You Need A Budget {Part 3}

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Part 3: It All Comes Together..

Happy Monday! And it’s now March–already. Have you gotten your budget ready yet? Well, this is the final part of the You Need a Budget Series, which means you should have decided why you need a budget and what categories you need and how to figure out your monthly income. Today, let’s talk budget amounts.

Of course you know some things like your mortgage and your phone bill, car insurance– anything that is the same amount every month.

Things like electricity and water you may have to estimate until you have a better idea, unless you can see what you spent over the last year. I average it out for the year and budget that amount monthly. Some months it will be a little less and some it will be a little more but you will have money accumulated in that budget category for the “more” months from the “less” months.. does that make sense?

I would take everything but the groceries, eating out and entertainment budget and subtract it from your monthly net pay (ours will be $3,000).

ynab3

So in this case, you’d have $662 left for groceries, eating out, entertainment and any kind of savings and/or debt you had. I would budget $400 for groceries, $40 for eating out and use the rest as savings and/or a debt snowball on that car payment. 😉

That will all just give you an idea though. I’m visual so I like to show numbers with what I’m talking about it. I think it’s really important to budget to $0 though. If you have $10 left in the budget, call it “savings”. If you leave it, it will get spent!

Another really great tool for this to give you some perspective is this budgeting tool that Dave Ramsey has on his site. Each category has a little drop-down that explains what would fall under each category. I wouldn’t just use this, but I do think it’s a neat tool to see what you are “supposed” to be spending with your income level.

Isn’t that neat? Budgeting doesn’t have to be such a pain though. Of course, it’s annoying when you run out of money before you get to the end of your budget.. but you only have what you have. Unless you want to be rolling around in credit card debt, of course. I take it as a challenge though.. for instance, I want to get our grocery budget below $400. Every month we seem to be pretty much right at $400. I’m challenging myself to do less convenience stuff, even though we do little now, and just be more frugal with it and get it down. Even if it’s only to $380 every month! That’s an extra $20 for our Snowball! 😉

And you all know I’d recommend YNAB to keep track of it all. 🙂 Here’s my referral link if you’re interested in getting $6 off the purchase price. There is a 34 day free trial to give it a test run if you aren’t sure, also.

Have you got your budget planned and ready for March? Are there any other aspects of making a budget I could touch on that would help you? 

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You Need A Budget! {Part 1}

You Need A Budget
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Part 1: Where Do I Begin?

Yes, you do need a budget. Everyone needs a budget, even those millionaire athletes, you know, those that often times end up bankrupt because they didn’t have a budget. If you’ve never made a budget before, that’s okay. Hopefully, I’ll give you some useful information in this series to help you get in control of your finances. Then, once you make a budget, you have to keep track of it. I believe that YNAB (You Need a Budget) is an EXTREMELY helpful tool in keeping up with your budget. So first and foremost, you have to decide why YOU are making a budget.

Of course, I think everyone needs a budget, but if that isn’t your state of mind you may need a reason to budget. Maybe you just want to save a little money, have a major expense coming up, or are just wondering why there is no money left in your bank account days before every paycheck. And this step is extremely important if you are married. Money is a major cause of disagreements in marriage so try to get on the same page before you even begin making a budget.

So after you’ve decided WHY you are making a budget and have gotten on the same page with your significant other (if applicable), it’s time to decide on your budget categories. Dave Ramsey’s form below will help with this.  

Budget Form

Click for printable version

That’s just a starting point for your categories. Don’t even worry with amounts yet. Once you decide where your money is going to go, you can fill in amounts. I’ll get into all of that next week though. 

Here are the budget categories we use (right now):

Giving
Tithes
Sponsor

Monthly
Mortgage
Internet
Phones
TV
Electricity
Water
Daycare
Life Insurance
Gym

Accumulating
Dogs
Medical
Car Insurance
Car Maintenance
Car Registration
Clothing
Blog
Etsy
Gifts

Fluctuating
Groceries
Fuel
Food Out
Entertainment
Blow Money

Other
Special Purchases
Misc
To Be Reimbursed
Car Payment
Student Loans
Snowball

Of course, yours will look completely different. I budget for EVERYTHING. If I didn’t budget for oil changes and car tags, what if I needed both the same month and it was a total of $150.. where would I pull that from? Your categories will probably change over time–a lot if you’re anything like me.

Do you have budget categories for every little thing or just have your “bill money” and “spending money”? How does your system work for you?