Can you believe its the end of the month already? In this house that means it is time to set up our monthly written budget.
My husband and I have had a lot of tumultuous ups and downs in our marriage, many having to do with finances. We have never been on the same page, and both lacked self-discipline. After separating our finances, we both had a wake-up-call that it was time to grow up and get serious about budgeting.
We have gone through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University more than once, but have never been able to totally stick to the plan because of the lack of discipline. After our marriage nearly ended earlier this year, we have become more purposeful and more focused on what is really important and are getting back on the budgeting band wagon.
Our budget is a little more complex than most because we are still budgeting some things separately for now. This isn’t ideal for most couples, but for us it has taken away the ability to blame the other party for budgeting snafus and has made us both a lot more responsible with our money.
You can download free budgeting sheets, but I like to keep my written monthly budget in my Erin Condren planner. That way it is easy for me to constantly reference and stay on track, and also note as we get things funded. I use the note page in between the months so I can easily flip to it with the monthly tab.
I copy our budgeting categories from month to month, but do review from time to time in case we have added a category. I write down what each category is, then what the total amount of that bill or envelope is for the month. In the next column I write down what I will personally be contributing to that bill, since my husband and I do keep some of our finances separated. In the next column I note if this category is a bill that will be paid online, or if it is an envelope category that we will fund with cash. In the final column I add checkboxes so I can track when that bill or envelope is fully funded. I break these up, sometimes by week, sometimes so I can check a box when I pay my portion and then another when my husband pays his, and sometimes because the category is partially paid out of our bank account and partially with cash.
For example, food is one of my larger expenses for the month, so I break it up into weekly checkboxes. That way if I don’t have enough money on the 1st of the month to fund the whole category, I can do it a week at a time. For cosmetics I have two checkboxes because my monthly subscription box is auto billed onto my debit card, but I also put cash in an envelope for other cosmetics purchases.
I use the Dave Ramsey envelope system for my cash envelopes. My husband uses regular envelopes he puts in a folder. Do what works for you!
I make sure to first put cash in the envelopes that I am most tempted to overspend on, like food. That way I have no excuse to swipe a debit card.
Getting on a monthly written budget is an absolute must if you want to see where your money is going. This has been the biggest tool for us in getting out of debt and getting on track! Do you do a monthly written budget?