I like to think my hubby and I manage our money really well. We don’t have a ton of debt, zero student loans, and we’ve been aggressively saving for retirement – all things that I’m proud of. However, if there’s one area that we’ve totally been slacking in, it’s in the creation of an actual budget. Sure, we know which bills need to be paid each month, but after our bills, we have an amount in mind that’s left over every month. That amount covers our food, gas, entertainment, and pretty much everything else that’s not a fixed bill. We watch these expenses as much as we can, but because we don’t actually have a budget in place, we never really know how well we’re doing in each of these categories. Did we go out to eat too much this month? Can we cut back on our entertainment costs next month? So after a lot of frustration on my part, I’m finally putting together an excel spreadsheet with categories that I’ll monitor week to week. My goal is to be able to identify where we’re spending unnecessary money, and have a little left over every month to put towards our savings. Anyone have any tips/suggestions as far as a legit line item budget goes? Would love to hear from you!
Sticking to a set budget is something I always struggle with! Oftentimes I like to think I have a good grip on what’s coming in and leaving my accounts just by keeping an eye on it so why bother making a real budget. But as soon as I really sit down with the numbers I realize you can only see so much of your picture by simply glancing at it from time to time and going off of your gut feeling each time you swipe a card.
Budgeting apps like Mint and the starter budget in SUM180 have been SO helpful for me for both starting and sticking to a budget. It took me so long to start a budget because I didn’t know what was ‘right’ or how much was appropriate to allot to a given line item. SUM180’s starter budget is a great place to start building as it makes recommendations for what your budget might look like based on your income and you can adjust from there to make it fit your needs and priorities. Once I created my starter budget, I plugged it into my Mint app and can really easily categorize each of my expenses to make sure I’m sticking to my budget.
It feels really good to have a plan for where my money should be going and it’s empowering when I stick to it. And there’s nothing better than KNOWING there will be money to add to savings instead of hoping there’s some leftover each month.
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