Are you ready to tackle your budget but not sure where to start? Do you want to feel free from your finances so you can handle your debt, plan for the future and even go on vacation? This episode is for you! We are going to address tons of commonly asked Budgeting questions, give you a step by step guide to begin budgeting and tips and tricks to stick with it! Let’s get started in this budgeting 101 class!
Would you rather listen to the Podcast Episode? 👇🏼
Common excuses I hear:
A lot of people don’t want to budget because of so many different reasons but I am here to get rid of these! We have to push past the mental block of “I don’t want to because…” and reach the place of “I want to because”.
I don’t make enough to budget
Tell me, do you spend money? If you spend money then you need to budget and we all spend money! You probably have some form of income coming in and you probably are buying a cup of coffee, groceries or gas.
When I was in college I lived off of $100 a month and I budgeted! That’s how I could go to Disneyland on spring break and the Grand Canyon! You have to manage what you have no matter how little or much it is.
I am in too much debt, I don’t want to know
This can be a very difficult situation to be in but please listen to me. YOU HAVE TO DO IT ANYWAY! Your finances are just going to get worse. You are going to get into more and more debt if you don’t sit down and handle them.
I don’t care how much you owe. Even if you owe $200,000, you can get out of debt but you have to have to be aware of your situation and make a strategy!
I don’t have enough time to budget
The most amount of you time you have to spend every month on your budget is 10 minutes.
- A dream vacation
- Peace of mind
- A growing savings account
- The ability to donate money
- Debt freedom
worth 10 minutes to you?
Initially, in the first month it may take 30 minutes to set up then 30 minutes to revaluate. Then each month after that is simply a management, an easy 10 minute check in!
My income changes too much
This I understand! I am a freelancer, my income changes every month BUT my bills don’t. I adjust my frivolous categories to match the months income so I don’t go into more debt.
Your income changing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be budgeting. It just means it takes 3 extra minutes a month to plan.
Why do you need a budget?
Now that we have kicked the excuses to curb, let’s dive into a few more benefits to budgeting!
Peace of mind. Peace in spirit. Peace comes with knowing where your financial status is, what you are working towards is progressing and that you can do things you love.
By handling our finances faithfully, we can also invite God into the process. We can sit in the truth that He is our ultimate provider and we can grow knowing He’s got us even if our budgeting all falls away.
When we show God that we are being faithful with what he has given us, we are honoring Him. We are also proving to Him we are trustworthy and faithful. When he sees that, He often gives more. More of what exactly, I can’t tell you, but I do know it comes with blessings.
We can honor God in every situation in our lives and money is no different.
Extra money for fun things!
On a lighter note when we budget our money we are getting rid of our debts but we are also making space for fun things too! You can be planning that Spring break girls trip or budget for that conference you want to go to do.
It’s not all about the bigger more important things, it creates margin for different things!
A skill that you will always
Being able to manage your money is a skill. It’s a sharable skill. It’s one you can use to help you roommate, it’s one you can teach your future kids, and it’s one you can even make money from!
Start now, learn a lot, built the skill. I promise it will come in handy!
Budgeting 101: How to make your first budget
Let’s dive into the actual steps it takes to build your first budget! Want to skip the tutorial and buy the easy workbook to do it now? Click the banner below! It’s only $10!
Look at How you Already Spend Money
Pull out your bank statement from last month and look it over. To be able to build a good budget you have to see your current spending habits.
Look at these three things
- Recurring Bills
- Other spending habits
Now that you have a good big picture, let’s dive into the categories. These will be unique to you in the aspect of the size but other than that they are pretty universal! Here is an examples list to pull from so you can form your own!
- Car Maintenance
There are so many but try to narrow down your top categories then estimate how much you typically spend in each. Keep it all together in a list!
Now that you have an estimate of each category, we need to figure out how much is too much. Start with your income, how much do you have to spend each month.
Now subtract your monthly bills.
Now subtract all the MOST IMPORTANT categories first (these are still estimates). After you start with the absolute necessities, see what you have leftover to put in your other common categories.
Do not go over how much you make!!!
Include a Treat Yo Self Category
TOP Budgeting 101 Tip! Don’t forget to add a little treat yo self money category. This is for when you need to let loose and have some fun!
Now that you have an estimated monthly budget, follow it for a month. Then in 30 days pull it out and see how well you did.
This will not be perfect the first go around but you will know a lot more about yourself! See where maybe you need to cut back some spending, estimate again and readdress in another month!
Setting goals is something that comes a month or two into the budgeting process. Now you have a good feel for your money habits and where you can cut back. It’s time to set some fun and serious goals!
Wondering what your first money goal should be?
TOP Budgeting 101 Tip: If you don’t have at least $500 saved, start there.
Here is why. If you just paid down your credit card but end up at the car shop needing four new tires, what are you going to do? You are probably going to put it on your credit card. Now you are stuck in the same situation!
BUT if you had a savings account where you could pay for the tires and not be in a hole, your finances would thank you!
Have a goal to save at least $500 to start then chose another savings goal!
Pay off debt
The next fun category, this one is a long game but definitely manageable. It’s a lot to get into here so I’ll make another post about this. If you are ready to get rid of your debt, then try to figure out a monthly amount you can put towards this. Grow this amount as much as you can!
Plan for a vacation
I do this with paying off my debt. You need to find the balance between sacrifice and rewards. It’s okay to put a little aside for a vacation! Chose a goal amount and start working towards it monthly!
Be free and give grace!
Freedom comes with budgeting. It comes with knowing where your money is. It comes with honoring God with it. Choose freedom friends!
Don’t forget to give your self grace too. This can be a hard process but it’s a learning one! Don’t stress, try try again!
How to stick with it
Budgeting 101 will get you nowhere if you don’t follow through. Sticking with the budget can be the hardest aspect of this. Here are a few compelling ways to actually stick with the awesome budget you created!
Find a Strong Motivating Reason
Why did you read this post? Why are you interested in budgeting? Is it to be free? Is it to be faithful to God? Is it to get rid of your debt? Is it to plan for the dream vacation?
Whatever it is, name it then remember it. Every month when you sit down think ” I am doing this because…”.
Automate the System
This is the best budgeting 101 tip I have.
Wondering how I only spend 10 a month on my budget? mint.com is it! Mint is an easy to use budgeting software that links to your accounts and automatically loads and categorizes your transactions.
Do it With a Buddy
You’ll get a lot farther in this budgeting 101 lesson if you share it with a friend! Don’t try to do this alone, send this article to a friend and invite her to do it with you! Sit down for a coffee date and hash out these steps. Build a budget for yourself then review the other girls. Brainstorm together then check in.
Ask if she has over spent on her clothing category or restaurants.
Have fun with it! Do it together! It’s so much more fun that way!
As always, ask me any questions you have about budgeting. I am here for you!