First thing’s first. Friends, thank you for putting up with me not posting in a while… Things have been busy, to say the least. But, this post is about something else and I will get into why I have been busy all this time. So, let’s get to it!
Budgeting is hard. Keeping up with budgeting is hard. Following your budget is hard. Especially if, like me, you just HAVE to have those awesome shoes!! *-* So, why not make take The Budget Challenge?
Here is the deal. Many times I have ‘committed’ to budgeting correctly, but you know those activities that you start off super hyped for, but then a couple days into it your interest kind of….. trails off? Well, with budgeting, that happens to me. So, decided I need motivation. I need a good system, and a reason to stick with it.
The ‘reason to stick to it’ came easy… You are! Having a challenge buddy makes the challenge easier! Want to work-out? Grab a work-out buddy! Want to study? Grab a study buddy! Want to cook? Grab a cooking buddy! So, you are my new budget buddy, and I am your budget buddy! We can take the challenge together, and encourage one another when our motivation is trailing off, and suggest success treats!
The ‘good system’ part was a bit more difficult. I have spent a couple of days perfecting the budget system, but I think it is good to go. I know some of us like printables and some of us like digital files, the awesome thing is that you can have either! I am using a digital file (mostly because printable don’t do math by themselves xD ), so you can either do the same or print the file out and use it as a printable! That is up to you. I will upload my digital file so you can edit BEFORE you print (if you do), and your budget will be completely personalized!
Anyways, let’s get right to it!
My file is a Microsoft Excel file, with several tabs, one for the budget, and a spending tracker for each month. This file already has the formulas to do the math by itself. If you change anything, make sure you fix the formulas to adapt to the new layout of the spreadsheet, or just let me know and I will fix it and send you your personal file! ❤
The Budget Page
This is the first page of the file. First, I have everything that I see myself spending on. You know, things like rent, utilities, groceries, insurance, etc. Underneath, I also have all of the payments that are pre-authorized. These allow me to make sure I always have enough money to cover them and not get an overdraft fee. I also write when the money is taken from the account, and when the payment is due, that way I always have it paid before it is required and that is nice.
The Debt Tracker Page
In this page, I have all of my open credit lines. It has a place to write the initial debt, and then how much you go paying and using the credit line. Note: if your goal is to pay off that debt, the best thing to do is to not use that line at all, and only do payments. In my case, ever month I do not use my credit lines, I get a treat! :3
The Monthly Spending Tracker Pages
This is where the whole thing gets tied together. So, in this page, EVERY TIME I spend money/buy something, I write it down here. I also have a tab for everything I should not be buying but I still am, like vending machine food, or shopping sprees (guilty)… Anyways, this is like balancing your checkbook (if you still have one of those). This page has the math functions made so that it takes the amount of money you started with, and then subtracts everything you are spending, and it gives you your new total after the expenditure. The whole point of this is keeping track of how much you are spending and on what. Every time I spend, I add a tag (or a color code). Everything in groceries is one color, everything in housing goes in another color, etc. In the end, I can see where I am spending more than my budget dictates I should, so I stop.
So, say I have spent $200 on groceries by mid-month, and my budget is $250 for the whole month. I will stop and make a list of what to buy on the next trip to the grocery store, and make sure it does not go over $50. If this is not possible, then I will check that month’s budget and transfer from other areas. Say I have an allocated budget of $60 for gas for the whole month, but I can afford to only use $30, and limit the car usage. That way, those extra $30 that are not going to be used for gas, can be used for groceries. This is why this page is really good. It tracks how much I spend, and I can make changes when necessary. 🙂
Stay within budget for all of 2017.
Of course, doing it like this is very overwhelming so I will break it down by weeks. In the budget page, I will divide amounts by week, and in the spending tracker page, I will block things out by week. Every week that I do this correctly, and stay within budget I will get a treat! Now, the best way to succeed in a challenge is with support, so if you want to join in on the challenge, comment below! We can encourage each other! 😀
Every week that I keep up with this, I will treat myself to an ice cream, or a bubble tea! What would you use as treats?
I hope you liked the project and will take on the challenge with me… I’m excited, are you?
And now, what you have been waiting for!
Here you go, guys!