The best part-it’s free, and takes only about 10-20 minutes to set up. It has suggestions of different areas that you can budget for but you can add whatever categories you want or have a need for. You can also link it right to your bank account! So cool right?! It then automatically puts transactions in to categories where it thinks they belong and you can always move them around if need be.
The thing about budgeting is that it is a work in progress. It takes about 6-8 months before you are really in a groove that works for you. That might seem daunting but it is actually SO FUN to finally have it just the way you want it to be! We are always tweaking it and making it better, and adding and taking away categories. The way that works best for us is we make it a priority to do our budget the last day of every month. We sit down, go through every transaction that we have made during the month, make sure it is in the app and in the category we want. We are able to see where we went over and where we had some extra wiggle room.
Our big financial goal right now if paying off my student loans. We are working on paying off all of my debt from school in 3 years. This goal is extremely ambitious and it is definitely NOT easy, but with the app we are able to put down anywhere from $2,000-$3,000 a month on loans. Whenever I tell people that, I always get a ton of questions about how we make that happen and I almost always hear ,"Wow, you guys must make a lot of money!" Wrong. Now, for two 23 year-olds we probably do very well, but in the grand scheme of things we are by NO means rich or wealthy. We are still just starting out! So how do we do it? Budgeting!! All of the extra money that we don’t spend during the month goes directly toward my loans. We make a big payment at the end of each month on my loans and then we start on the next month. We are able to talk about upcoming birthdays, trips, or extra expenses that we have for that month and we work them into our budget. We are still able to go out, buy new things, take trips, and have lots of fun, but we make a plan so that we feel confident and secure financially so we don’t have to stress about money while we are trying to enjoy ourselves.
Budgeting is all about making your finances a priority. Often times, we hear budget and think it has to do with depriving ourselves of fun things. In reality, it’s about prioritizing what you want most so that you can lay out goals for yourself to achieve and follow a plan to help you get there. It helps to build character and perseverance and when you reach your goal you can look back and see how much work and effort was put into your goal. Sure, I would love to buy a new car, go on a big shopping spree, or start on the addition that we will eventually be doing on our house, but if we did all of those things right now, we would be putting ourselves in a sticky financial situation.
Whether your single, married, a student, full time employee, stay at home mom, you can absolutely do this! I don’t know about you, but the feeling that I hated the most when I didn’t have a budget was whether I was going to make it to the next paycheck or absolutely regretting big purchases because it turned out I didn’t end up having the finances. Know where your money is going and it will give you so much peace of mind! Let me know if you try it and how it goes for you! Click on the picture at the bottom of the page to head to the app online. If you feel like you may want some help or encouragement or you just can't seem to figure out the best way to make the budget work for you, feel free to reach out and I can help you along the way.