If you’re busy like I am, the thought of creating a budget is probably the last thing on your mind. Well, maybe not the last thing…because if it was, you wouldn’t be reading this blog about budgets! So now that it’s on your mind, let’s keep that momentum going and get started!
First, I want you to know how important budgeting is to your financial peace-of-mind. Think of it as a road map that allows you to see what’s coming up ahead in the way of income and expenses, as you travel from the beginning of the month to the end. Can you imagine traveling to an unfamiliar place without a road map or GPS? In the same way, your budget will help keep you on the right path. Could there be some roadblocks or accidents on the way? Absolutely. But with a budget, it will be easier to “recalculate” an alternate route to get to your destination.
Are you ready to do this? Trust me, creating your budget it not the hard part. Just like most anything else, it’s the follow through that can be challenging. But in the end, it’s so worth it! Regardless if you are wanting to get out of debt, save for retirement, invest in your child’s future, or plan for a family vacation, I encourage you to start now and keep your eyes on the prize.
Where to start?
Grab a pen and some paper. Go to that handy calculator on your phone. Calculate your monthly family income. Write that number really big at the top of your paper.
Next, list all of your monthly expenses. Start with your bills and other necessities (food, gas, tithe, etc.). Wait, did you say tithe? Yes, and I hope to share more about that another day. For now all I’ll say is this: the Lord can do more with your 90% than you can do with your 100%. He is so faithful and loves you so much!
Okay, back to the budget.
Add up all of the monthly expenses you listed, and write that number on your paper. Is that number (expenses) less than your number at the top (income)? If so, congratulations!
Now you can make a list of your non-essentials or wants, and assign a dollar value to them, even if it’s just a guess. The goal is to zero-out the bottom line, meaning that your total expenses will equal your total income. That doesn’t mean that you blow any extra money, but you assign everything to a category. For example, if I’m going to plan to put $100 a month aside for savings, I write “savings – $100” down as an expense. I will even make a “miscellaneous” category for things that may come up during the month that I don’t yet know about, like a girls movie night or contributing to a school fundraiser.
So let’s go over this again.
Total income minus total expenses equals zero.
That’s it! How easy was that?
Now that you know how simple it can be, let me introduce you to my friend Dave Ramsey. He is my BFF (not really). He doesn’t even know me, but I think he would like me. I started listening to Dave while I was still in college. He inspired me to start saving then for retirement. He taught me to do fun things like cut up credit cards. After I got married, my husband and I went through Financial Peace University with our church. And before we made babies, we made our first budget!
No, I don’t work for Dave Ramsey, and he’s not paying me to say all of this. But I will say that he has resources that have helped me tremendously. And many of them are free, so why not take advantage of it? I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, because I’m a busy mom and don’t have time for that.
So here are a couple of great links to check out!
Website and app to create a budget: http://www.daveramsey.com/everydollar/?ictid=92C3K1743
Monthly cash flow plan form: https://cdn.ramseysolutions.net/media/pdf/forms/fpu_monthly_cash_flow_plan_forms.pdf
For more information on how to get out of debt, check out Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover. (afflink)
By using affiliate links through aLivelyFaith.com you help this ministry grow and pour into the lives of women from all over. Thank you for using them!
I’m a married mother of 3 and work in full-time sales. I run my own business and majored in finance. I love books, spreadsheets, fonts, friendships, and seeing Jesus transform lives (including mine).