If you’ve never written a budget before, or you just want to learn how to write a budget, you’re in the right place!
Once upon a time, quite a few years ago, my husband and I sat down, read Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover”, and wrote out a budget. It was hard, and ugly, but we did it.
Why should you write a budget?
The nice thing about writing down your budget, is that you know exactly how much you have coming in and out of your house each month, and it’s easier to keep on track.
Unfortunately, since that time, we have completely gotten off track. We started letting our money tell US what to do, instead of the other way around.
I’m willing to bet we’re not the only ones.
It’s time to get back on track.
The first couple of months we sit down and actually write down all of the bills we have each month, as well as all of our income, we may have a bit of a heart attack! It can be scary to see just how much it takes to run the household.
But we should never let fear decide how we live our lives. Have faith!
Who knows…we may even be pleasantly surprised at the amount of money left over after all your bills are paid!
The free printables!
To make budgeting a little easier, and well…pretty…I created a printable budget worksheet along with an income allocation worksheet!
The free printable budget planner is a good guide to get started. I added all of my own monthly bills, some Dave Ramsey has on his, along with some space to add in some custom bill types others may have.
Writing your first budget
Are you ready to write your first budget with me? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Your monthly bank statement
- your monthly bills
- your pay stubs
- the budget printables (see above)
Start with your income
Start by looking at your pay stubs and writing down your monthly income. If your income is pretty consistent, you’ll have no problem completing this step. If your income is variable, this may be a little tricky. Just do your best to estimate your average income amounts.
Got that income in there? Is the number better than you thought? Not as much as you thought? Either way, it’s good to know exactly what number you have to work with!
Now work with your expenses
Now that you have your income filled in, it’s time to start working on those expenses. Work your way down the list, using your bills and bank statements to fill in the blanks. Be sure you pay attention to those variable expenses, like electric bills, food, and gas! I always try to average those out so I’m not surprised by a higher bill.
A zero-based budget is the goal
Now that you have all of your income and expenses accounted for, it’s time to balance both sides out. The idea is to tell every single cent of your money where to go. This is called “zero-based budgeting”.
Have more income than expenses? That’s awesome! Woohoo!
Now….tell that extra cash where to go. Is it going to savings? Paying off the mortgage faster? Right into the vacation fund? YOU get to decide!
Have more expenses than income? This is where you need to make some tough choices. Maybe that newer car gets traded in for an older model. Maybe you cut the cable or cell phone bill. Or maybe a part time job while the kids are in school is in your future?
This is where adulting kinda sucks. Am I right?
Income Allocation Worksheet
Now that you have the budget all worked out, it’s time to use that to complete your income allocation worksheet.
Now, this worksheet is really optional, but I always find that it helps me make sure all of the bills are paid on time. I think you’ll find it to be helpful, too, and it really only takes a few minutes to complete.
Start by writing the weekly dates across the top of the form. (I.E. Week 1 is June 2-June 8).
Shew….that was tough!
Ok, seriously. I know that was pretty simple. This whole thing really isn’t tough. It’s just tough to make ourselves actually sit down and do it!
Now, under income, write down each paycheck under the correct week. For example, my husband is paid every 2 weeks. His next pay is June 5, so I’ll write his expected pay amount under Week 1. Then he’ll get paid again in Week 3!
Here’s the fun part. You get to allocate each dollar from every paycheck to different “sub-accounts”, which happen to be named for your expenses. LOL.
You want to make sure that each sub-account is fully funded before the due date of that particular expenses….so you’re always prepared to pay it. Make sense?
I find it helps to split the mortgage, food, and gas evenly across all pay checks, and then allocate remaining funds as needed for bills.
Most of the bills in our home are due in the middle of the month, so things can sometimes get a little tricky there. Proper allocation and not overspending in any category are key to keeping the budget on track!
Be the boss of your income!
When you complete both of these worksheets, you have just taken the first steps to becoming the boss of your income! You are a step ahead of most of the rest of the world, because they let their money tell them what to do!
You’re such a weirdo!
Feels kinda good, doesn’t it?
Now that it’s all on paper, it’s ready to be implemented in real life!
Post those papers on the fridge and let the family know what goes into keeping your home running smoothly! Let them see your hard work! And let them know how Daddy’s money has to be spent.
You’ll all appreciate each other a little bit more when you see how hard everyone is working to keep things so nice!
Join me on Facebook!
If you enjoyed learning how to write a budget, and would like to work together to write your budget each month, I’d love to have you join my brand new Facebook group….The Housewives Coffee Klatch!
What is a “coffee klatch”? You may not have heard that term lately, but it’s like coming over to my house, and sitting around the table drinking coffee and chatting!
We’ll talk all things housewife related – no judgement! From cooking and cleaning, to home decor and budgeting, no topic will be off limits! All I ask is that you be kind!
Will you join me?
Click the link below!
I can’t wait to meet you over on Facebook!