No, I’m not going to curse! The word is simple: BUDGET.
I think it’s a great word. I actually don’t dread this word at all. I have learned that Budget has become like a member of the family. I have a husband, 2 kids, a dog, and Budget. We talk about him so frequently that it does feel like he’s a part of the Sparks’ household.
Having a budget showed us that we actually had $1K extra per month. We never would have realized this without our little friend, the Budget.
At this point, you might be asking yourself…
WHAT IS A BUDGET
To me, a budget is just a simple way to organize all of your thoughts on paper. Yes, I said paper. If you have never budgeted before then you don’t need some fancy computer program. I believe in just sitting down, planning a budget on paper, and using a pencil with a HUGE eraser (you’ll need it).
This is a small portion of our budget:
PAY PERIOD __________ INCOME ____________________
Emergency Fund _________
Electricity _________ Phone _______ Cable/Internet ________
HOW TO WORK THE BUDGET
The whole purpose of even having a budget is to give every dollar a name. It’s not saying that you can’t spent money and that you shouldn’t have fun with your money.
The budget just makes sure that you are paying necessities first before you start going all over town blowing money only to realize that you don’t have enough left for food. So, then what? Take out a credit card and put food on the credit card? At least that’s what we always did.
Now we don’t have to do that. As soon as we get paid we already have a plan.
Your budget should always end at ZERO. You shouldn’t have $20 left over at the end of your budget. You didn’t give that $20 a name. Put it somewhere on a line item. Don’t just leave him hanging out there only to be spent and then wondering where he went.
A zero-based budget is the only way to go!
HERE’S WHAT A BUDGET CAN DO FOR YOU
Having a budget helps to hold you accountable. It’s like having your own accountability partner right there in the house with you.
It can also make you breathe easier and sleep better at night knowing that everything is already lined out. When you wake up the next morning to check your bank account, the money has already been spent (on paper).
There are no surprises when it comes to a budget. If there is something that you weren’t planning on paying for, then just take it out of the emergency fund. It’s that simple!
Let me put it to you simply like this…When Greg and I were first married we were making $75K, living in an apartment, with no kids. To this day, I cannot tell you where that money went. We were living paycheck to paycheck (like most Americans) and were spending out more than we were bringing in. Don’t let this happen to you!