I love to spend money. I may have mentioned that before…! And it won’t come as a surprise to those who know me well 😉 I don’t know what it is about it exactly, but I just love it! Buuut, my budget doesn’t love it 🙁 And, unfortunately for those of us who haven’t struck it rich (yet 😉 ), budgeting is part of life and it’s part of managing a home. Learning how to budget my money has not been an easy (or fun!) journey, but I’ve learned some things and gotten better at it.
The only budget I’ve ever stuck to.
I feel like I’ve tried them all! The cash method, the envelop method, the shopping-only-once-a-month method. And I failed at all of them. Totally discouraging. One night as I was trying yet again to get my budget back on tack, I came across an article from funcheaporfree.com about budgeting that stopped me in my tracks! Her idea was so simple. So brilliant!
So, how to budget the simple way…
I’ve made some adjustments from how she does it, and it’s been such a great fit for everything I needed!
- You only have TWO categories for your weekly spending: GROCERY and OTHER.
- Anything that you can buy at a regular grocery store (like food, diapers, detergent, etc.) comes out of your grocery budget for that week.
- And anything else you spend your money on comes out of the other budget.
Easy, right?? Like ridiculously easy.
That’s just what I need in a budget. Simple and easy, so I’ll actually keep it!
2. Your monthly grocery budget should be $100 per person, per month.
3. Figure out what a good budget would be for your “other” category.
Time for another confession…
I have learned–for me–that if I’m too tight with this part of the budget, I won’t keep it…I’ll “rebel” against the rules and spend as much as I want too. Aaaand then I feel terrible. And the downward spiral begins again 🙁 So, I decided to increase this limit a little bit, to give myself some breathing room.
And guess what??
Because I felt like I could spend money on something extra, I didn’t feel “trapped” and my spending didn’t get out of control. A miracle!! Literally, a miracle 🙂 I gained confidence that I could keep a budget and that I could be happy about it at the same time!
So, how do we keep track of this budget?
On an envelope. Simple 🙂 Here’s a visual of what I’m talking about.
So, for example, if my budget for “groceries” is $400/month, and this month has 4 weeks in it, I would divide $400 by 4 and get $100/week. Then, I would write $100 in each box, representing each week.
If my budget for “other” is $100/month, and this month has 4 weeks in it, I would divide $100 by 4 and get $25/week. I’d then write in $25 in each box, representing each week.
Then, as I’m out shopping, whenever I spend money, I just subtract how much I spent from either “grocery” or “other” and I keep a running total. And I stick the receipt inside the envelope. Simple!
But what if I run out of money??
Well, tough! Just kidding 😉 You can borrow between grocery or other during that same week, but DON’T borrow from another week. Train yourself to only spend what you have for that week. If it’s not working, try increasing it a little and see if that helps, but don’t go crazy 😉
I LOVE this way to budget my money because it breaks it down into easy, doable steps. (Steps that I’ll actually do!) I like looking at things just a week at a time. If I try to do more, I get overwhelmed and generally end up quitting. You can also use this budget with either cash or cards–it doesn’t matter! Choose what works best for you 🙂 Ahhh, more freedom 😉
Confession number THREE.
I am not perfect at keeping this budget. GASP. I know, its a real shocker 😉 Some weeks I don’t write anything down and I end up going through all my receipts at once. Some of the loooong months that have 5 weeks in them, I just end up giving myself an extra “weekly budget” for that week (just to keep things even ;)). And some weeks I just completely fail. BUT, overall, this has been the best way for me to manage my money!
It feels good to have a balance financially and to know how to budget in a way that works for me and my family. What do you think? If you want to try it out, you can download your FREE monthly budget printables here! Just cut them out, stick them on an envelope and you’re ready to go 😉 Happy spending!